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Bruce M. Creditor
Quintessence - The Wind Quintet Informant, September 2012

This A Year in the Catskills seems to be typical in its eclectic approach, clever and charming…

This work is a series of four seasonal depictions…The Blair Woodwind Quintet dispatches these illustrations of the passing of a year with great exuberance and enthusiasm as well as depth in the darker moments.

Also on the CD is Diversions, a sparky and illustrative trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon.

Wonderful works to consider for your wind quintet recital. © 2012 Quintessence - The Wind Quintet Informant

Robert R. Reilly
Crisis Magazine, May 2012

the new Naxos CD…of Peter Schickele’s works for woodwind quintet, [is] played beautifully by the Blair Woodwind Quintet. I have always enjoyed Schickele’s “serious” music, particularly his enticing chamber music. His string quartets and piano quintets are quite wonderful. The title piece here is A Year in the Catskills, accompanied by Dream Dances, Diversions, and other pieces. These are sweet, genial musical musings that percolate pleasantly along. Much of it is gentle and reflective, capturing a poignant nostalgia. These are works of sheer delight and attractive fancy. There is simply not a mean bone in the body of this music. © 2012 Crisis Magazine

Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, March 2012

It is all very engaging, and wonderfully presented by musicians and engineers. Naxos has a winner here, and I hope we hear more from the Blair Wind Quintet. Meanwhile, woodwind fanciers are hereby alerted to a must-buy release. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

James Manheim, January 2012

A Year in the Catskills…is a delightfully elegant piece of American neoclassicism. Schickele’s essential style has remained recognizable through several decades of tonal fashions, and as heard in these wind-ensemble pieces it’s often very funny indeed. …his ear for amusing musical pictorialisms is keen…Schickele sticks very close to the basic blues harmonic pattern but displaces both rhythm and texture in the added counterpoint in clever ways. The album is full of other pleasures… Highly recommended… © 2012 Read complete review

Kevin Sutton
MusicWeb International, December 2011

This collection of chamber music, deftly rendered by members of the faculty of Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, is a showcase of the composer’s unique wit and creativity. Colorful, original, whimsical, and adventuresome, this collection of musical short stories from one of America’s most diverse composers has something to please every ear. © 2011 MusicWeb International Read complete review, September 2011

This disc shows Schickele (born 1935) as a serious musician with a fine grasp of chamber-music writing and a predilection for miniatures: with the exception of one movement that runs seven minutes…Schickele strings these short pieces together into works intended to evoke a particular time, place or mood. The performers, all faculty members at Vanderbilt University, approach the works with affection and enjoyment…Schickele’s experiments with sonority…are the most interesting thing here; they and the fine performances earn the CD a (+++) rating…The result is works that are pleasant enough and appear enjoyable to perform…

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2011

Peter Schickele, alias P.D.Q Bach—or maybe it’s the opposite way round—enjoys a major career in music for film and television with forays into the concert world. Born in 1935 he had the good fortune of studying with Roy Harris, Darius Milhaud and Vincent Persichetti. From the outset he was involved in the satirical side of music that gave birth to the composer P.D.Q Bach, his works responsible for some highly amusing concerts. Interested in combining classics with jazz, rock and pop music, it is that mix we find in his most recent work, A Year in the Catskills. Cast in four movements that reflect the mood of the Catskills through the seasons of the year, it has an added fast and joyous finale. It was commissioned and is here recorded by the Blair Woodwind Quintet—an odd name for a group that includes French horn. Two works from the 1960’s, Gardens and Diversions, offer easy-going pleasures, while a series of childhood memories are expressed in the jazzy What did you do today at Jeffrey’s House?. My own favourite score comes in the five Dream Dances that start in the world of the Minuet, end with a Saraband and pass through a Jitterbug on the way. For the performer this easy-going music can be difficult to ‘bring off’, and I much admire the Blair group who, in various permutations, perform much of the disc with the cellist, Felix Wang, involved in Dream Dances. The recording is admirably balanced and comes from the Blair School of Music in Nashville…

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