Review of Bucknell's Faculty Woodwind Quintet Performance

WW5-WEBposter.jpg

On Wednesday, I had the privilege of attending the premier performance of Bucknell's Faculty Woodwind Quintet at the Rooke Recital Hall. All members of the quintet are part of Bucknell's music faculty, including the music department chair, William Kenny. The quintet is comprised of 5 members on various woodwind instruments: William Kenny (horn), Leslie Cullen (flute), Karena McCarty (oboe), Colleen Hartung (clarinet) and Trina Gallup (bassoon). Each member of the quintet was indispensable to the group dynamic, and their instruments' unique timbres created a full, rich sound when played together. The flute and oboe carried much of the high register, and their pure voices could be heard floating above the rest. The clarinet and bassoon filled the hall with their husky sounds, and the warm notes of the horn washed over the group's collective sound. I had never heard a woodwind quintet before, but being a violinist I've heard and played in a number of string quartets. The group dynamic and blend is crucial to success in such a small ensemble, since the musicians must play without any outside conductor. The Bucknell Faculty Woodwind Quintet was impressive during their first performance in their group chemistry; as the program unfolded, their attention to one another and immersion in the music was clear to the audience.

The night's program encapsulated several time periods, showcasing music that ranged from the 17th century to a piece written in 2004. The first piece, Early Hungarian Dances from the 17th Century, was lighthearted and characteristic of the period. After these relatively fast dances, the program moved to Blaserquintette in B-Dur: op 56 ,No. 1 by Franz Danzi, from a slightly later time period. This piece reminded me much of Mozart's light, playful style. The first half of the performance ended with Aria by Arne Running, the most recently written piece from the program. This piece was my favorite, as it featured a cinematic chorale from the lower instruments, with solos from the flute and oboe.

After a pause in the program, we came back to Trois Pieces Breves by Jacques Ibert, who composed during the 20th century. Though these were just “3 short pieces”, Ibert composed extensive works, such as ballet, opera, and film scores. Next, we heard Three Shanties for Wind Quintet by Malcolm Arnold. This lively piece was based off well-known sailing shanties: The Drunken Sailor, Bonny was a warrior, and Johnny come down to Hilo. The ensemble seemed to have a lot of fun performing these together, and had tons of energy throughout. Lastly, they closed the night with American Folk Suite by Kazimierz Machala. This short suite contained several well-known american folk tunes, and was a great way to end. Overall, I was very impressed by the stylistic flexibility and group talent of Bucknell's Faculty Wind Quintet. I would highly recommend attending one of their future performances!

Program:

Early Hungarian Dances from the 17th Century – Farkas Ferenc

Blaserquintette in B-Dur - Allegro

Aria – Arne Running

Trois Pieces Breves -Jacques Ibert

3 Shanties for Woodwind Quintet – Malcolm Arnold

American Folk Suite – Kazimierz Machala