On my desk is a stack of outstanding recordings that I was unable to include in my last CD column. I'll write some of them up over the next week or two. The first of these, no doubt one of my favorite releases of the year, is an all-Rameau disc entitled Une symphonie imaginaire, on DG, with Marc Minkowski leading Les Musiciens du Louvre. The idea here is to compensate for the lack of orchestral concert works in Rameau's oeuvre by gathering choice instrumental passages from his operas and ballets. The resulting cross-section reveals the spaciousness and diversity of the Baroque master's world. We go from the military splendor of the Zaïs Overture to the eerie chromatic opening of the "scène funèbre" from Castor et Pollux, and on through courtly processionals, rustic dances, plaintive airs, and passages of almost experimental density (as in the prelude to Act V of Boréades). The disc culminates in the "Entrée de Polymnie" from Boréades, whose main melody is made up of silvery descending scales — a stairway down to heaven.