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Excellent playing, well-balanced and full of character

Gramophone, Geoffrey Norris

None of the pieces here bears the title ‘Jeux d’été’ but there is a summery warmth running through the programme. The Galliard Ensemble begin with the G minor Wind Quintet by Paul Taffanel, the French flautist who did much to foster chamber music for wind instruments during the latter part of the 19th century. This is a piece typical of its type, with a Gallic perkiness and a fluent lyricism, all voiced with the panache of a seasoned performer-cum-composer and played here with the finesse and vitality that have become the Galliard’s hallmarks. Gabriel Pierné’s Pastorale, adapted from a solo piece for oboe, does exactly what it says on the tin, as does Eugène Bozza’s Flight of the Bumblebee-like Scherzo.

Some might find it hard to get over-excited by this repertoire but the Galliard’s excellent playing, well-balanced and full of character, gives it a boost of ebullience and elegance. The sequence of miniatures in Milhaud’s La cheminée du roi René, refracting certain stylistic norms of earlier French music through Milhaud’s own harmonic prism, is at once brilliantly conceived and immediate in its impact yet manages to pass through the listening process without leaving much in the way of any memorable trace. Jean Françaix’s Quintet No 1, a classic of the genre, is written with a terrific command of wind instruments’ potential in realms of technical polish, spectrum of colour and mix of timbres, to all of which the Galliard responds with élan.
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Performed with assurance and flair

BBC Music Magazine, Anthony Burton

These will become reference performances

O Publico, Teresa Cascudo

Excellent performances, highly characterful, firmly shaped and dramatic

New York Times, Paul Griffiths

They have technique, style and high spirits in spades

Time Out, Martin Hoyle

Immaculate performances … a pure delight … unreservedly recommended

MusicWeb International, Hubert Culot

Demands that were easily met

The Times

A young ensemble of considerable merit

Gramophone, Arnold Whittall

Superb sound

Richard Whitehouse

Excellently played

BBC Music Magazine, Nicholas Williams

One of the highlights

Paul Conway, The Independent

Stunning music and extraordinary playing

 

The Observer, Edward Bhesania

Well performed

The Sunday Times, Paul Driver

The performances are simply breath-taking

Gramophone, Andrew Achenbach

Endlessly fascinating

The Guardian, Andrew Clements

Incisive, confident and well-tuned

BBC Music Magazine, Anthony Burton

Excellent ensemble playing and vivid recording.

Classical Music on the Web UK, Peter Grahame Woolf

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Like angels sent from heaven

Paul Patterson

Beautiful, delicate and fluent playing

Aberdeen Press and Journal, Alan Cooper

A highly talented wind quintet

West Somerset Free Press, Trevor L Sharpe

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Immaculately prepared

Seen & Heard, Peter Graham Woolf

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19/09/2020