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Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Wind Music

Chôro No.2 for flute and clarinet
Duo for oboe and bassoon
Bachiana Brasileiras No.6 for flute and bassoon
Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon
Quartet for grande flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon
Quintet (en forme de Chôro) for flute, oboe, clarinet. Cor anglais and bassoon
Andrea Griminelli (flute)
Pietro Borgonovo (oboe)
Michele Carulli (clarinet)
Rino Vernizzi (bassoon)
Francesco Pomarico (cor anglais)
Recorded Chiesa della Misericordia, Turin, February 1987
ARTS 47200-2 [69.16]

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Fine performances, these, by some first rate Italian wind players. Not only are they flexible and responsive but they are tonally attractive as well. It makes for a most successful disc. Supporting evidence? The fruity chalumeau clarinet in Chôro No.2 for one, or the deadpan humour of incongruous timbres (oboe and bassoon) in the Duo. Here the quizzically shadowing bassoon of Rino Vernizzi wears the taciturn innocence of a veritable Monsieur Hulot. How well he and Pietro Borgonovo accommodate the slower, more lyric passages, never falling into the trap of too great a slowing down. These are tricky works to balance and the studio engineers have done a good job in, say, Bachiana Brasileiras No.6 for flute and bassoon where the former decorates the latter’s Aria with balletic grace.

The Trio witness some adept blending of timbres, and some clever oppositional work – Villa-Lobos pits the oboe for a stretch against unison clarinet and bassoon but brings off such moments of colour and strength with consistent success. The slow movement is languid with little dance episodes prominent but it’s perhaps the Quartet that sees the most arresting writing here. The opening motifs, so powerful and also teasing embrace Bachian tints and a popular dance rhythm – all fused with adroit logic and warmth. And there’s plenty of "space" in the finale which, though marked Allegro molto Vivace, has room to breathe and to phrase freely. The disc ends with the sepia coloured Quintet – its opening darkening flourish is deceptive as this lyrical and warm-hearted piece is deliciously harmonised and full of balance and nuance.

The recording levels are well nigh perfect and the notes are helpful. The recording was made back in 1987 but still sounds good. I won’t single out any of the players because they’re all excellent and they do real justice to Villa-Lobos. A fine disc.

Jonathan Woolf

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