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Arundos Quintett - album "Saga" - CD Review, 16th of April 2024

Claude Debussy - Petite Suite, in arrangement for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon; Carl Nielsen - Quintet op. 43.

With its second album entitled Saga, the Arundos Quintet presents four diverse sonic tableaux designed to stimulate the listener's imagination: Claude Debussy's colourful Mica Suite with neo-baroque overtones, the Op. 43 Quintet in which composer Carl Nielsen evokes the diversity of human character and the beauty of nature, a contemporary work by Lalo Schifrin in the New Orleans style, and a piece created especially for this album by North American composer Kevin Beavers. Romantic, modern and contemporary scores in a convincing interpretation - from the Arundos wind quintet, an ensemble that is always seeking to broaden its musical horizons and to approach in an informed and knowledgeable manner a variety of programmes from different eras, in a permanent dialogue with its audience; the ensemble also proposes new recordings and new types of repertoire with successful collaborations with contemporary composers.

The Arundos quintet consists of flutist Anna Saha, oboist Yoshihiko Shimo, Christine Stemmler - clarinet, Lisa Rogers - horn and bassoonist Yuka Maehrle. The North Rhine-based ensemble was founded in 2013 at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, and in the following years won major prizes in the chamber music competitions "Antón García Abril" and "Castilla y León", as well as a scholarship from the Werner Richard - Dr. Carl Dörken Foundation. The Arundos quintet has been applauded on impressive stages such as the Cologne Philharmonic, the WDR Funkhaus in Cologne and the Beethoven House in Bonn, and has toured in Spain, Italy, Denmark and Belgium.

In 2022, the ensemble released its debut album supported by the Kunststiftung Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia and received positive reviews from German publications. And on 10 April 2024 the band's second album - Saga - was released, recorded in July 2023 at the Immanuelskirche in Wuppertal and released by the German label Audite.

The most substantial work on this CD is the Quintet op. 43 composed in Gothenburg in 1922 by Carl Nielsen, an emblematic piece in the chamber repertoire dedicated to wind instruments. Combining elements of early modern styles with aspects of neoclassicism, the piece begins with an Allegro in sonata form, continues with a rustic Menuet, and the last part opens with a short Prelude followed by a theme with variations, sound sequences cleverly chained together by the Danish composer Carl Nielsen and rendered in a graceful and balanced performance by the Arundos Quintet.

Larisa Clempuș