New Vienna Octet / Vienna Wind Soloists - Decca Recordings (Box) [Limited Edition] (Aus) | RECORD STORE DAY

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Postcards from Vienna: drawn largely from the supreme players of the Wiener Philharmoniker, collected here are the Decca recordings of Viennese chamber music ensembles, including the New Vienna Octet, Vienna Wind Soloists, Wiener Waldhornverein and Vienna Flute Trio, many making their first international appearance on CD. Led by clarinetist Alfred Boskovsky, the first line-up of the Vienna Octet made it's last recording for Decca in 1972, but Boskovsky was behind the revival of the group's name, having already chosen the young members of the Vienna Philharmonic who would carry on the work of the ensemble and it's traditions of superbly mellifluous, silver-toned playing. Boskovsky's successor in the clarinet chair of the new Octet was Peter Schmidl, who contributes unique recollections to the booklet essay (by Peter Quantrill). Like their predecessors, the members of the Octet enjoyed an exclusive contract with Decca, and they began recording in 1977 with the same two classics of the Classical repertoire which defined their sound and their musical approach, the Octet by Schubert and the Septet by Beethoven - the set affords the fascinating opportunity to compare these interpretations with their digital-era remakes from 1990. At the same time, Schmidl and his colleagues in the VPO wind section established a wind ensemble along similar lines - the Vienna Wind Soloists (Wiener Bläserensemble (Vienna Wind Soloists) - and their debut was much more adventurous, featuring works by Hindemith, Janácek and Ligeti which nevertheless glowed in the reflection of the distinctively transparent Vienna wind sound. The Wind Soloists went to DG in 1977 for a single recording, of the Wind Quintet by Schoenberg which Schmidl looks back on as a highlight of his career, but otherwise both ensembles found their natural home in the music of Mozart, making recordings of the Clarinet Trio and Quintet (Schmidl the soloist) and the three great wind serenades which have scarcely been rivalled on disc for instinctively flexible phrasing and sheer beauty of sound. The group's final sessions in 1992 included a pair of Beethoven rarities, the early Octet and Sextet, setting the seal on an often-underrated group of recordings which fully stand comparison with the more famous Vienna Octet recordings from the 50s and 60s.