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Sextuor A Vent / Harvey Pittel, Westwood Quintet

Pittel,Harvey
Release Date: 05/11/2010 
Label:  Crystal   Catalog #: 353   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Darius MilhaudBernhard HeidenPaul HindemithPierre Max Dubois,   ... 
Performer:  Harvey PittelSunil Gadgil
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MILHAUD Scaramouche 1. HEIDEN Intrada 1. HINDEMITH Concert Piece 2. DUBOIS Sinfonia da Camera 1 & 1,2 Harvey Pittel (a sax); 2 Sunil Gadgil (a sax); Read more class="SUPER12">1 Westwood Wind Qnt CRYSTAL 353 (61:19)


& Music of J.S. BACH, ROSSINI, DE WAILLY, IBERT, BARTHE, ARNOLD, RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, 1 SOWERBY


“Sex tour?” my teenage son queried incredulously, misled as much by the vintage picture of the six wind instruments tucked into the double bed as by his misreading of the title.


“Sextuor,” I replied, “use your French.”


I guess it’s a piece of late-1970s marketing humor, but this reissue of one of Crystal’s best-selling LPs from 1978, Sextuor à Vent , is far from a joke. Harvey Pittel, classical saxophonist extraordinaire , gets top billing. A teacher of great renown, he has spent 40 years at the University of Texas, Austin, producing a stream of fine saxophone artists. These include Todd Yukumoto, whose debut CD was warmly received by Paul Ingram ( Fanfare 28:2), and Javier Oviedo, whose first CD I praised some issues ago (32:5). Sunil Gadgil, who accompanies his mentor in the one new recording included in this release, the Hindemith Concert Piece for Two Alto Saxophones , is not quite in the same league. Gadgil is pale of tone, and neither he nor (oddly) Pittel plays the piece with the energy or refinement needed. Interpretively this cannot stand up to Sugawa and Tse (also on Crystal), or especially White and Raschèr on BIS.


Elsewhere, though, Pittel’s smooth, sweet, focused French tone and warmly lyrical interpretive style are everything that one remembers. A chamber player in this release, his partners in the three other works named in the headnote—the original contents of the 1978 Sextuor LP—are the legendary (no hype here) Westwood Wind Quintet. They were the artists on Crystal’s first release in 1966 (more on that in a moment) and for more than 40 years a mainstay of the label founded by oboist Peter Christ. This CD joins 17 others in the current Crystal catalog, including 12 of their superlative Reicha series. The three wind sextet recordings help one quickly forget the unconvincing Hindemith. Milhaud’s deliciously sassy Scaramouche appears in an arrangement remarkably faithful to the original, and played with equal parts of high spirit and precision. The performance of Bernhard Heiden’s Hindemith-inspired Intrada is unmatched for poise, balance, and beauty of tone. Dubois’ delightful and otherwise-unavailable Sinfonia da Camera, a work that reminds one first of his teacher Milhaud and then of Stravinsky, is dashed off as if it presented no extraordinary technical and interpretive difficulties at all.


These are not the only rediscovered gems. As a makeweight, Crystal has added an 18-minute sampler of that very first release, including first movements from Ibert’s Trois Pièces Brèves; the Rossini Quartet No. 1 in F for flute, clarinet, horn, and bassoon; and the Arnold Divertimento for flute, oboe, and clarinet. Short works by Bach (a fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier ), De Wailly ( Aubade ), Barthe ( Passacaille ), Rimsky-Korsakov (a performance of the perennial Flight of the Bumblebee that will make you forget that you never wanted to hear it again), and Sowerby (the novelty encore Pop Goes the Weasel ) fill out the teaser. I hope this CD does so well that Crystal decides to give us the whole 1966 program, and any other Westwood recordings hidden away in the vault. The vividly recorded tracks from 1966 have only a few incidences of tape saturation to give away their age. The 1978 recordings come up very well indeed, sounding full and detailed. I know there have to be many, like me, who rejoice to have these available again on CD. Other sax and wind ensemble fans who don’t know these recordings are encouraged to rectify that situation as quickly as possible.


FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

1.
Scaramouche for Saxophone and Orchestra, Op. 165c by Darius Milhaud
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; France 
Date of Recording: 1978 
Length: 9 Minutes 39 Secs. 
2.
Intrada for saxophone & wind quintet by Bernhard Heiden
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 1978 
Length: 10 Minutes 49 Secs. 
3.
Konzertstück for 2 Alto Saxophones by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Sunil Gadgil (Saxophone), Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; Germany 
Date of Recording: 2010 
Length: 8 Minutes 15 Secs. 
4.
Sinfonia Da Camera by Pierre Max Dubois
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 1978 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
5.
Work(s): Quartet No. 1 in F. First movement by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 1966 
Length: 5 Minutes 17 Secs. 
6.
Aubade for flute, oboe & clarinet by Paul de Wailly
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Date of Recording: 1966 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
7.
Passacaille, for woodwind quintet by Adrien Barthe
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 1966 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
8.
Divertimento for Flute, Oboe and Clarinet, Op. 37: 1st movement by Malcolm Arnold
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Period: Modern 
Written: 1952 
Date of Recording: 1966 
Length: 1 Minutes 20 Secs. 
9.
Tale of Tsar Saltan: Suite, Op. 57 - Flight of the bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1966 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
10.
Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 and 2, BWV 846-893: Excerpt(s) by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722-1742; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1966 
Length: 1 Minutes 38 Secs. 
11.
Pièces brèves (3) for Wind Quintet: no 1 by Jacques Ibert
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Date of Recording: 1978 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
12.
Pop Goes the Weasel, for winds by Leo Sowerby
Performer:  Harvey Pittel ()
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
Date of Recording: 1966 
Length: 1 Minutes 42 Secs. 

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