A couple of years ago Naxos extended the favor to all students of Twentieth Century symphonic music of collecting on one bargain priced disc the three symphonies of the best known of New-Zealand composers, Douglas Lilburn (1915 - 2001), a protégé in the mid-1930s of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Even for educated listeners, Lilburn had hitherto been little more than an entry in the music-dictionary. In Los Angeles in the 1980s, when one was tuned into late-night radio, one might hear the "Aotearoa" Overture (1939), broadcast from a long-playing record of New-Zealand origin, wonderfully hypnotic in the quiet minutes of the dark antemeridian. (The DJ was probably Skip Weschner, who also broadcast the BIS LP of Aulis Sallinen's "Symphony 1970.") That first Naxos disc revealed an austral inheritor of the Sibelius tradition, who, like his American counterpart Howard Hanson, put a new inflection on Sibelius' Nordic language without greatly altering the grammar or the syntax. This is not meant as a complaint, but rather as a compliment. The new disc of Lilburn's orchestral music other than his symphonies, played once again by the New Zealand Symphony under conductor James Judd, verifies the earlier impression, but it also extends the picture of the composer by including his earliest orchestral score. This is a tone poem called "The Forest" (1936), dating from Lilburn's student-days in London, at the Royal College of Music. Like its companion, the "Drysdale Overture" (1937), "The Forest" takes it cues from the late Sibelius of Symphonies Nos. 5, 6, and 7 and the tone poem "Tapiola." In the Finnish national epic, "Kalevala," the god of the pine-forest bears the name Tapiola, so that Lilburn may be said to have borrowed even his nomenclature from the Master of Ainola. I recommend an AB comparison of the two works. Lilburn's score owes a debt, seeming to quote not only "Tapiola" but also the slow movement of Symphony No. 5, yet no one can really fault an apprentice artist from taking the best model that he can find. Richard Strauss modeled his early symphonic poems on those by Franz Liszt, but the listener enjoys Strauss, despite the indebtedness, on his own merits. In "Aotearoa" (1938) and "A Song of the Islands" (1946), we move from convincing apprentice work to journeyman accomplishments while remaining aware that the ghostly presence of the Finn glides through the landscape. "A Song of the Islands" is the outstanding item on the disc, a beautiful and moving score. In the 1960s, Lilburn came under the influence of Aaron Copland. SOme of the later pieces reflect this. James Judd presides over these performances with total commitment and exacting control of dynamics and tempi. Long gone are the days when the idea of a New Zealand orchestra seemed to American record collectors a bit like a quirky joke. Judd's orchestra is as good as any to be heard nowadays on CD. No one who buys this disc will suffer disappointment. Admirers of Sibelius and Hanson should take well to Lilburn's art. I also recommend the earlier CD of the three symphonies.