Critical acclaim for their previous live performances of Nielsen: “Nielsen triumphs thanks to Sabine Meyer” (Tribune de Genéve), “The flautist Emmanuel Pahud joined Mr. Harding and company for a beautifully shaped and sometimes dramatic performance of the Nielsen Flute Concerto” (New York Times).
Nielsen’s wind quintet brings together not only the two soloists, but the rest of the ensemble here consisting of members of the Bläserensemble Sabine Meyer and the BPO.
The quintet is also the piece which binds the repertoire of the disc together: Nielsen was inspired to compose a wind quintet after hearing a performance by the Copenhagen Wind Quintet in 1921. Nielsen also intended to compose a concerto for each of the instruments of the wind quintet. However, at his death, he had completed only two; the flute and the clarinet concerto. The composer and musicologist Robert Simpson wrote: "It is more than arguable that his Wind Quintet is the subtlest and finest ever written, that the Flute Concerto is much the best there is, and that the Clarinet Concerto is the greatest since Mozart. Nielsen shows great imagination and ingenuity in conjuring a surprising variety of sonorities and blends from the wind quintet; few would suppose from this work that one of the chief difficulties of this combination is the fact that the five instruments do not blend."
The concertos are both gritty and experimental, with the solo instruments sometimes fighting the orchestra. They form an exciting contrast with the wind quintet with is softer and gentler in character.