Levine, as pianist.


Music for Piano and Winds.

I love this DVD for several reasons:

  • I love music for wind instruments.
  • When a piano is included, it is even better.
  • James Levine is a terrific musician, conductor, and pianist.

This DVD has two separate sections:

  • A formal concert of the Piano and Wind Quintets of Beethoven and Mozart.
  • And a documentary about “Ensemble Wien-Berlin”, which also features a great deal of fine music-making.

The four members of the Ensemble Wien – Berlin consists of Hansjörg Schellenberger, oboe; Günter Högner, horn; Karl Leister, clarinet; and Milan Turkovic, bassoon.

The DVD begins with the Beethoven Quintet for Piano and Winds, Op. 16. This piece is almost like a piano concerto with wind accompaniment; the composition by Mozart, however, shows us music that is more shared among all five of the instruments. .

Equally enjoyable is the second part of the DVD, a documentary about the Ensemble Wien-Berlin wind quintet entitled ‘We have a lot of fun’.

The players are filmed in various settings in rehearsal, travel, recreational pursuits, with many interviews, and in a number of uninterrupted performances. One amazing performance in the second part is the Mozart ‘Adagio in F Minor and Fugue in F Major, K.594’.

The documentary makes it quite clear that group of players who are primarily principals in the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics is having a good time performing musical masterpieces.

After the premiere of the Mozart work, the composer wrote to his father that “I myself consider it to be the best thing I have written in my life.” It is scored for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon. There are three movements:

1. Largo – Allegro moderato
2. Larghetto
3. Allegretto

Here are some illustrations:

First, here are highlights from this DVD, as Ensemble Wien-Berlin Plays Beethoven & Mozart:



And next, here is the Mozart Quintet for Piano and Winds K. 452, as performed by
Kelly Diaz-oboe, Eric Louie-bassoon, Junghye Shin-piano, Austin Larson-horn, and Matthew Dykeman-clarinet:



Finally, here is the same Mozart quintet for Piano and Winds K.452, as performed beautifully by Marianna Shirinyan, Rachel Bullen, John Kruse, Etienne Boudreault, and Joke Wijma at the 13th Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival 2011:



Tags: James Levine, Ensemble Wien-Berlin, Beethoven, Mozart, Quintet for Piano and Winds