In this concert we have another master-student combination, as Pavel Haas studied with Janáček in the Twenties, around the time Janáček composed Mládí. Pavel Haas had the great misfortune to be still in Czechoslovakia when the Nazis took over, but his wind quintet dates from happier times, four short movements, a brief plaintive Prelude, a prayer misterioso e triste, a cheery Ballo eccentrico with a marcato rhythm held together by a hard-working bassoon and a final maestoso Epilogo leading to a triumphant conclusion.
Mládí was composed when Janáček was seventy, searching for eternal youth – and, indeed, finding it in this life-enhancing music. Mark Simpson joins the Ouranos to make up the sextet with the bass clarinet. Like Nielsen, Janáček allows each voice to display its natural peculiarities and strengths thus creating intriguing instrumental combinations.
Nielsen’s Quintet also dates from those magical Twenties, when everything seemed possible. It stands at the peak of the repertoire for wind quintet, one of the most beautiful scores for winds and featuring one of the most delightful minuets ever penned.
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