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Cat. No. CHAN 10420 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10420 - Works for Piano and Wind Quintet
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Available From: 01 May 2007
This collection of rarely recorded works for piano and wind are sure to delight the chamber music enthusiast. All but one of the works on this recording owe something to a particular moment in music history. The ‘revolt’ in February 1879 by the wind players of the Société des concerts, the professional orchestra attached to the Paris Conservatoire, effectively challenged the string quartet as the dominant medium of chamber music in France, and put chamber music for winds firmly back on the map, encouraging a superb tradition of wind instrument playing. As a result, generations of French composers wrote easily and naturally for the winds.

Poulenc, for example, called his Sextuor ‘a homage to the wind instruments which I have loved from the moment I began composing’. Revised in 1939, it was performed in April 1940, and must have sounded very poignant during those first days of the Second World War, with its many-faceted moods, from high spirits and wit to the gentle melancholy which intervenes at the close of the boisterous finale. Rimsky-Korsakov’s Quintet, an early work, immediately strikes the listener as sounding unexpectedly French; it is thoroughly engaging and festive, and seems to have anticipated a style that would become the norm for wind chamber music. Françaix’s light-hearted and urbanely enchanting suite L’Heure du berger is glorious fun for players and listeners alike, with echoes of Chabrier and Stravinsky. Saint-Saëns’s Caprice sur des airs danois et russes intertwines simple, plaintive melodies to entertaining and enchanting effect, and is salon music of the finest quality.

This charming new album from the Reykjavik Wind Quintet and the pianist Vovka Ashkenazy presents a delightful and varied programme of chamber music by French and Russian composers, and highlights the expert and exciting repertoire that was written for this unusual chamber ensemble formation.
Reviews

Poulenc’s sextet is an attractive mixture of ebullience and calm, which Ashkenazy and his colleagues convey with eloquence and, indeed, elegance…. L’heure du berger, Jean Francaix’s celebration of café life, is pleasingly concise. This sly performance is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Classic FM Magazine

Rimsky-Korskov’s Quintet for piano and wind instruments is one of the hidden gems of the chamber repertoire, rarely dusted off but given a lustrous, lively performance in this programme by Vovka Ashkenazy (one of Vladimir’s sons) together with members of the Reykjavik Wind Quintet… There is ample scope for sensitive expression as well as virtuosity in all these pieces, and the ensemble responds with playing of terrific spirit.
The Telegraph

About as magical as a wind quintet can sound.
The Independent on CHAN 9174

These are extremely talented young musicians, infusing their performances with thorough knowledge of and sympathy for the music. The vivid colours they elicit from their instruments are almost visible
American Record Guide on CHAN 9362

Previous reviews for the Reykjavik Wind Quintet on Chandos:
A delightful recital for late-night listening. Elegant, crisp playing from this accomplished Icelandic ensemble.

The Penguin Guide on CHAN 9362

…On the basis of the stellar Françaix and the compelling Poulenc, I give it the thumbs-up.
Fanfare (USA)

There is something very special about French chamber music for wind instruments and this collection is a splendid example… this is a delectable collection, played with great spirit and superbly recorded with the kind of clean detail one needs in this repertoire.
Gramophone

 

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