One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

3 for 2 Offer

All Forgotten Records Reviews


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets
All Foghorn Reviews

Puertas de Madrid
All EMEC reviews
All EMEC reviews

All Reference Recordings

Eugène Ysaÿe: Violin Discoveries
All Divine Art Reviews

Debussy Complete Preludes



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

All Chandos reviews

All Hyperion reviews

All Foghorn reviews

All Troubadisc reviews

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

All Lyrita Reviews


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali

Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4

French Cello Concertos






CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Boréalis En Salon: 19th Century French Music for Winds
Claude-Paul TAFFANEL (1844-1908) Quintette pour instruments à Vent (1876) [23.16]
Adolphe Édouard Marie DESLANDRES (1840-1911) Trois Pièces en Quintette (1900) [11.42]
André Georges Louis ONSLOW (1784-1853) Quintette, Op.81 (1853) [23.13]
Charles Édouard LEFEBVRE (1843-1917) Suite, Op.57 [11.21]
The Borealis Wind Quintet (Katherine Fink (flute), Tamar Beach Wells (oboe), Kathryn Taylor (clarinet), Dan Culpepper (horn), Wayne Hileman (bassoon))
rec. St John’s Lutheran Church, Stamford, Connecticut, 15-20 Nov 2007. DDD
full track-list below
MSR CLASSICS MS 1250 [69.27]
Experience Classicsonline

This disc is a collection of nineteenth century French composers that most people will not have heard of.

In the nineteenth century the wind quintet was in its infancy in comparison to the string quartet. Writing for wind quintet is difficult is a different way to that of the string quartet, due to the extra voice and the combination of five very diverse instruments that produce sound with air. The Borealis Wind Quintet have attempted to show the French repertoire of this period in its best light.

From the outset it is evident that the Borealis perform well as a unit. It’s always a good sign when you can hear an ensemble breathe as one. The beginning of the Taffanel creates a dark, brooding character to the typical sonata-form movement. Despite a narrow range of dynamics there is clean articulation, great shifts in tone colour and a fabulous blend between the clarinet, horn and bassoon. The second movement features a rather pleasant horn solo, but alas it is badly scored in the lower register. This is utterly ruined by unsympathetic accompaniment in the oboe, also set in a poor register. The Vivace movement does redeem Taffanel a little, due to some agreeable solos written for his own instrument, the flute. Fast passages sound rushed and this is one of the few moments where Borealis loses its poise in a mad rush to scramble through the fast passagework. It finishes with a bizarre abrupt slow section. All in all this is a poor piece of music, performed relatively well but without much finesse.

Deslandres’s quintet features a beautiful chorale with a warm flute solo and countermelody in the horn. As in the previous quintet, the intonation of the clarinet mars the overall impression of the work, although Borealis allows the music space before continuing on with the next phrase. The first movement has some stylish flute playing. There are disagreements in the runs in the clarinet and oboe in the Scherzo, but the rest of the movement is cheeky and bouncy in character. The ending is especially mischievous. The quintet excels in its slowing of tempo in the Finale, and the major key episode makes a good contrast to otherwise repetitive descending runs. The fast sections in the clarinet are sloppy, and the same instrument’s key clicks distract from the music.

The real high point of this disc is the third quintet by Onslow. The influence of his teacher Anton Reicha (referred to as ‘the godfather of the wind quintet’ in the programme notes) is evident through the idiosyncratic writing for each of the five instruments. The work has four movements, and these are structured in the manner of a mini-symphony. The Scherzo demonstrates the quintet’s variety of articulation and delicacy in the main theme, with a very lyric horn and oboe duet in the slower central section. By using only three instruments at a time, each player is granted a moment to shine in the Andante, creating a refreshing sense of repose. In a similar fashion to a comic opera, the Finale is full of musical surprises. Katherine Fink delivers some impressive flute playing, delivering a rather challenging passage with apparent ease. The whole work is very well balanced between the five instruments and has lovely shadings and graded easing of speed towards the end of phrases.

The Lefebvre suite uses the instruments of the quintet in pairs, which creates duets of timbre in the first movement. The nature of the canon structure - a passage repeated exactly by another instrument a short time after the first instrument - could result in monotonous playing, but Borealis create beautiful shapes with appropriate dynamics and phrasing. The balance is perfect, as is the tuning. The fast third movement allows the flute to shine. The strong finish is a good way to round off the disc.

The overall impression of this album is of pleasant chamber music. None of these pieces are of particularly weighty substance or high quality content. The Borealis delivers the vast majority of the music with character, energy and great ensemble playing with just a few moments of bad intonation and lack of dynamics.

Sabrina Pullen

Claude-Paul TAFFANEL (1844-1908) Quintette pour instruments à Vent (1876)
  1. Allegro con moto (9’08)
  2. Andante (6’29)
  3. Vivace (7’48)
Adolphe Édouard Marie DESLANDRES (1840-1911) Trois Pièces en Quintette (1900)
  1. Andante (4’56)
  2. Scherzo (2’38)
  3. Finale (4’08)

André Georges Louis ONSLOW (1784-1853) Quintette, Op.81 (1853)

  1. Allegro non troppo (7’51)
  2. Scherzo: Energico (3’54)
  3. Andante sostenuto (6’49)
  4. Finale: Allegro spiritoso (4’39)

Charles Édouard LEFEBVRE (1843-1917) Suite, Op.57

  1. Canon: Moderato (2’39)
  2. Allegretto scherzando (4’43)
  3. Allegro leggiero (3’58)


Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.