Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Quintet Selection...

Some of our Favourite Wind Quintets

by June Emerson

(and The Canile Quintet)

It was a freezing night in 1969 when five wind players first met to play together in Hertfordshire. It was a successful and somewhat riotous evening and we became a regular wind quintet: The Camerata. Over the years two personnel changed and the name was changed accordingly, but 41 years later three of us were still together, with two others, as The Canile Quintet. Michael, the clarinettist, had suffered for some time with his eyes, and by 2011 he couldn’t see well enough to play any longer. It looked as if it was all over.
By July 2015 however, after several gruelling eye operations and with music enlarged to A3 size, he was ready to have another go. Hesitant and careful at first, by the end of the third day things were pretty well back to normal, and out came the champagne!
We played through almost all of our repertoire, and at the end I asked everyone to name their favourite quintet, and give the reasons for their choice. It was an extremely difficult exercise, and in the end we each chose two. These are the results:

Wendy, flute:
Invitación al Bolero from the Suite Popular Cubana by Dario Morgan, because in a short and beautiful piece everyone has something gorgeous to play.
Quintet Op.56 No.1 by Franz Danzi because there is so much of interest for all the instruments.

Steve, oboe:
Capriol Suite by Peter Warlock because it’s a lovely arrangement of lovely music which is far too good for string players.
Pastorale by Gabriel Pierné because it brings back happy memories of playing it at an outdoor concert in France - oboe offstage at the end.

Michael, clarinet:
Trois Pieces Brèves by Jacques Ibert because it is wonderfully written, particularly the second movement for flute and clarinet. The last movement is a challenge from which we were once saved at an outdoor concert in France by the arrival of the Mistral.
Novelette in C major by Francis Poulenc, because I just love it.

June, bassoon:
La Fille aux cheveux de lin from Debussy Suite No.1 as a sort of test, because it is only after a week of living, eating, drinking and playing together that we can get all the nuances and entries perfect.
La Cheminée du Roi René by Darius Milhaud, because of the wonderful sonorities, and the tender coming together of flute and clarinet in the final bars.

Christine, horn:
Sortie in E Flat by Léfebure-Wély because I want it played at my funeral, and I challenge anyone to hear it without smiling.
Quintette in C major by Claude Arrieu, because it is so quirky, and I love the rich harmonies in the slow movements.

Since its foundation the quintet has raised over £20,000 for various charities, and hopes to keep going for a good while longer. We’ll be celebrating the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Wendy and Michael in 2016.


For accommodating larger size music Michael can recommend

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