The fine instrumentalists of the New Sydney Wind Quintet (formed 2004) have created something special with their second album Quintopia. It’s a happily fantastical sound world of which Sir Thomas More’s rich imagination would surely approve.
In Maurice Ravel’s Ma Mére l’Oye (Mother Goose), arranged by Joachim Linckelmann for wind quintet, each movement conjures a different fairytale character, matched intelligently by NSWQ’s lovely array of timbres and textures. Horn player Andrew Bain creates real resonance, shifting effortlessly between smoothly lyrical and brassy beast-like passages.
NSWQ also aims to promote the performance of Australian music, so Lyle Chan invites you to partake of his own quintopian vision by arranging for wind quintet some of Percy Grainger’s most illustrious traditional songs. Flautist Bridget Bolliger’s stunning phrasing soars above the quintet’s harmonic ground, most notably in Irish Tune from County Derry. In Chan’s own quirky composition Passage, Andrew Barnes’s bassoon guides the ensemble through a comical, almost cartoonish dream. In contrast, the soothing sounds of Calcium Light Night offer a gentle catharsis, with oboist Alexander Oguey giving an inspiring performance – heartfelt nostalgia within an altered folk tune.
Carl Nielsen’s Kvintet – something of a standard for such ensembles – makes a fitting finale to Quintopia. On this musical journey in which each instrument is endowed with a different humanoid personality, Frank Celata’s virtuosic clarinet creates wonderful flow and character, with real panache!
New Sydney Wind Quintet have captured in these performances an idyllic world of folksongs, fairy tales and curious personalities. Quintopia indeed.
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