WINDSCAPE Wind Quintet
MAURICE RAVELTranscriptions for Wind Quintet
WINDSCAPE WIND QUINTET
Tara Helen O' Connor, Flute & Piccolo
Randall Wolfgang, Oboe & English Horn
Alan R. Kay, Clarinet
David Jolley, Horn
Frank Morelli, Bassoon
"Windscape was formed in 1994 by five renowned first chair woodwind soloists... The transcriptions by the members of Windscape stay loyal to the essence of Ravel’s instrumentation and orchestration of his work. The pieces chosen are lovingly and expertly performed whilst adding a new dimension in trademark Windscape style... The sound and the performances are all exemplary. The album’s major achievement is that Windscape, in true innovative style, capture the essence of the original despite being performed by the smaller ensemble."
Jeff Perkins, Blogcritics - January 2009
"Ravel never wrote a wind quintet, but I can't think of many other composers whose music for piano or orchestra translates so fittingly into such an ensemble. Six different arrangers were involved in adapting the Ravel works in this program, but they all sound as though the composer himself either wrote originally for this instrumentation or did the work himself."
Audiophile Audition - November 2006
"...Windscape presents a collection of transcriptions that are on par with Ravel's own [of his piano works]. Morelli's transcription of [Valses nobles et sentimentales] is true to the music...This transcription is a substantial contribution to the woodwind quintet repertoire...Windscape is one of the most talented quintets of today. Their contributions to the literature are sure not to be lost, and their performance ability is sure to be not soon imitated. This collection...is a priceless gem."
American Record Guide - March/April 2006
"This unusual MSR disc presents familiar Ravel fare in a different guise: all the works are in transcriptions for wind quintet. The readings [are] tastefully arranged extremely well-played...and exceedingly well-recorded. These transcriptions surely add a fresh dimension to familiar fare... I enjoyed hearing them."
Fanfare - November/December 2005
"Recordings of Gallic music don't get any more charming than this. The members are in top form...The blend and interplay of the instruments is...commendable"
Atlanta Audio Society - October 2005
PROGRAM NOTESIn the course of an article written in 1913, Maurice Ravel discussed Gabriel Faure’s Dolly, a suite for piano four hands, which had been orchestrated by Henri Rabaud and presented as a ballet at the Theatre des Arts in Paris. Every musical work may be transcribed, Ravel wrote, "on condition that good taste presides. Certain composers, myself included," he added with tongue in cheek, "have devoted themselves to profaning their own music." Indeed, Ravel spent a great deal of time re-modeling his music, as well as that of others, among them Chabrier, Debussy, and Mussorgsky. Almost half of his 60 compositions were reshaped in one manner or another. A substantial number of piano pieces and keyboard accompaniments were orchestrated, and several works found on this disc - Valses nobles et sentimentales, Le tombeau de Couperin, and Ma Mère l’Oye - were both orchestrated and later mounted as ballets. It would appear that once a composition was perfected, Ravel attempted to draw out every ounce of it inherent possibilities. In the course of a whirlwind tour of North America in 1928, he commented on American orchestras in an interview with Olin Downes, the chief music critic at the time of The New York Times:
"Your orchestras are the best anywhere. This is because of their international membership, and the standards of individual excellence demanded of the players. Your brass choirs have the depth and richness of tone that ours lack, because of the prevailing superiority of the instruments themselves and the fact that most of the players of these instruments are Germans. Your woodwind choirs, in a majority, are predominantly French, and the French woodwind players are the best in the world."
Although Ravel never composed a wind quintet, he undoubtedly would have approved of the pioneering transcriptions found on this disc, which add a fresh dimension to his familiar compositions.
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Created in 1994 by five eminent woodwind soloists, Windscape has won a unique place for itself as a vibrant, ever-evolving group of musical individualists, an "unquintet" which has delighted audiences throughout the US, Canada, and Asia. Windscape's innovative programs and accompanying presentations are created to take listeners on a musical and historical world tour - evoking through music and engaging commentary vivid cultural landscapes of distant times and places.
As Artists-in-Residence at the Manhattan School of Music, the members of Windscape are master teachers, imparting not only the secrets of instrumental virtuosity, but also presenting a distinctive concert series, hailed for its creative energy and musical curiosity. The series offers the perfect setting for the ensemble to devise new and sometimes startling programs, and experiment with new arrangements and repertoire combinations. Popular programs which have emerged from this process in recent seasons include "The Roaring 20's", "The Fabulous 50’s", "The Young Titan: Beethoven Comes to Vienna", and "East Meets West: The Music of Japan and the Impressionists".
The 2004-05 season included performances at Carnegie Hall with the New York String Orchestra, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in San Francisco. Previous seasons have included performances at the Caramoor Festival, where they have appeared twice, as well as recitals in Madison, WI, Charlottesville, VA and Reno, NV, and other cities around the United States. Recent highlights include their Kennedy Center debut, tapings for NPR's "Performance Today" and Minnesota Public Radio's "St. Paul Sunday", performance "Live From Glenn Gould Studio" for CBC-Toronto, and a tour of New Zealand. Windscape has given concerts and master classes in Boston, New York, San Francisco, College Park, Des Moines and Omaha, among others. Esteemed chamber musicians with whom they have collaborated include Eugene Istomin, Andre Michel Schub, Jon Kimura Parker, Jeremy Denk, and Anne-Marie McDermott.
PROGRAMVALSES NOBLES ET SENTIMENTALES
LA FLUTE ENCHANTEE from Sheherazade
LE TOMBEAU DE COUPERIN
PIECE EN FORME DE HABANERA
MA MERE L'OYE
Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant
Laideronnette, Imperatrice des pagodes
Les Entretiens de la Belle et de la Bete
La Jardin feerique