November 2006

Slowind Quintet – Slow Wind Returns
presented by New Music Concerts
November 5, 2006 The Music GalleryToronto
Composed Music and the Composed Musician
by David Fujino

On this peaceful Sunday night, a programme of superior 20th and 21st century compositions received wonderfully creative and intelligent interpretations from the masterful Slowind Quintet.

The composition by the Slovenian composer, Lojze Lebic — Dogodki II (Events II) — started with the five Slowind musicians making high and piping, seemingly random and bird-like sounds in the gallery's entrance way. Their high twittering bird songs soon filled the room and made it a cosmopolitan and vibrant space. Then as they executed a jagged walk past us and one by one took their seats in the stage area we watched them continue to blow away. We were part of a fresh creative event in which the audience became instant witness to the making of the music.

In Jurg Wyttenbach's Serenade vor Luftschlossern (Serenade before Castles in the Clouds) everything was theatrical, from the flute player backlit and projected big like a shadow puppet onto the white framed scrim, to the players changing stations on the stage and playing the music they found in front of them. Throughout, rain chimes shimmered.

This piece by Wyttenbach aimed to display the individual and distinctive sounds of the five wind players who freely play, walk about, argue, discuss, combat, and confront each other through their instruments. Instruments periodically wail and coughs and breath exhalations from the musicians themselves punctuate the auditory performance space in which there's a couple of blue balloons, a female mannequin head beside a glass filled with (presumably) white Slovenian wine, and from the top of the framed scrim, a blowing stream of bubbles...

The musicianship was deep and top drawer. The oboe playing of Matej Sarc was directly expressive and focused and leader-like. Metod Tomae's horn was expressive with its range of clarion and gurgling sounds. Paolo Calligaris' free and virtuoso bassoon playing is both of this world and at times out of this world. And Ales Kacjan's flute, and Jurij Jenko's clarinet, must definitely be cited for their radiant contributions to the astonishing sound atmospheres in Gyorgi Ligeti's 10 Pieces for Wind Quintet.

The above-mentioned musicians are true creative players in the 'New Music' world.

I say true creative players because, first of all, the Slowind Quintet was commendably relaxed, with no straining for effects. They were international about it all.

Also, Slowind is clearly interested in new sounds that have broad imaginative possibilities, such as those found in flutist Robert Aitken's composition Folia and its startling in-and-out-of-focus impressions of the random colours of trees in a natural landscape.

The Slowind Quintet speaks freely through their instruments and the compositions they play and this above all makes them true creative players.

Global creative players.

Slow Wind Returns

Lojze Lebic (Slovenia 1934) — Dogodki II (Events II), 2002
Gyorgy Ligeti (Hungary/Austria 1923-2006) — 10 Pieces for Wind Quintet, 1968
Robert Aitken (Canada 1939) — Folia, 1980
Vinko Globokar (France 1934) — Avgustin, dober je vin (Augustin, Good is the Wine), 2002


Jurg Wyttenbach (Switzerland 1935) — Serenade vor Luftschlossern (Serenade Before Castles in the Clouds), 2003/2005/2006

Ales Kacjan — flute
Matej Sarc — oboe
Jurij Jenko — clarinet
Metod Tomae — horn
Paolo Calligaris — bassoon

We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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