Collection: Summer Music

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Barber,Carter,Machala,Medaglia,Schuller,Villa-Lobos & Pitombeira
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Works by Barber, Carter, Schuller, Machala, Medaglia, Villa-Lobos & Pitombeira
PERFORMER: Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
CATALOGUE NO: CD-952

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Several chamber ensembles drawn from the membership of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra are now both recording and touring – and, quite understandably, they don’t try to obscure their illustrious pedigree. This recording is more than opportunistic orchestral players doing session work under a classy brand name; these are performances of integrity and are technically accomplished.

Accustomed to working together with the world’s most gifted and demanding conductors, the five players distil all the discipline, versatility and musical characterisation that is demanded of them daily. They combine this with the mutual generosity and tangible sense of enjoyment of those just freed from the maestro’s yoke.

The repertoire is only tenuously linked to summer. Barber’s Summer Music, a wind quintet masterpiece, is the only obvious connection but, if pressed, one could say that the rest either comes from hot countries or sounds sunny (yes, even the Carter). Much of the music is busy and virtuosic, with the suites by Medaglia sounding hyperactive and over-clever – like Façade without the wry humour.

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This is real chamber music; the players are keenly attuned to each other, and their musical projection, assisted by a perfect studio sound, is irresistible. Christopher Mowat