Klassik.com: Double 5 Stars July 2012.
This disc celebrates the centenary of Jean Françaix, (1912-1997), as well as his music, written with the stated aim to ‘give pleasure’. A precocious talent, praised by Ravel for his great gifts and curiosity, and astonishing Nadia Boulanger with his ability, Françaix wrote his first chamber work for winds, the Quartet, in 1933 at the age of 21, and completed his Quintet No.2 more than 50 years later – with a remarkably consistent style marked by lightness and wit. Françaix’ works are favourites not only with audiences but also with the musicians themselves, enjoying the challenges of his virtuosic writing, his fleet way with rhythms and timbres and the conversational character of the interplay between individual parts. The highly regarded Bergen Woodwind Quintet, consisting of solo players from the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, here perform four chamber works for winds which all share these characteristics – and they do so with obvious enjoyment. The versatile ensemble released its first disc on BIS in 1985, and has recorded chamber music by Carl Nielsen as well as by David Maslanka, to critical acclaim.