DVORAK Wind Serenade;
Oslo Philharmonic Wind
Naxos 8.554173 60'24"
No angst in this programme, which makes for a happy hour's listening, just
right for unwinding, with a glass of your preferred, after a day's work.
Everyone loves the Dvorak Serenade for Strings, but his 'other'
serenade (Op. 44), a typical example of his music around 1880, is not heard
too often, even though there are some twenty recordings. It preserves its
freshness and is always welcome. For wind band with lower strings, there
are four tuneful movements, redolent of Dvorak's homeland, expertly scored
to give everyone a good chance.
The Romanian George Enescu's Dixtuor Op. 14, is less
nationalistic, and remains the least known of the three. Never likely to
make the 'canon', it deserves an occasional airing. Despite Naxos deciding
to feature Dvorak in boldest print for marketing purposes, the masterpiece
here is Janacek's astonishing Youth sextet of his old age,
for normal wind quintet plus bass clarinet which colours the ensemble uniquely.
Mladi is untiringly fascinating, however many times heard, and one
of my favourite pieces of music. This one makes fifteen versions in the
catalogue. It seems brings out the best in wind players, who always seem
to relish it. I recall the London Sinfonietta players, directed by David
Atherton, as particularly felicitous [Decca 430
375-2DH2]. The Oslo soloists, without a named director, give very
satisfactory, robust performances. At Naxos' bargain price, recording and
presentation are perfectly satisfactory.
Peter Grahame Woolf