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Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Sheffield-based Ensemble 360 - a flexible group of up to 11 players - have been drawing enthusiastic audiences with their informal and inventive concerts, often in offbeat venues. As this attractively planned debut CD confirms, their playing is fresh and lively, free from any whiff of bland routine.
The Sheffield-based Ensemble 360 - a flexible group of up to 11 players - have been drawing enthusiastic audiences with their informal and inventive concerts, often in offbeat venues. As this attractively planned debut CD confirms, their playing is fresh and lively, free from any whiff of bland routine. The Flute Quartet, offered as an aperitif, is blithe and impish in its outer movements, delicately, coolly wistful in
the Watteau-esque Adagio. In the miraculous Piano and Wind Quintet, Ensemble 360 phrase imaginatively, delight in their quick-witted repartee, and handle the ever-shifting balances with care and finesse. Brendel and friends (Philips, 9/91R) reveal more variety of colour and a more intense response to the music's rich harmonic palette in the Andante. But Ensemble 360 are marvellously vivid in the finale, here less gracious, more playful than usual, with the main theme's contrasts of forte and piano piquantly realised.
The unfinished Adagio, K580a, opening uncannily like the motet Ave verum corpus, was probably intended for clarinet and three basset-horns, though it sounds well enough in this (anonymous) completed version for cor anglais and strings. Best of all here is the Clarinet Quintet, performed by Matthew Hunt on the basset clarinet, with its treacly extra low notes displayed to pungent effect in, say, the Ländler-like second Trio of the Minuet. With its briskish speeds, this won't necessarily please those who like to have the Quintet's autumnal associations underlined. But the performance has a natural flow and grace allied to many sensitive touches of colour and timing. I specially relished the fire and tension of the first-movement development, the easy lilt of the Minuet (wittily embellished on its final repeat) and the finale's gleeful sense of fun, stilled in the haunting A minor variation, where the solo viola makes delicately expressive use of portamento. The rollicking send-off sets the seal on a touching and thoroughly delightful performance.
--Richard Wigmore, Gramophone [1/2007]
Works on This Recording
Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat major, K 452 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Tim Horton (Piano),
Tim Jackson (French Horn),
Adrian Wilson (Oboe),
Matthew Hunt (Clarinet),
Benjamin Hudson (Bassoon)
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria
Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A major, K 581 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Martin Saving (Viola),
Sara Bitlloch (Violin),
Matthew Hunt (Clarinet),
Marie Bitlloch (Cello),
Donald Grant (Violin)
Written: 1789; Vienna, Austria
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Excellent! January 2, 2012
By Benjamin F. (Valley City, ND) See All My Reviews
"This was my first disc of these Mozart works; so far it's been the essential recording for me. The selection of works is a great one, the performances of the first three pieces are very good, and the Clarinet Quintet is exceptional. You should definitely get this recording if you need a recording of the Clarinet Quintet, and even if you already have another performance, this is still a valuable addition to your collection."