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Antonín REICHA (1770-1836)
Wind Quintets (1820): in E flat major op. 100, no. 3 [30:57]; in E minor op. 100 no. 4 [40:58]
Westwood Wind Quintet (John Barcellona (flute); Peter Christ (oboe); William Helmers (clarinet); Calvin Smith (horn); Patricia Nelson (bassoon))
rec. 7, 8, 13, 14 January 2007, Crystal Chamber Hall, Camas, Washington. DDD
Experience Classicsonline

The final stage in Peter Christ's wondrously Olympian project to record all 24 Reicha Wind Quintets in twelve CD volumes is now in sight.
Crystal CD264-66 have op. 91 1-6 while CD267, 269 and 271 have op. 99 1-6. This is the penultimate disc in what is likely to come to be seen as one of the most heroic endeavours in the multiform revival of neglected music on disc.
Born Antonin Reicha in Prague he died in Paris. The years 1785-1794 were spent in Bonn where met Nikolaus Simrock who published 18 of the 24 wind quintets. He moved to Hamburg, away from the invading French army, and then onward to Paris where two of his symphonies were premiered. They were notable for the use of themes that interlocked and recurred across movements. In Vienna he renewed acquaintance with Haydn and Beethoven. His student included Franck, Gounod, Liszt and Berlioz. There he wrote his own opera Leonora.
The wind quintets are products of the Paris years 1810-20. These two come towards the end. They are big works – just over thirty minutes in one case and just over forty in the other. Each is in four movements. The E minor is nonchalant and mysterious, kindly and placid, playfully gallant and finally rather Rossini-like. Dark – even morose – writing in the E flat major looks forward to Dvořák before giving way to a sort of jocose Mozartean bonhomie which can also be heard in the finale. In the Minuet third movement we are reminded of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. If you like your harmoniemusik then this is certainly for you.
All the liner-notes in this series have been seriously informative and fifteen page booklet with this one is no exception. Those confusing fold-out leaflets are now a thing of the past.
Rob Barnett

Reviews of other releases in this series
Volume 4 - CD264
Volume 5 - CD265
Volume 6 - CD266
Volume 9 - CD269
Full details of the series at the Crystal website

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