REICHA: Woodwind Quintets Nos. 3 & 4 – Westwood Quintet – Crystal

by | Sep 24, 2011 | Classical CD Reviews

REICHA: Woodwind Quintets Nos. 3 & 4, Op. 88 – Westwood Quintet – Crystal 262, 57:02 ***:
This is the next to last installment of the Westwood/Crystal Reicha series, started a number of years ago and based on the new critical edition by Charles-David Lehrer, provided to the International Double Reed Society. It is surely a worthy effort as so few exist, one complete on CPO, while another seems to be making a possible start. So I don’t have a lot to say anymore on these issues. For those interested,  Audiophile Audition has covered other discs in the following reviews:
Volume 3
Volume 10
Quintets 3 & 4
Quintets 1 & 2
Volume 7
Interestingly enough, though this is the penultimate issue, the music is among the weakest of the Reicha canon, and is probably not the best place to start if you are just engaging these seminal works. And seminal they are—even though these don’t perhaps rank with the very best they might be akin to finding only a sapphire among a field of diamonds. But there are some things which show them to be just a little below the normally high level of inspiration Reicha was dealing with when creating these.
The second work here, in D-minor, is clearly superior to his G-major disc mate, with some marvelous writing, especially in the slow movement; however, I would agree completely with AudAud reviewer Lee Passarella (see first link above) who says “If you’re a fan of the woodwind quintet, you won’t have to be sold on these works; others will want to sample, and there may be better places to start than Opus 88.” There are indeed, but that’s not the fault of the Westwood or of Crystal, whose important series is rapidly drawing to a close.
Steven Ritter

Related Reviews
Logo Pure Pleasure
Logo Apollo's Fire
Logo Crystal Records Sidebar 300 ms
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01
La Clave – Acoustic Sounds

La Clave – Acoustic Sounds

Verve/Universal Music Group releases a re-mastered vinyl of an obscure, but highly entertaining 70’s album.