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The Rondo capriccio for violin and wind quintet is the meatiest piece on the album. Quite apart from the unusual scoring, Farkas uses his own version of serial technique, the result sounding nothing like Schoenberg or his camp followers though; it's dancey, rhythmically alive, Hungarian, edgy and interesting. A dramatic slow central section [listen -- track 25, 2:59-4:16] contains a dark melody of real heart and pathos. This deserves to be much better known, but probably won't be due to the far from standard scoring.

Finally, in the Lavottiana, Farkas rescues János Lavotta from 18th century obscurity by recreating the world of the Hungarian early Biedermeier period. A Hungarian-flavoured take on familiar 18th century styles, Kodályish elements are infused with the elegance of the period. Farkas keeps the orchestration interesting (and not always obvious), and the Phoebus Quintet rip through it all with great panache and high spirits.

Any wind quintet which doesn't take at least some of this music into its pad is selling itself badly short.

Toccata Classics maintains its production values: booklet in four languages (complete with song texts), good background on the composer from Martin Anderson and notes on the pieces by the man himself, biographies of the artists, sparkling recordings and high quality playing. You couldn't ask for more, and it just makes you realise that it's true what they say: forget the majors, it's the dedicated, music-driven indies who are doing the real work. Thank you all concerned, for giving me Ferenc Farkas.

Copyright © 4 October 2007 Paul Sarcich, London UK


Ferenc Farkas: Complete Wind Quintets

TOCC 0019 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 71'33" 2006 Toccata Classics

Phoebus Quintet: Christoph Bösch, flute; Barbara Zumthurn-Nünlist, oboe; Dimitri Ashkenazy, clarinet; Martin Roos, horn; Susan Landert, bassoon; with Dieter Lange, double-bass; Ulrike Schneider, mezzo soprano; Daniel Dodds, violin

Ferenc Farkas (1905-2000): Serenade for woodwind quartet (1951); Quattro Pezzi for double bass and woodwind quintet (1966); Gyümölcskosár (Fruit Basket) (1980); Antiche danze ungheresi del 17 secolo for woodwind quintet (1959); Rondo capriccio for violin and woodwind quintet (1966); Lavottiana for woodwind quintet (1967)



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