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Dreams of Freedom
Carion Wind Quintet
rec. 2018, Studio Odradek, The Spheres, Pescara-Montesilvano, Italy ODRADEK ODRCD373 [58:55]
In contrast with the string quintet’s general homogeneity of sound, each instrument in the wind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and either French horn or cor anglais) brings its particular timbre and colour to the music, sometimes with quite an orchestral effect. The undoubted champions, who essentially established the wind quintet as a genre, were Anton Reicha, who composed twenty-four pieces, and Franz Danzi, who composed nine.
The six works on this disc date mainly from the twentieth century. They display all the possibilities that the wind quintet has to offer, especially when sat alongside an arrangement of Mozart’s Serenade K. 375 – although the opening piece cannot be more different from the Mozart. Paul Hindemith’s Kleine Kammermusik Op. 24 No. 2 was composed in 1922 is a wonderful introduction to the programme, and a regular feature on discs of twentieth century wind quintets. Unlike Hindemith’s other Kammermusik pieces, in reality works for chamber orchestra, this work is a true chamber piece. It opens with the witty Lustig. Massig schnell Viertel in the form of a march. The instruments can shine in the fourth-movement Schnelle Viertel, each given mini-cadenza-like music.
Igor Stravinsky wrote Suite No. 2 in 1921 for small orchestra, by orchestrating two works for two pianos (three movements come from Trois pièces faciles, the fourth from Cinq pièces faciles). This joyous music, with its fanfare like-opening March, was arranged by the group’s horn player David M. A. P. Palmquist. The skillful arrangement retains the humour and colour of the original orchestrations.
An underrated composer, Alexander von Zemlinsky (he was Mahler’s assistant) has been tarred with the brush of atonalism because he was the teacher and advisor to his brother-in-law Arnold Schoenberg. His music, however, is more romantic, as can be heard in his short Humoreske of 1939. One of his final compositions, it was written in America, where Zemlinsky had fled to after the Anschluss. He settled in New York, where he had to scrape together a living by giving private lessons and writing education pieces such as the Humoreske. Not as sophisticated as his earlier and more impressionistic music, it is still an attractive little piece.
Arvo Pärt’s composed Quintetto Op. 13 in 1964 during the period of his compositional life when he still embraced neoclassicism, atonalism and expressionism; the music in this short piece is more angular than devotees have come to love. I had forgotten how intensely dissonant it was, with rich and sometimes dense layers of sound. Even so, Pärt still finds time for a comic twist at the end.
The final two works on this disc are also arrangements by David M. A. P. Palmquist. Mozart originally composed Serenade No. 11 for pairs of clarinets, horns and bassoons; latter he added two oboes. Palmquist retains the Mozart feel whilst the flute brings an added sweetness to the work.
Moutaz Arian is a Kurdish composer from northern Syria, now living in China. The piece Borderless expresses how the composer and the people of his homeland wish to “live more freely in a world without borders…” There are some nice touches: Arian blends music from the Middle-Eastern tradition with a flourish that is at times reminiscent of klezmer music and music of the western idiom. The result is attractive. Palmquist’s arrangement uses the five instruments to colour the music well.
This is a very interesting and appealing disc of music for wind quintet. The Carion Wind Quintet is on excellent form throughout. Their playing is sharp and precise. They shape every phrase well, bringing out the best in the music. The performance has real integrity, and eclipses the recordings of the pieces that I knew earlier. David M. A. P. Palmquist’s arrangements bring us new and pleasing works in the idiom. The recorded sound is very good, as are the booklet notes.
Paul HINDEMITH Kleine Kammermusik Op. 24 No. 2
1 I. Lustig. Massig schnell Viertel [3:11]
2 II. Walzer. Durchweg sehr leise [2:07]
3 III. Ruhig und einfach [4:50]
4 IV. Schnelle Viertel [0:51]
5 V. Sehr lebhaft [3:06] Igor STRAVINSKY
Suite No. 2 (arr. David M. A. P. Palmquist, 2017)
6 I. March [1:14]
7 II. Waltz [2:00]
8 III. Polka [1:08]
9 IV. Galop [1:58] Alexander von ZEMLINSKY
10 Humoreske (Rondo) [4:34] Arvo PÄRT Quintetto Op. 13
11 I. Schnell [1:03]
12 II. Langsam [2:02]
13 III. Massig [1:16] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Serenade No. 11 K. 375 (arr. David M. A. P. Palmquist, 2017)
14 I. Allegro maestoso [7:11]
15 II. Menuetto [4:38]
16 III. Adagio [5:46]
17 IV. Menuetto [2:58]
18 V. Finale Allegro [3:38] ARIAN
19 Borderless (arr. David M. A. P. Palmquist, 2018) [5:13]