German Wind Quintets; Eisler, Hindemeth, Klughardt, Stockhausen / Aquilon Quintet


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.

They are not playing any of the music that is on this CD, but here's a video of the Aquilon Quinitet performing.