Join acclaimed wind quintet Carion as they dance with the devil in their second Odradek CD: ‘Mephisto’. Carion have ventured beyond their usual repertoire to interpret colourful, contrasting and virtuosic pieces.
They explore the darker, mysterious side of Mozart in his Serenade for Winds in C minor; toy with the unique colours of the wind quintet in witty arrangements of Shostakovich’s stage and film music; explore mephistophelian connections in Bartók’s renderings of tunes from Transylvania; and pay tribute to the great virtuosos of the past, Paganini and Liszt, with two brand-new arrangements. Their playing captures the mystique of those original works whilst opening up new horizons for the wind quintet.
Legend has it that the bourgeoisie regularly fainted at concerts given by the great Niccolò Paganini; his apparently super-human technique prompted a long-held myth that he had sold his soul to the devil. Liszt first heard Paganini performing in Paris in 1832, and was transfixed by his jaw-dropping virtuosity and use of innovative aural devices. The influence of this experience on Liszt was profound, and his Grandes Études de Paganini, heard here arranged for wind quintet, were inspired by Paganini’s devilishly difficulty violin caprices.
Mozart’s Serenade for Winds, K388, is sometimes known as ‘Nacht Musique’ because of its enigmatic – and at times serene – nature. Mozart relished exploring the different textural permutations available to him with wind instruments, blending or accentuating their contrasting sonorities.
In Bartok’s Romanian Dances the composer uses his encyclopaedic knowledge of folk music to create a series of vivid, energetic movements, while Shostakovich’s film music and ballet scores represent a lighter side to a composer known for his searing symphonies and quartets. The ‘Romance’ from The Gadfly in particular is a rare instance of uncomplicated tenderness in Shostakovich’s music.
Carion’s debut album on Odradek, ‘Nielsen’s Footsteps’, has been widely critically acclaimed, the ensemble’s performance earning a five-star review from BBC Music Magazine. The CD was one of the top classical releases of 2015 on iTunes, and was hailed by ArtsDesk as “the best wind quintet disc in years” .