One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Guillaume LEKEU

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Superior performance

Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem Thielemann

Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital

Arnold Bax
Be converted

this terrific disc

John Buckley
one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


Bryden Thomson


Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Latin Winds
Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999)
Per la flor del lliri blau (For the Blue Lily Flower) (1934) [17:40]
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Concerto Grosso for Woodwind Quartet and Wind Orchestra (1959) [16:53]
Adagio for Wind Orchestra (1966) [9:50]
Fantasia em três movimentos (1958) [12:29]
Carlos CHÁVEZ (1899-1978)
Chapultepec (1935) [8:45]
Amy Yule (flute), Amy Roberts (oboe), Marcus Norman (clarinet), Sam Brough (bassoon)
Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra/Clark Rundell, Mark Heron
rec. RNMCM Concert Hall, Manchester, 2017
CHANDOS CHAN10975 [66:18]

For anyone who associates wind bands of all kinds with dodgy tuning and even dodgier repertoire, this recording is the ideal corrective (not that that view has always been unjustified!). Here is a programme of sophisticated and often beautiful music, played with style and precision by the students of the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra.

The RNCM has long had a fine reputation for music of this genre, dating back to the 70s and 80s with Philip Jones and Timothy Reynish, and more recently with the two outstanding conductors featured on this recording – Clark Rundell and Mark Heron.

We learn from the booklet notes that there is a ‘strong tradition in Latin America of the wind band’, and I know from my own experience that in many parts of Spain, especially Valencia, wind bands and ensembles play an important part in popular culture. So on this disc we have the music of a Spaniard, Joachín Rodrigo, a Brazilian, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and a Mexican, Carlos Chávez. All five works are emphatically worth hearing, beginning with Rodrigo’s Per la flor del lliri blau (For the Blue Lily), his first major orchestral work. It is in reality a fairly extended symphonic poem, based on a Valencian ballad of three brothers and their tragic quest for the eponymous blue lily.

Rodrigo wrote the piece for orchestra in 1934, then made this wind orchestra re-scoring no less than fifty years later in 1984. I have to say it works very well in this version; it’s a dramatic piece, with some compelling episodes of powerful galloping music, and it made me want to hear it in its original scoring too. Mark Heron steers his young players confidently through the considerable technical demands of the work, and the occasional split note in horns or trumpets does nothing to undermine the power of the music.

Villa-Lobos’ Concerto Grosso is one of his last works, completed in 1959, the year of his death. It is a piece of great charm, beautifully written for the medium, as one would expect from the many other works involving wind instruments. The writing for the ‘concertino’ of four woodwind is wholly idiomatic, while the percussion add generous amounts of ‘local colour’ in the more fully scored moments.

All three movements are delightful; but the finale, a prelude and fugue, is particularly splendid, and brings some stunning playing from the RNCM musicians, especially in the fugue, with its jagged subject. Again the soloists distinguish themselves, with Sam Brough characterising his bassoon cadenza strongly, and Amy Roberts’ oboe tone shining throughout.

The title of the next piece, Rodrigo’s ‘Adagio’, is misleading; although it starts slowly, it has sections of tremendous vigour and impetus. The horn parts in the quick music prove a bridge too far for the young players – most professionals would be severely taxed by them – but the essential characteristic Spanish idiom still emerges strongly, and the work makes a powerful impact.

The Villa-Lobos piece that follows, the Fantasia em três movimentos of 1958 is the weightiest work in this collection. That’s’ not to say that this is ‘difficult’ music; the austerity of the opening Andante quasi Adagio is immediately offset by the quicksilver Allegretto scherzando that follows. The finale, a complex movement in several sections and tempi, brings a satisfying conclusion; this is music of real symphonic stature, and it’s very hard to understand why it was greeted with such apparent indifference in its first performance in Pittsburgh, such is the brilliance of Villa-Lobos’ command of this medium.

Carlos Chávez’ gloriously witty suite Chapultepec (named after the central park in Mexico City) is an utter treat to complete this fine disc. It consists of arrangements of music well-known to Chávez’ compatriots; a march – I believe ‘toe-tapping’ is the description I am straining for – by Codina; then a lachrymose waltz by Campodónico (Mexican waltz-maestro) with the RNCM trumpeters weeping through their instruments; and a final popular marching song of the Mexican Revolution. Written in 1935, this is hugely entertaining stuff, imbued with the same spirit that you find in Les Six or the works of the young Shostakovich.

Congratulations to all involved in this superb and enterprising issue, perhaps most of all to the brilliant young musicians of the RNCM. Manchester rules!

Gwyn Parry-Jones



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

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