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Piano and Wind Quintet

Ludwig Thuille and Richard Strauss met as young music students at the ages of 16 and 11 respectively, and remained lifelong friends until Thuille’s death in 1907. Largely forgotten, his sextet for winds and piano is a masterpiece of the romantic era, playing to the wind instruments lyrical abilities. Haydn’s exquisite miniatures were written for the new mechanical clock at the Esterhazy’s palace. Iain Farrington’s arrangement for Orsino of Rachmaninov’s brilliant second suite for two pianos brings to the fore the vocal lyricism of the Romance, with pianist and wind ensemble pushed to the limits of their virtuosity in the notorious Tarantella.

Strauss – Till Eulenspiegel 15”
Thuille – Sextet 25”
Haydn – Music for a Mechanical Clock 12”
Rachmaninov – Suite no.2 20”

The haunting beauty of André Caplet’s early quintet make his demise following injuries from gas in the trenches during World War One all the more devastating. Each movement of Ravel’s 1914-17 Tombeau de Couperin was dedicated to different friends whose lives had been taken during the war.

This Chronological programme of French music takes us from the 19th century decadence of Saint-Säens’ fabulous Caprice, written for the Parisian wind virtuosi of the day, and finishes with Poulenc’s sextet, an interwar work that encapsulates the energy and confidence of the twentieth century.

Saint Saens – Caprice Sur Des Airs Danois et Russes 10”
Caplet – Quintet for Piano and Winds 25”
Ravel – Tombeau de Couperin 15”
Poulenc – Sextet 20″

Schubert wrote this dark set of variations on his own song from the cycle “die Schöne Müllerin. The second of Oliver Knussen’s Three Fantasies is a realisation of his own “Cloud-piece’ from his “Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh”, with the outer two fantasies based on this melody. Judith Weir imagines the remaining skeleton of Scottish melodies passed down through generations of a group of prospective Mars colonists marooned on a Hebridean Island.

Schubert – Variations on ‘Trockne Blumen’ 20”
Knussen – Three Little Fantasies 7”
Weir – Airs from Another Planet 12”
Mozart – Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat k.452 25”
(as an alternative to the Mozart Quintet, Beethoven’s op.16 Quintet in E flat for the same combination of instruments can also be performed)