Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Wind Quintets.
Reykjavik Wind Quintet
Chandos CHAN 9849 [73.53]

The important work here is Carl Nielsen's 1922 Quintet which is a jewel in the repertoire of every wind quintet. It is a typically individual and often quirky work of Nielsen's maturity and characterised the personalities of some players whom he had heard, and it is well played here. Next to take my attention was the twice-slimmed quintet of the Edinburgh based Icelandic born cellist/composer Haflidi Hallgrimsson. Originally given in eight movements in Edinburgh, 1991, it was cut down to five movements in 1992 and finally to three, renamed Intarsia and given here. They are characterful, middle of the road, pieces - enjoyable to hear and earning recital space.

I was rather disappointed by Lars-Erik Larsson's cheerful Divertimento (1969) having enjoyed his Pastoral Suite on plum-label 78s in my long-away youth (the composer's name tripped off the tongue pleasantly, and I never forgot it!); well written and good to play, I guess, but unmemorable. And I have to say the same for Peter Rasmussen's of 1896, which is workmanlike but unoriginal - apart from the fact that he had written a wind quintet at a time when few others were doing so.

This music would all be perfectly acceptable for the club circuit, where there is a loyal audience not frightened away by the unfamiliar - indeed this programme as a whole could go down well, possibly with one of the pioneering examples of the genre by Reicha or Danzi.

But do try also the Nielsen complete wind music played by Selandia Ensemble and guests, reviewed for MotW early this year, on Kontrapunkt 32288 ****.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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