DANZI: Quintet in F; Quintet in d; TAFFANEL: Quintet in g – Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet – Crystal

by | Feb 24, 2012 | Classical Reissue Reviews

DANZI: Quintet in F, Op. 68 No. 2; Quintet in d, Op. 68 No. 3; TAFFANEL: Quintet in g – Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet – Crystal 251, 65:00 ****:
The Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet came into existence in 1961 and left it in 2001. The players were first-disk occupants of some of the most prestigious ensembles worldwide, formed when Pablo Casals needed faculty for his new Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. They were also resident at the University of Washington in Seattle. It’s worth mentioning the members: Felix Skowronek, flute; Laila Storch, oboe; William McColl, clarinet; Arthur Grossman, bassoon; and Christopher Leuba, horn.
Franz Danzi was much better known in his own day for works apart from his nine wind quintets (of which these two are possibly the last), especially his opera and vocal pieces. After contact with Anton Reicha he was inspired to create his own series of woodwind quintets and in fact dedicated the first set to Reicha. Danzi’s works are quite extraordinary; easily the equivalent of Reicha’s and fall beautifully on the ears. Paul Taffanel was a flute professor at the Paris Conservatory (1844-1908). His Quintet is a dark and richly diverse example of French romanticism at its finest, exemplified by intricate writing that provides a wonderful balance of activity across all instruments.
The sound on this release is very dry and close though not at all detracting from the natural timbre of the players. These recordings are from 1975 and 1978 and are played with spontaneity and relaxed precision by a superb ensemble.
—Steven Ritter

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