Coming from 1901, the middle 1920’s and 1966, the four wind quintets on this disc are vastly different from one another. The title of the CD is ‘German Wind Quintets’; the youthful and crackerjack Quintette Aquilon performs. The program opens with the plush romantic harmonies of Quintet in C major, Op. 95 (1901) by August Klughardt (1847-1902). This is followed by Paul Hindemith’s neo-classical Little Chamber Music for five Winds, Op. 24/2 (1922) and the highly dissonant Divertimento Op. 4 (1923) by Hanns Eisler (1898-1962). Taking us just about as far as we can get from the opening Klughardt work, the program ends in the micro-tonal world of Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) with ‘Adieu.’
I wanted to demonstrate in my audio samples the wide range of music on this program, so rather than offer only one track from the album, I have excerpts from three works: a movement from each the Klughardt and Hindemith as well as the opening few minutes of Stockhausen’s ‘Adieu.’ There are a few alternate versions of each of these works, with the exception of ‘Adieu’, which is appearing on CD for the first time. With its parallel microtones and absence of any meter players can use to stay together, ‘Adieu’ sounds like it’s an outlandishly difficult work to perform. So much so, Quintette Aquilon enlisted the assistance of conductor Clément Mao-Takacs, and in the end, has canned a performance that is not likely to be equaled for a very long time.
The playing of the Aquilon Quintet is of the highest order. Their finely nuanced performances are perfectly balanced, homogeneous and dead-on in tune. This is an obligatory acquisition for wind players and anyone who appreciates wind music performance of the highest order. Music practically anyone would enjoy, the Klughardt and Hindemith works make up nearly forty minutes of the program. If you enjoyed those samples and the Stockhausen didn’t scare you away, go for it.
Homogeneity, precision, expression, and effortlessness are words that come to mind where the five musicians of the Aquilon Quintet are concerned. After several successes at the most important international wind quintet competitions (Henri Tomasi in 2003 and ARD Munich in 2006), the musicians were celebrated as the Best Ensemble in 2007 by the Festival Mecklenburg Vorpommern, and as Rising Stars for the 2008/09 season.
Hanns Eisler (6 July 1898 – 6 September 1962) was an Austrian composer. Composer of the German Democratic Republic’s national anthem, he is probably most known for his long association with Bertolt Brecht, and for the scores he wrote for films.
Paul Hindemith (16 November 1895 – 28 December 1963) was a German composer, violist, violinist, teacher and conductor. Notable compositions include his song cycle Das Marienleben (1923) and opera Mathis der Maler (1938).
August Friedrich Martin Klughardt (November 30, 1847 – August 3, 1902) was a German composer and conductor.
From 1882 to the end of his life, he was director of music at the court in Dessau. In 1892 and 1893, he conducted Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. He received many distinctions in his last years: he was appointed member of the Berlin Academy of Arts in 1898 and he was made honorary doctor by the University of Erlangen. He was also asked to direct the Singakademie in Berlin, but he rejected this offer. Klughardt died suddenly in Roßlau at the age of 54.
Karlheinz Stockhausen (22 August 1928 – 5 December 2007) was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him “one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music” He is known for his ground-breaking work in electronic music, aleatory (controlled chance) in serial composition, and musical spatialization.
Celebrated as “Best Ensemble in 2007″ by the Festival Mecklenburg Vorpommern and as “Rising Stars” for the 2008-09 season.
Marion Ralincourt, flute; Claire Sirjacobs, oboe; Stephanie Corre, clarinet; Marianne Tilquin, Horn; Gaelle Habert, bassoon; Clement Mao-Tokacs, conductor