, September 2013
…from the start this collection has a ‘what’s not to like’ feel about it, commencing with the lively Pièces brèves by Ibert to get us all into a spring-like mood. This is better known than Tomasi’s Printemps, which with its birdsong and the added spice of a solo saxophone with the quintet is attractively written and filled with wit and surprise. You would expect superlative performances of classics for wind such as Milhaud’s La Cheminée du roi René, and that is exactly what we have here. The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet’s sound is really flexible: from warmly expressive and fluidly lyrical, to the kind of pungency and rhythmic sharpness demanded not only by French composers. The familiar is once again placed against less frequently heard fare, this time with the elegant restraint of Koechlin’s excellent Septuor. Both playful and light in tone and texture, this is a surprisingly youthful work from the then 70 year-old composer, having fun with fugues which dance with decidedly un-academic frivolity. Françaix’s energetic Quintette No. 1 is terrific fun to play and to hear, expertly put together and performed with superb élan in this recording.
This is a superb collection of extremely fine performances, and should be part of everyone’s collection: no need to try, just buy! © MusicWeb International Read complete review