Janáček: Mládi; Martinů: Sextet for piano and wind instruments; Veress: Sonatina for oboe, clarinet and bassoon; Poulenc: Sextet

Reviewed on Mon 11 Apr, 2016

Janáček’s Mládi (Youth) is droll and quicksilver, exuding a capriciousness that these players revel in. Scored for wind quintet plus bass clarinet, the flautist doubling on piccolo, Janáček’s colour chart and very active interweaving of ideas is vividly brought out.

The word “Woodwinds” shines silvery from the cover, a cue to this disc’s contents from members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Janáček’s Mládi (Youth) is droll and quicksilver, exuding a capriciousness that these players revel in. Scored for wind quintet plus bass clarinet, the flautist doubling on piccolo, Janáček’s colour chart and very active interweaving of ideas is vividly brought out. Martinů’s five-movement Sextet (the sixth instrument is a piano) is slyly French (it’s from this nomadic composer’s Paris period) and nods to Stravinsky. Much fluffy charm and some seriousness pervade this entertaining suite. Sándor Veress’s 1931 Sonatina (oboe, clarinet, bassoon) is likewise brief in its three movements, witty, acerbic and sadly lyrical. Francis Poulenc’s Sextet (scored similarly to the Martinů) is a grand piece that covers a lot of ground in its three movements, rumbustious to bittersweet, the composer adept at turning on a centime. Superb performances, superbly recorded.
–Colin Anderson