In a commendable change of pace, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra (DSO) opened its Chamber Concert Series with a a memorable evening of music for woodwinds.
The DSO Woodwind Quintet proved to be exciting and dynamic performers by offering a program that was both eclectic and entertaining.
Playing works that were stylistically distinct the five musicians in the group — Kimberly Reighley, flute; Lloyd Shorter, oboe; Charles Salinger, clarinet; Jon Gaarder, bassoon and Karen Schubert, horn — showed the diversity of the woodwind quintet despite the paucity of repertoire for it.
The ensemble warmed up with expertly crafted works by notable French flutist and teacher Claude-Paul Taffanel's Wind Quintet in G minor and his contemporary Charles Lefebvre's Suite for Winds No. 1, Op. 57. The latter is a standard of the wind quintet repertoire, demonstrating a superior understanding of how to orchestrate for these five instruments.
Taffanel’s Suite for Winds is thoroughly French and late Romantic in style with rapidly changing moods.
The most interesting piece in the concert was Paquito D’Rivera’s Aires Tropicales, written in 1994. This charmer of a piece contains a wealth of melodic traditions, playful inventions and enticing rhythms. Noteworthy movements included “Dizzyness,” a tribute to the late, great Dizzy Gillespie, Habanera, a trio for flute, clarinet and bassoon in the style of Ravel, Contradanza, an upbeat Cuban dance honoring Ernesto Lecuonar. Vals Venezolano, a lively Venezuelan waltz and Afro, an energetic dance over an African ostinato.
The evening of varied music concluded with a performance of Aria and Quodlibet for Woodwind Quintet by clarinetist Arne Running (1943-2016). The Aria contains a chorale in the low winds, the repetition of which features Shorter’s oboe singing high above the melodic line. The Quodlibet is sheer fun; a pastiche of tunes from virtually every corner of the musical world.