Maurice Ravel is famed as a master of orchestral colour, in the context not only of his own work but that of others, most notably Mussorgsky's awkward but brilliant piano original of Pictures at an Exhibition, and yet he wrote almost no music for the orchestra in origin, but instead arranged pieces conceived at and for the piano; so why not follow his lead and transcribe his music for another palette of instrumental colours? This was the rationale of the young and already-acclaimed members of the Orlando Quintet, who commissioned Mark Popkin and Wayne Peterson to fit three works of diverse origin within Ravel's output to the compact ensemble of the wind quintet, and the results are, as we can hear on this new recording, consistently engaging, imparting a pungency that never breaks the line or occludes Ravel's melodic genius for a sad song, such as one finds in the second movement of the string quartet, in part at least because the wind ensemble preserves that vocal quality which can be heard even in Ravel's 'abstract' instrumental music, which yet reflects the culture and vibrant colours of his native Provence, and the melancholy temperament of a deeply reserved individual, with no less precision than the operas and ballets from his pen.
- Recorded December 2012.
- A sheer delight: arrangements for wind ensemble of three of Ravel’s masterpieces!
- Ravel himself was an avid arranger/transcriber of his own music, a master orchestrator, with an incredible ear for timbre and colour. A real treat therefore to listen to these excellent arrangements of the Sonatine (original piano solo), the string quartet and the popular suite from Ma mère l’oye (original piano 4 hands). The combination of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn offers a completely new spectrum of sounds and colours, without doing any injustice to the original: good music stands firm in any good arrangement!
- Superb performances by Dutch elite players, soloists and first desk players of the Amsterdam and Rotterdam orchestras.
- Booklet note introductions to the transcriptions and the music.
- Extensive and personal liner notes written by all members of the quintet.