• Ludwig van Beethoven


    Scottish Chamber Orchestra Wind Soloists

    MUSIC FOR WINDS 1 cd CKD 572
    Linn Records

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Following its critically acclaimed debut, Mozart: Divertimenti , the SCO Wind Soloists continue to explore the Harmoniemusik repertoire of the eighteenth century. The new recording features youthful, entertaining and brilliant music by a young man who took Vienna by storm in the 1790s: Ludwig van Beethoven.

In the Sextet in E flat major, Beethoven exploits the differing characteristics of the pairs of clarinet, bassoon and horn to great effect with the SCO’s legendary interplay on full display. All four movements fall into established Viennese classical patterns, though with a characteristically sharper edge.

The underrated Octet in E flat major is a technically challenging concert piece in the Mozart tradition, but with the flair and unpredictability of the young Beethoven. Notable for its high-flying, virtuoso writing for the horns (arpeggios were something of a second horn visiting card) each instrument is given the opportunity to shine; the oboe takes the lead in the first three movements, partnering the bassoon in an operatic duet in the Andante; the ensemble colour changes abruptly when a virtuoso clarinet is unleashed to lead the finale.

Another gem is the short but sweet Rondino in E flat major, which is full of subtle details and exquisite melodies. The oboe writing is confident and the clarinet is taken boldly into the chalumeau register, but it’s defined by the exhilaratingly high-speed playing of the duetting horns who display a wonderful array of melting, floating and dying-away effects; the radical use of horn mutes expand the range of expression yet further.

"...the present collection remains a solid single-disc choice for these works."
Fanfare, 2 August 2018
"Performance 4* / Recording 4* - For a start, these pieces are so irresistibly tuneful, and then there's the humour - less suave, sometimes edgier than Mozart's, but at times winningly delicate."
BBC Music Magazine, August 2018
"In every way these are exemplary performances in clear, close, but warm sound of some of Beethoven’s lighter music, which warrant an enthusiastic recommendation from me."
MusicWeb International, 2 May 2018
"The Sextet, too, is marvellously done here – fluent, articulate and sensitively shaped, with delicious interleaving of phrases in the rambunctious finale."
Gramophone, May 2018
"5* - ...a showstopper, where the very stuff of theatre – its tensions and releases, its compelling narrative vitality and emotional nuances – is played out in scintillating musical terms."
The Scotsman, 20 March 2018
"...the line-up on this recording is particularly impressive..."
The Herald, 3 March 2018
"You couldn’t hope for more masterful, affable guides."
MusicWeb International, 1 March 2018
"4* - The wind soloists of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra make a lovely job of them and throw in a handful of pleasing miniatures to fill the disc."
Financial Times, 23 February 2018
"All the wit and character of all the individual players coming through but yet still at the service of the whole ensemble. Something close to a perfect balance of individuality and team spirit."
BBC Radio 3 'Record Review', 17 February 2018