Nielsen, Ligeti, Depraz

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Depraz,Ligeti,Nielsen
WORKS: Wind Quintet
PERFORMER: Nielsen Wind Quintet; Pierre-Simon Chevry (alto flute)
CATALOGUE NO: 488010-2
Despite being misleadingly entitled ‘Contemporary Wind Quintets’ this CD contains some very fine playing and makes a persuasive case for this difficult medium. Of all the various combinations of wind instruments, the traditional quintet has always seemed the least satisfactory and has produced a repertoire which is generally lightweight. One of the few exceptions to this is Nielsen’s superb Quintet, composed in 1922, which demonstrates an instinctive feel for the potential of the five disparate timbres. The performance by this eponymous group is excellent in every way, displaying both individual and ensemble playing of the highest order. The two Ligeti works provide a fascinating contrast, with the Bagatelles of 1953, inspired by folk music and sounding remarkably like Bartók, set against the Ten Pieces from 1968 which form a series of short, unrelated movements using a range of modernist techniques. Once again the playing is outstanding in two works now rightly accepted as central to the serious repertoire. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the two pieces by Raymond Depraz which, despite committed performances, are uninteresting and forgettable. Yet overall this is a most impressive offering, which does a great deal to help to restore faith in the concept of this problematic instrumental combination. Tim Payne