Classical home listening: a dream wind ensemble and the female muse

The Orsino Ensemble and Pavel Kolesnikov sparkle their way through the belle époque. Plus, an inspired recital from pianist Antonio Oyarzabal

• Chamber music for wind tends to be overshadowed by that for strings (guilty as charged), but here’s a disc that beguiles and dazzles in every bar. Belle Époque: French Music for Wind (Chandos) features the Orsino Ensemble – formed in 2018, this is their debut album – and the pianist Pavel Kolesnikov. The chosen works, from around the turn of the last century, are for different combinations of instruments. Clarinettist Matthew Hunt and Kolesnikov revel in the voluptuous wit of Debussy’s Petite Pièce and Première Rhapsodie.

Watch the Orsino Ensemble performing Roussel’s Divertissement, Op 6.

The pure-toned elegance of Alec Frank-Gemmill’s horn playing is on display in Saint-Saëns’s Romance, Op 36. Flautist Adam Walker, director of Orsino, is a winning soloist in Chaminade’s Concertino, Op 107, and in Debussy’s Syrinx: ever virtuosic and sensuous. With Amy Harman (bassoon) and Nicholas Daniel (oboe) adding glory to ensemble works by Roussel and Caplet, this is all-star playing of the highest level.

• Where better to start than Mount Parnassus, home of the nine muses of Greek mythology? In La muse oubliée (IBS Classical), the Spanish-born, UK-based pianist Antonio Oyarzabal challenges the assumption that the female muse is an inspirer rather than creator – brave man. His “Forgotten Muse” explores the music of 13 female composers, from the 17th to 20th centuries. The result is a musically intriguing and beautifully balanced recital, from the familiar – Clara Schumann, Ethel Smyth, Lili Boulanger and Fanny Mendelssohn – to the unknown.

Antonio Oyarzabal.
Antonio Oyarzabal. Photograph: Romain Thiery

The baroque composer Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665-1729), a harpsichordist who played at the court of Louis XIV, is represented by keyboard miniatures. Preludes by Lūcija Garūta (1902-77) and Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915-40) both leave you wanting to hear more. Oyarzabal has dedicated the album – the result of long research and hard listening – to his mother. She should be proud.

• In Of a Spring Evening, Opera North’s first Whitehall Road Session of the month celebrates the music of Lili Boulanger, Alice Zawadzki and Louise Farrenc, livestreamed from the company’s Leeds rehearsal studio and available on demand.

Watch Opera North’s Of a Spring Evening

Contributor

Fiona Maddocks

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Classical home listening: Nino Rota, Philip Glass and Stravinsky
An all-star recording or Rota’s chamber music is a revelation

Fiona Maddocks

17, Jul, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
Classical home listening: Penderecki, Fauré and more
The late Polish composer’s chamber music is a treasure trove for the Tippett Quartet

Fiona Maddocks

10, Jul, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
Classical music: let the Berlin Phil come to you
With concert halls and opera houses closed, we sample the stay-at-home alternatives from Budapest to Dar es Salaam

Nicholas Kenyon

21, Mar, 2020 @12:00 PM

Article image
Classical home listening: Jamie Barton sings Jake Heggie
The American mezzo-soprano and composer join forces to powerful effect

Fiona Maddocks

29, Aug, 2020 @11:00 AM

Article image
Classical home listening: Hope Amid Tears; Taliesin’s Songbook
Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax give us tender Beethoven cello sonatas to treasure, and Ty Cerdd brings together Welsh songs old and new

Fiona Maddocks

12, Jun, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
Classical home listening: Vaughan Williams, Paganini and Ysaÿe
The LSO and Pappano fire on all cylinders in RVW’s Symphonies 4 and 6. And Alina Ibragimova’s Paganini Caprices astound

Fiona Maddocks

24, Apr, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
Classical home listening: Rodelinda, Miloš and more
Lucy Crowe and Iestyn Davies lead the English Concert’s first-rate recording of Handel’s 1725 opera

Fiona Maddocks

15, May, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
Classical home listening: Bruch, Prokofiev and Schumann
The Nash Ensemble are the ideal advocates for Bruch’s chamber music; and violist Timothy Ridout takes on an entire ballet and song cycle

Fiona Maddocks

14, Aug, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
Classical home listening: Rachmaninov comes full circle; and an ear-bending piano recital
The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin shine in the composer’s first symphony. Plus, ear-bending variations from Clare Hammond

Fiona Maddocks

27, Feb, 2021 @12:00 PM

Article image
Home listening: Iestyn Davies, Fretwork and the Hebrides Ensemble
There are no ifs about Davies and Fretwork’s pairing of Nyman and Purcell. And on the frontline with Nigel Osborne

Fiona Maddocks

17, Mar, 2019 @8:00 AM