The end of the 19th century was an exciting era of musical development and innovation. Composers and performers were expanding their artistic boundaries to create new musical forms and more vivid expressions. It was a particularly significant turning point for woodwind players because the technical improvements to their instruments made it possible to perform with greater virtuosity and enhanced tone. Composers were freed from the former demands of nobleman s patronage and restrictions of the church and began to write serious chamber music for wind ensembles, using each instrument as a fully integrated voice. The French were bold leaders in the transformation of wind playing, especially the Paris Conservatory, which encouraged new solo compositions and prizes for wind instruments. Organizations such as the Société de Musique de Chambre pour Instruments à Vent were formed to encourage this new repertoire and to showcase the virtuosity of the best players. The freshness and inspiration of this era still shines through the music, making it popular with audiences and a mainstay of our repertoire. The works on this disc encompass both the serious and the lighthearted styles of the French salon music and provide a satisfying combination of color, warmth and style.
The Borealis Wind Quintet, nominated for a 2006 Grammy Award in the Chamber Music Category, is acclaimed as one of America s preeminent chamber ensembles. The highest musical integrity, irresistible energy and five-fold charisma distinguish Borealis in the chamber music field. Audiences love their exquisite programming that includes the finest of the classics, engaging commissioned works, opera arias and works for piano and winds.
[The Borealis Wind Quintet's] sensitive collaborations have a sophisticated and cosmopolitan air. --The Washington Post
[The Borealis Wind Quintet gave] a polished, elegantly turned performance... each work received lively, expert and musicianly treatment by this skilled and exceptionally talented chamber group. --Peter G. Davies, The New York Times
[The Borealis Wind Quintet] demonstrated the sort of rapport that characterizes the very best chamber playing. --The Philadelphia Inquirer