NIELSEN Carl, Wind Quintet

Nielsen composed his Wind Quintet in 1922 for the Copenhagen Wind Quintet, whose Mozart playing had inspired him. As well as this work, Nielsen planned to write concertos for each of the members of the group but only completed those for flute and clarinet. He wrote it during a three-month stay in Gothenburg, immediately after completing the Fifth Symphony. In a letter to a friend he wrote that ‘the externals are very modest, but the technicalities are for that reason all the more difficult’, and he told he wife that it he was ‘greatly amused’ by the challenge. In his is own programme note on the work, Nielsen wrote:

 

‘The quintet for winds is one of the composer’s latest works, in which he has attempted to render the characters of the various instruments. At one moment they are all talking at once, at another they are quite alone. The work consists of three movements: a) Allegro, b) Minuet and c) Prelude – Theme with Variations. The theme for these variations is the melody for one of Nielsen’s spiritual songs, which has here been made the basis of a set of variations, now merry and quirky, now elegiac and serious, ending with the theme in all its simplicity and very quietly expressed.’

 

Nigel Simeone

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