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Boris BLACHER (1903-1975)
Concertino for Wind Quintet and Strings (1963) [13:27]
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Kleine Kammermusik für fünf Bläser, Op. 24, No. 2 (1922) [12:53]
Harald GENZMER (1909-2007)
Wind Quintet (1956/57) [14:37]
Hanns EISLER (1898-1962)
Divertimento, Op. 4 (1923) [6:58]
Wind Septet (1948) [16:00]
Hindemith Quintett (Clara Andrada de la Calle (flute); Nick Deutsch (oboe); Johannes Gmeinder (clarinet); Sibylle Mahni Haas (horn); Richard Morschel (bassoon)
Balazs Nemes (trumpet); Andreas Langenbuch (bass clarinet) (Hindemith Septet)
Münchener Kammerorchester/Alexander Liebreich
rec. 3 November 2013, BR Studio 1, München (Blacher); 12-14 October 2012 Musikhochschule Saarbrücken, grosser Saal (Hindemith Op. 24, Genzmer, Eisler); 2 September 2013 Haus der Chöre, Frankfurt/Main (Hindemith Septet)

The Hindemith Quintett is composed of outstanding wind players from five nations who came together as an ensemble in Frankfurt. They take their inspiration from Paul Hindemith, who was once leader of the Frankfurt Opera’s orchestra. This disc offers splendid performances of five works by German composers written between 1922 and 1963.

Hindemith’s 1922 wind quintet, the Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, no. 2, is the star of this show.
This little masterpiece is light, airy, and rhythmically intriguing. It is not all perky ostinato, however; the central movement, Ruhig und einfach conveys an ineffable sadness, which the ensemble captures quite memorably. There are many recordings of the Kleine Kammermusik, but this is as fine as any.

Twenty-six years later Hindemith wrote a Wind Septet. Like the Kleine Kammermusik, it is a five-movement suite, given a bit more gravity with a sonata-form opening movement, a set of variations in the center, and a fugue for the conclusion. Hindemith added a trumpet and bass clarinet to the wind quintet, finding evident joy at toying with the expanded sonorities of the new ensemble. The recording by Ensemble Villa Música (MDG 3040447) may bring a shade more pizzazz to this piece, but the Hindemith Quintet sparkles plenty.

Harald Genzmer’s neoclassical 1957 Quintet is something of a let-down, after the two Hindemith works. The Quintet is well-crafted, showing Hindemith’s influence in structure and harmony, but without either the impish aspect which underlies so much of the older master’s chamber music. The result is bland, despite the precise and energetic playing in this performance.

Hanns Eisler’s two-movement Divertimento of 1923 is the most serious work in this collection, as well as the only one that cannot be labeled neoclassical. Schoenberg, not Hindemith, inspires the work. A short introduction sets a hesitant mood, resolved by the forceful horn call which concludes the following variation movement.

The newest work on the disc is Boris Blacher 1963 Concertino for Wind Quintet and Orchestra. This unusual piece may have only one counterpart, the Concerto by the American, Alvin Etler. Blacher’s work is full of high spirits and good humor. It is often jazzy, in a convincing way, unlike what passed for jazz in German classical works of the 1920s. The central Vivace features clarinet glissandi and joyous horn whoops. The Munich Chamber Orchestra under Alexander Liebreich does not have much to do, but does it well.

Coviello has provided clear, detailed, and untroubled sound.

Richard Kraus



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