Belle époque: French Music for Wind

Belle époque: French Music for Wind

Orsino Ensemble

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Album review

“The Orsino Ensemble was formed with the intention of exploring lesser-known wind repertory, and that's exactly what the group does here. With the exception of the three small pieces by Debussy and perhaps the Flute Concertino in D major, Op. 107, of Cécile Chaminade, a virtuoso work that still bedevils conservatory students, the pieces here are all but unknown, and many are charming. The music exists at the juncture of expanding instrument technology and a Conservatoire in Paris that was ready to exploit it; some of it was connected to a society for modern wind instruments in Paris, where one might easily imagine this varied program having been played. The pieces range from a flute solo, Debussy's Syrinx (which makes an arresting ending), to the full winds-and-piano sextet, with pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, in Albert Roussel's opening Divertissement, Op. 6. Along the way are pieces ranging from conservative (Saint-Saëns) to the radical (Debussy) but what strikes one in this context is how much the pieces fit together as part of a single tradition. There are some real finds, such as the languorous second of Charles Koechlin's Deux Nocturnes, Op. 32bis ("Dans le forêt"), and the slow movement of André Caplet's Quintet, Op. 8, whose finale also sounds like Ravel must have heard it. The church acoustic of Henry Wood Hall is a bit too roomy for this chamber music, but everything's clear. A superior chamber music release filled with music that listeners will be very happy to know better.”

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Record label



    2 April 2021