Nielsen, Mortensen, Jersild & Wellejus

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Jersild & Wellejus,Mortensen,Nielsen
LABELS: Dacapo
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Music for Wind Quintet
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Danish National RSO Wind Quintet
CATALOGUE NO: 8.224151
There are a dozen or so versions of the Nielsen Quintet now in the catalogue, all variously coupled. These Danish players give a keenly felt and highly polished account of the piece, with an exceptionally well characterised finale (I have not heard the clarinet variation more vividly portrayed, even by Aage Oxenvad himself, whose character it was supposed to enshrine). I note the odd expressive emphasis (the horn figure about 14 bars into the first movement and some rather too affectionate phrasing in the trio of the minuet) but I can’t imagine anyone being seriously worried by them. In fact all these performances are strongly profiled and carefully prepared, and the Nielsen can be recommended alongside (though not necessarily in preference to) the Oslo Quintet (Naxos).

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Now in his late eighties, Jørgen Jersild spent some years in France and studied briefly with Roussel. The Serenade confirms the positive impression I have formed of his music before – a well-fashioned, intelligent discourse of some wit. Of the other pieces, the Quintet by Otto Mortensen (1907-86) is amiable small-talk, not strongly individual but civilised. Much the same might be said of Henning Wellejus’s slight, short and rather inconsequential Quintet. But the Nielsen and Jersild are highly recommendable and well recorded. Robert Layton