Can the magic of fairy tales and folk songs be expressed by only a small group of wind instruments and succeed to reach our approving ears? New Sydney Wind Quintet thinks so; their new album Utopia being anything but small in scope. The talent of five Australian professionals has discovered a method of providing a wonderful variety of repertoire, shaped to revive works by Ravel, Grainger, Lyle Chan and Nielsen. It may have been the luscious surroundings of Armidale that inspired the choice of repertoire, when NSWQ offered their teaching services and performances for a year at the New England Conservatorium of Music In 2010. NSWQ now teach at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and perform with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
The brilliance of varied timbres and technique represent Ravel’s art of inviting the listener to escape into the mystical children’s stories of the French suite Ma Mère l’Oye, a set of five pieces of music composed for individual fables. A different mood is expressed for each piece with the use of articulation and precise technique. But it doesn’t stop here. The plunge is taken to attempt songs by Grainger, in particular the world-famous Danny Boy. The Quintet meets the requirements of skills for clarity and dynamics, resulting in one’s emotions to be satisfied.
Saved by the quirkiness of Chan’s Passage, a fresh change of sound is impressive. Quintet Op 43 by Nielsen finishes strong and successful with each instrument representing its own sound of a high standard. This album is highly recommended.
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