Aspen Wind Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Aspen Wind Quartet




My fondness for small wind ensembles grew out of my first encounter with Mozart's Piano and Wind Quintet, which I heard on the sound track of a Jean-Luc Godard film. When the clarinet, Mozart's instrument of choice, issued forth its soulful ruminations, sometimes in unison with other winds, the effect was at once delectable and sublime. The first composition for the wind quintet--which comprises flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn--is believed to have been by Giovanni Cambini, who wrote in Paris around the time of Mozart. At first quintet compositions included mostly rearrangements of music for wind octets and string quartets; later, as this subgenre became popular, more and more original pieces were created. This recital by the esteemed Aspen Wind Quintet, whose members met at the Aspen Festival more than a decade ago and now teach there, illustrates the evolution of the quintet. Beethoven's E-flat Major Quintet, the oldest on the program, began its life as a wind octet and later was transcribed into a string quartet; its latest incarnation came about in the 1950s. Franz Danzi's entry, very much in the Beethovenian mold, is among the earliest pieces composed explicitly for a quintet. The more recent branches of the repertoire are represented by Joseph Jongen's Concerto for Woodwind Quintet (mid-1900s), Amy Beach's quirky teaser Pastorale (early 1900s), Liu Zhuang's folksy Moon Light Over Spring River (late 1970s), and Paquito D'Rivera's Aires Tropicales (1993), a fusion experiment tailor-made for the Aspen. Saturday, 8 PM, Unity Temple, 875 Lake, Oak Park; 708-445-8955. TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Christian Steiner.

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