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Les Vents Francais, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Daniel Giglberger

The members of Les Vents Français, which has been described as “the wind-quintet equivalent of a supergroup” join the Munich Chamber Orchestra and conductor Daniel Giglberger in five examples of the sinfonia concertante. The form flourished in the decades around 1800, particularly in Paris and Mannheim, and the works here are by Parisian luminaries Pleyel and Devienne, Mannheim resident Danzi, and a genius who visited Paris and took inspiration from the music of Mannheim: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.


Hands up who’s heard of a concertante? Most people would know the format of a concerto – a soloist and an orchestra. But a concertante has not just one soloist, but two, three or even more! The epically amazing and fantastic (I promise I’m not over doing the superlatives) Les Vents Français wind quintet has joined forces with the Munich Chamber Orchestra to bring to life this once popular form. During the later 1700s, a clear difference emerged between a ‘Sinfonia’ and a ‘Concerto’, so a new form was devised as a way of having numerous soloists.

Les Vents Français is made up of members of the Berlin Philharmonic and you’ll never hear these works performed by better musicians. They’ve chosen five concertantes to perform, two by Danzi (who wrote amazing wind quintets as well), one by Devienne (who’s always delightful), a Pleyel and a (disputed) Mozart. Each composition has a different arrangement of solo instruments, which gave each composer, and gives each musician, a chance to explore the different parameters of their sound and style. This is a truly delightful recording that has definitely earned its place on my shelf.

Kate Rockstrom is a friend of Readings.

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