Quintopia in all its euphoric greatness has been reached! Too bad it’s not all it was cracked up to be. New Sydney Wind Quintet (NSWQ) is made up of five highly talented Australian musicians: Bridget Bolliger (flute), Alexander Oguey (oboe), Frank Celeta (clarinet), Andrew Barnes (bassoon) and Andrew Bain (french horn). In 2009 NSWQ made their spectacular recording debut with the world premiere of Ross Edwards' Incantations. NSWQ’s new album, Quintopia, is equally as accomplished, but the repertoire choices are questionable.
Quintopia opens with Ravel's Ma Mère L'Oye arranged by Linckelmann. Unfortunately, the poor voicing of this arrangement turns the NSWQ’s beautiful sound into a foggy mass of polluted air. The pain, however, is short-lived as we are offered a breath of fresh air in the form of Grainger’s Irish Tune From County Derry. NSWQ offers this to the listener in sweet melodious lines, phrased with the utmost finesse. Lyle Chan then offers up some light jazz with Passage. This, for me, was the highlight of Quintopia. Passage offered some light relief from this otherwise sombre album. Quintopia finishes with nice, symmetrical harmonies in the form of Carl Nielsen’s Quintet.
Throughout this album the NSWQ makes a lovely, sonorous sound, creating an accomplished and well presented performance.
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