Wind Quintet No.1

Composer: Endre Szervánszky (b. 1911 - d. 1977)
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Composer: Endre Szervánszky (b. 1911 - d. 1977)

Performance date: 01/07/2019

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 1953

Duration: 00:18:54

Recording Engineer: Ciaran Cullen, RTÉ

Instrumentation: fl, ob, cl, bn, hn

Instrumentation Category:Wind Quintet

Artists: Azahar Wind Quintet (Frederic Sanchez Muñoz [flute], María Alba Carmona Tobella [oboe], Miguel Ramos Salvadó [clarinet], Antonio Lageres Abeal [horn], María José García Zamora [bassoon]) - [wind quintet]

Wind Quintet No.1 [1953]

Adagio – Allegro moderato

Allegro scherzoso – Trio – Meno mosso


Allegro vivace

Endre Szervánszky is not a name that would be familiar to many of us. He was one of a generation of composers who grew up in the shadow of Bartók and Kodály. He reached maturity during the war and afterwards had to live with the infamous aesthetics of Socialist Realism. In Hungary, he is now regarded as the doyen of their post-war composers. He was one of the first composers after the 1956 revolution to risk writing a twelve-tone work, but this immensely appealing quintet uses folk-inspired melodies and harmonies to evoke a specifically Hungarian landscape. Before the Second World War the violin had reigned supreme both in concert and folk music so it took the foundation in 1947 of the Budapest Wind Quintet to inspire Hungarian composers such as Szervánszky to write for the new ensemble.

The Quintet opens with a deliciously lugubrious slow introduction that ascends through the lowest registers of the ensemble until the oboe takes over with the spirited main theme, later taken up by the flute and clarinet. This melody is characterised by a short accentuated note followed by a longer one, a rhythmic device idiomatic to the accented first syllable in the spoken language. Secondary themes intervene including a fanfare-like tutti that reappears to close the movement in style.

The brief but flamboyant Scherzo flies by enclosing on its way a stately Trio. The expressive and lyrical Andante begins quietly but gradually builds to a wonderful peroration in the high register of the clarinet before sinking to a quiet close. The finale is a virtuoso exercise in a series of headlong traditional dances with driving rhythms and a flurry of catchy melodies.

Francis Humphrys