These two lovely discs remind seasoned collectors of the heyday of the London Wind Soloists who recorded prolifically in the 1960's for Decca. Testament has already issued recordings by this fabled ensemble of Mozart and Beethoven and these rather rare collections by J.C. Bach and Haydn are very welcome.
Bach's music is full of the pert momentum that is particular to the mid 18th century and the wind music is no exception. Each of the six sinfonias is in four movements with a variety of finales including a Rondeau, a Presto, a 'Cotillon' and the more traditional Allegro assai. Brymer and his ensemble are fastidious to the hilt, delivering performances sound of character and extremely precise in their execution. In short, this is a most desirable disc on many counts.
The Haydn Divertimenti are equally entertaining and joyful. I was greatly chuffed by most of them, especially the very beautiful #5 in D which has a finale just lasting 24 seconds! Here we have five movement works as the norm although #6 is in five whilst #8 is in just four movements. Again the crystal clear quality of the recordings and the lithe precision of the LWS make this disc an utter joy to listen to.
Testament provide fine biographical notes although they have recently taken to the habit of reproducing the same body of notes for identical artists with only a short note on the circumstances of the recording in question at the end. I do feel that it would be a better idea to spread the notes over two discs thus also guaranteeing purchases of the 'set' in question. However, with this minor gripe set aside, these excellent and landmark recordings are hugely welcome.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech