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Review: Atlanta Chamber Winds’ Music From Paris

August 5, 2009

Review of Music From Paris (Albany Records) by the Atlanta Chamber Winds

Music From Paris is nothing short of afresh and clean new release of less than common French neo-classical wind music.  Granted, the category of “new albums of less than common French neo-classical wind music” isn’t terribly large, but its good music performed even better.  Its a great album for a sticky warm summer day – energetic but not heavy. 

The composers: Claude Pascal, Claude Arrieu, Jules Mouquet, Francois Casesus, Gabriel Pierne, and Francis Chagrin all called Paris home , many becoming distinguished professors at the Paris Conservatory, and wrote in a very appealing style of neo-classical music.  All of these works are perfectly matched to the demeanor of their ensembles: a complement of wood winds (and a few brass players).  Many of the composers also worked in other mediums popular in the day: stage, film, and radio, but all of the works on the album are concert pieces.  The album has a flow to it that sometimes isn’t even matched by hearing an album of a single composer.

The Atlanta Chamber Winds play without an ego that they certainly would deserve.  The playing is incredibly intricate but is delivered effortlessly.  The cleanliness and blend on the record is really remarkable. 

Highlights of the album include: The fourth movement of Pascal’s Octuor pour Instruments a Vent, a movement set in perpetual motion that really rocks out, The middle, slow, movement of Mouquet’s Suite, all of Casadesus’ London Sketches, the fourth movement of Pierne’s Pastorale Variee dans le Style Ancien, and the movement entitled Nostalgie in the work Sept Petite Pieces pour 8 Instruments by Chagrin.

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