3 rarities make up this superbly played program. The Symphony (1936-7) comes from the period when Frank Martin was consciously assimilating 12-tone theory - though not Schoenberg's aesthetic - into his compositional vocabulary, a process which led in 1938 to the achievement of his mature style in the first part of Le vin herbe. Like the First Piano Concerto (1933-4) [ASV CD DCE 1082], the Symphony is a large-scale piece overflowing with beautiful things, & will be of great interest to anyone who already knows & loves Martin's music. As noted above, Martin transcribed his Petite Symphonie Concertante (1944/5) for conventional symphony orchestra even before its premiere, concerned that the original's odd scoring of harp, harpsichord & piano with double string orchestra would discourage performance. (As he later admitted, the "easier" version went virtually unperformed, while the original made his international name.) While one may miss the extraordinary sonorities of the original, this version is eminently satisfying on its own, & shows the strength & richness of Martin's melodic, harmonic & rhythmic ideas. Finally, the Passacaglia for Orchestra (1962) is another transcription, of the 1944 Passacaglia for organ [Hyperion CDA67017], already adapted once for string orchestra (1952)[London 448 264-2]. This majestic piece is glorious in any of its versions; here Martin plays Stokowski to his own Bach, using the expanded timbral resources to add color & clarify counterpoint. A radio broadcast of the world premiere, with the composer conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, has been issued [Jecklin JD 645-2, with 1970 concert performances of the Petite Symphonie Concertante & the Maria Triptychon], but that's in somewhat constricted mono, & this piece above all benefits from the rich, full sound of this Chandos disc.