If the string quartet can claim Haydn as its father, the wind quintet has two – Anton Rejcha and the slightly younger Franz Danzi (1763-1826). Between them they provided this new combination with a large repertoire (Rejcha alone composed no less than 24 quintets) and set the mould for composers to come. Thereby they also came to contribute significantly to the development of a new type of wind playing without which the classical/romantic symphony orchestra sound would be unimaginable. Danzi trained as a cellist and composer – by his contemporaries he was held in high regard for his successful operas, instrumental concertos and sacred works – but it was probably his experiences as a conductor, chiefly at the Karlsruhe court theatre, which formed the basis of his fine understanding of wind instruments and of ensemble playing. This was recognised at the original release of these discs, when the Gramophone's reviewer wrote that the music 'has great charm and polish, enhanced by the persuasive craftsmanship of its scoring.' But even more than the music – described in Fanfare as pieces which 'could turn Mozart-lovers into lovers of Mozart-loving Danzi' – it was the performances by the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet and (in the three piano quintets) Love Derwinger that moved the reviewers to use superlatives. The French magazine Repértoire claimed that the interpretations were 'luminous: alternately flowing and spirited, dreamy and boisterous; of an exhilarating virtuosity, tinged with poetry and in full gala dress.' Here, then, is a great opportunity to discover the birth of a genre in the best possible company!
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