Nordic wind quintets make entertaining discmates on this Proprius
disc that ranges from Rasmussen’s late Romanticism to Nilsson’s
1976 reworking of two earlier works, Déjà connu
from 1967 and Déjà entendu from 1976 – here
conjoined as one. Rasmussen’s 1896 work follows classical procedure
with a slow introduction before leading on to a jaunty little
allegro. It’s all rather string based in conception – one can
easily imagine it in the form of, say, a chamber orchestra; which
means I suppose that there’s nothing overwhelmingly distinctive
about it in this medium. For all that it has an attractive slow
movement and an involving fugal finale that zips along. Kapp’s
1957 Suite – in four movements – has a vocalised and folk-based
expressivity that is immediately appealing. By turns wistful and
light hearted there’s a slightly jazzy feel to the scherzo second
movement and a bold little march to finish things off.
Nilsson’s work opens with an Introduction that encapsulates a
timeless Renaissance feel. There’s simplicity, harmonically speaking,
but also a noble lyricism rooted in something much older – something
akin to some of Václav Trojan’s film music; Prince Bayaya
(1950) for example. He also cultivates mountain air expanses,
open spaced without excluded more obviously introspective contrastive
sections – the Intermède is a fine example of this skill.
The so-called Kontakia finale is a sort of moto perpetuo affair
that sports a fast fade ending (Nilsson apparently sanctions electronic
help here; I assume it’s the fade out ending in this movement).
We’re left with the delicious feeling of things still going on.
Finally the most recent work, Englund’s 1989 Quintet. This opens
with hymnal piety before the music develops an oscillatory, punctuated
feel – jutting horn, especially. There’s a perky scherzo with
folkish gestures, earthy and humorous, very nicely voiced with
a particularly guttural horn part and high lying flute. The Andante
is rather unsettled and short-winded but it slowly gathers direction
until the hymnal atmosphere reappears. It’s a fine work; ambiguous
enough to sustain interst and splendidly laid out.
Rasmussen has most recently been recorded on Chandos CHAN 9849
by the Reykjavik Quintet but this Proprius is a fine reading by
a talented group. Notes are succinct, sound quality fine. A Nordic
conspectus of breadth then; some longeurs but generally entertainingly