"Anton Reicha, originally born Antonin Rejcha in Prague, was a friend to both Haydn and Beethoven. While translating French for them, he became preoccupied with change, going so far as to advocate doing away with barlines in music. His radical ideas did not make their way into his woodwind quintets, which are inventive yet thoroughly rooted in late Classical and early Romantic harmony and rhythms. Reicha made this particular combination of instruments 'his', and became renowned for his quintets, which rivaled the quartets of Haydn in popularity. The two works presented on this entertaining CD are the last numbers of two different sets--Op. 88 and Op. 91. Sprightly tunes and clever melodic invention abound in both, and the players are each given ample opportunity to shine in virtuoso displays, notably the clarinet and bassoon in the trio of the C minor Quintet's Menuetto and the horn in the Meneutto of the F major. But superb playing is required in every movement of these works, and the Michael Thompson Wind Quintet players are up to the task, turning in some outstanding solo turns and a lot of cohesive ensemble playing as well. The recorded sound is just right--intimate but not close up enough to catch the distracting clacking of keys."
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