Carion given 5 Stars for their album “Nielsen’s Footsteps” by BBC Music Magazine! “The players, all secure in technique and beautiful in tone, combine with immaculate attack, balance and tuning, as well as a sense of shared purpose.” (Anthony Burton)
Quintets by Nielsen, Emborg, Shultz and Senstius
Carl Nielsen’s Wind Quintet of 1921-22, written shortly after the great Fifth Symphony, is a pillar of the wind chamber music repertoire and a treasurable example of the composer’s distinctive genius. The Danish-Latvian ensemble Carion does it full justice: the players, all secure in technique and beautiful in tone, combine with immaculate attack, balance and tuning, as well as a sense of shared purpose. This may owe something to their habitual way of working: they play from memory, standing up, and moving around to bring out the changing balance of the music, and even act out the interrelationship of the parts (such as the ‘quarrel’ between clarinet and bassoon in the variation finale). This approach is demonstrated, impressively, in the bonus DVD of the Nielsen. Unfortunately it isn’t so clear in the CD recording, made in a resonant church acoustic which presents al the instruments in larger-than-life close-up.
The rest of the CD consists of Danish quintets written under the influence of Nielsen’s masterpiece. Kai Senstius’s 1934 Quintet, written for the same Copenhagen group as the Nielsen, and Jens Embargo’s suite-like Quintet of 1931 are indeed almost slavishly imitative of the textures and gestures of their model, with little sign of individual creative personalities. But there’s a bit more to Svend Schultz’s lively, witty ‘little serenade’ Une Amourette of 1943. The performances of these minor pieces are enjoyable enough, but their chief effect is to rub in what a towering figure Nielsen was.
Performance - 5 Stars
BBC Music Magazine Anthony Burton