REICHA: Woodwind Quintets Nos. 5 &6, Op. 100 – Westwood Quintet – Crystal

by | Jun 21, 2012 | Classical CD Reviews

REICHA: Woodwind Quintets Nos. 5 &6, Op. 100 – Westwood Quintet – Crystal 272, 78:16 ****:
At long last we reach the end of the Westwood Quintet’s traversal of the 24 quintets of Anton Reicha. As one who has covered this series from the beginning, I can find little to add at this point except to say that it is a worthy addition to the Reicha canon, one of the few complete sets available, and one that has advanced not only the recorded legacy of the composer but the musicological side as well. Each issue has been replete with historical comments and quotations from Reicha’s biography, and a fresh new edition of the highest scholarship has been offered for study, performance, and now, recording as well.
This last disc contains the last two quintets Reicha wrote, and by the time Opus 100 rolled around the composer was at the absolute height of his power. These are wondrous pieces, ever-inventive and never-lacking in the finest of musical ideas, while proving the composer a first-rate genius in creating works that emulate the seductive melody of Schubert, the inexorable quality of Haydn’s developmental process, and the fervor and nascent romantic energy of Beethoven. Factor in some of the best playing from the Westwooders to date in this series, and you have an issue that cries out for purchase. In fact, I would suggest any newcomers to this series to begin right here. As all endeavors of this kind have ups and downs, so does this series as well, but the former far outweigh the latter, and it is nice that this quintet, so stepped in the musical lore of this country, is able to grant us a gift of such magnitude and scope. Well done to all concerned.
[The Complete Set of all 24 Riecha Quintets is now together and available for about $124 on Amazon…Ed.]
—Steven Ritter

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