Compiling a disc devoted to music for wind quintet can be no easy matter, but the Galliard Ensemble has done so with aplomb. The group is helped by the varied output for the medium written by Paul Patterson, whose three pieces cover his whole career--from the Bartókian rhythms and abrasive harmonies of his 1967 Quintet, through the Malcolm Arnold-like humour and inventiveness of Comedy for Five Winds (1972), to the entertainingly diverse Westerly Winds, written for the Galliards. The quintet meets the varied challenges of the works head on, and demonstrates a commitment to new music in two prizewinners from its Wind Quintet Composition Competition. James Olsen was only 16 when he wrote Imbroglio (1998), though you'd never > guess so from its engaging personality and formal ingenuity. Luis Tinoco's Autumn Wind (1997) is music of darker emotions and strong atmosphere--clearly a composer to listen out for. Then there's Holst's Wind Quintet--a delightful, witty piece which, like so much of his pre-Planets music, has only recently been revived. Superb sound, a model of clarity in this difficult-to-record medium, enhances a very desirable release. -Richard Whitehouse
The three quintets by Paul Patterson (b 1947) chart a fascinating stylistic course, from the lean astringency of the 1967 Wind Quintet (the product of a precocious 20-year-old student at the Royal Academy of Music), via the Arnoldesque, face-pulling antics of the Comedy for five winds from 1972, to the crowd-pleasing Westerly Winds (a 1998 transcription of his folksong-based Four Rustic Sketches for orchestra). Patterson writes with total confidence for the medium, and the performances are simply breathtaking in their co-ordination and tonal lustre.
Imbroglio (1998) by James Olsen (b 1982) is an uncommonly assured and thoroughly engaging essay from a precocious figure hailed by The Times as a ‘great British hope for the future’, while Autumn Wind (1997) by the Portuguese composer Luis Tinoco (b 1969) displays a similarly deft touch as well as a rather more progressive outlook (I was frequently reminded of Lutosyawski’s later music). Both works were respective prize-winners in the 1998 and 1999 Galliard Ensemble Composition Competitions.
The real oddity here, however, is Holst’s Wind Quintet in A flat of 1903, the manuscript of which only came to light in 1978. For all the enviable fluency and solid craft on show, there’s not the merest hint of the mature composer’s highly distinctive voice. Again, the performance is all one could wish for. In sum, an entertaining concert, beautifully engineered. - Gramophone