In this recording we present two pieces of early romantic music, in which the clear lines and transparency of classical music begin to give way to an impressionistic soundscape of shifts and slides and a vexatious chromaticism that draws the listener to unexpected destinations: instrumental timbres were mixed in surprising combinations that created unfamiliar coloursand the clarinet, arguably the prince of the romantic wind ensemble, coloured everything in its realm with its haunting, shadowy and indefinable sound.
Spohr's nonet of 1813 is the first nonet written for this particular combination of instruments and making conscious use of the distinctive qualities and idiosyncrasies of each. For all its classical structural characteristics and the unity of expression that Spohr creates with his first pervasive theme, the nonet takes the listener on an unfamiliar journey as each new phrase introduces a different palette. Perhaps it is above all in his masterful mixing and revealing of all the colours of the musical rainbow that Spohr's originality and inspiration are strongly to be felt.
Onslow's nonet (recorded for the first time on historical instruments) is startling from the very first bar! The force and volume of his opening declamation, the virtuosity of the violin's first flourishes, and the enormous range in each of the parts give the piece a distinctly 'modern feeling'. By comparison with Spohr's nonet this piece is the child of a different 'Zeitgeist'.
The core ensemble of OSMOSIS consists of five musicians of international standing who share a love of early wind instruments and their repertoire. The quintet's focus is the early romantic period, a time of experimentation and rapid change in wind instrument construction during which the soundscape of the wind section was changing from one decade to the next, expanding in range and dynamic flexibility, increasingly rich in colours and contrasts of timbre. Repertoire for wind quintet alone as well as larger ensemble works with wind quintet as their core are the two paths which Osmosis walks on its musical journey. Osmosis has built a strong relationship with the Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet which similarly specialises in early romantic repertoire with strings and fortepiano as its core formation.
Kate Clark, flute and direction
Ofer Frenkel, oboe
Nicole Van Bruggen, clarinet
Helen McDougall, horn
Benny Aghassi, bassoon
Franc Polman, violin
Elisabet Smalt, viola
Jan Insinger, cello
Pieter Smithuijsen, double bass