Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
With Charles Wadsworth, piano
January 26, 2001
Camille Saint-Saëns Caprice on Danish and Russian Airs, op. 79
Francis Poulenc Trio for Piano, Oboe, and Bassoon
Samuel Barber Summer Music, op. 31
Poulenc Elegy for Horn and Piano (1953)
Alexandre Zemlinsky Humoreske-Rondo for Wind Quintet
Poulenc Sextet for Piano and Winds
“Winds as Fresh as a Breeze; The Zephyros Quintet Makes a Big Impact in a Small Field”
The Washington Post, Washington, DC
January 29, 2001
by John Pitcher
You can probably count the number of truly popular wind quintets on the fingers of one hand. The reason, quite simply, is that this kind of ensemble lacks an established canon — a significant body of original works that can support and sustain high-profile careers.
That said, the Zephyros Quintet, which appeared with pianist Charles Wadsworth at the Barns of Wolf Trap on Friday, has in recent years attracted the kind of national — and even international — attention that seems almost unprecedented. How many wind quintets, or string quartets or piano trios for that matter, can boast of an Internet site filled with messages from adoring fans living as far afield as Maine, California and Southeast Asia?
Zephyros is a relatively youthful ensemble, and no doubt its vigorous and enthusiastic approach to music — and the lively banter with which it entertains an audience between numbers — has something to do with its popularity. More important, though, Zephyros is a virtuoso group. In Francis Poulenc’s Sextet for Piano and Winds, for instance, the players created a vast wall of brilliant sound that seemed almost orchestral in its power and intensity. And yet they never lost sight of the music’s inherent intimacy.
The high point of the concert came just before intermission, in a performance of Samuel Barber’s “Summer Music” for wind quintet. Barber marked the opening of his music “slow and indolent,” and that’s exactly how Zephyros played it. It was a remarkably expressive and languid account that clearly called to mind a cool breeze on a hot summer day.