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One of the world’s foremost wind quintets meets one of today’s finest pianists in a work that many consider to be the best work for piano and winds: Poulenc’s Sextet, as well as works by other French composers.
The composer himself called it ‘a homage to the wind instruments which I have loved from the moment I began composing’, and its cheeky character, virtuosic drive and catchy melodies are typical of his other writing for wind instruments. Poulenc also supplied the piano with a crucial – and virtuosic – part, however, including jazzy elements typical of the period as well as emotional outbursts in the manner of Rachmaninov.
Stephen Hough and the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet have enjoyed a long collaboration and the players of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra – who began performing as a group more than 20 years ago – once again demonstrate their supreme ability as ensemble players.
Paul Taffanel: Wind Quintet
I. Allegro con moto
Francis Poulenc: Sextet
I. Allegro vivace: Tres vite et emporte
II. Divertissement: Andantino
III. Finale: Prestissimo
Andre Jolivet: Serenade
IV. Marche Burlesque
Henri Tomasi: 5 danses profanes et sacrees
I. Danse agreste
II. Danse profane
III. Danse sacree
IV. Danse nuptiale
V. Danse guerriere
“Poulenc's Sextet… is instantly recognisable. …his typical mix of popular idioms, smoky tunes and perfumed harmony are all there in this cheeky piece. Stephen Hough joins the wind-players for a spry performance that keeps things bubbling along, rising to the romantic heights but also keeping them in check, neatly pricking any balloon of emotion that might risk becoming too inflated.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.