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The Philadelphia Woodwind Quintet

Philadelphia Woodwind Quintet - The Complete Columbia Album Collection

The Philadelphia Woodwind Quintet; founded in 1950; comprised the principal woodwinds and French horn of The Philadelphia Orchestra. They made their recording debut for Columbia in 1953: four players from the ensemble were joined by pianist Rudolf Serkin in the Beethoven and Mozart Quintets in E-flat. Serkin; a frequent soloist with the orchestra; had been so taken by the artistry and tonal colors of its first-chair winds that he approached them about making a record together. So began the group’s history at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in Manhattan. It would span 15 years; during which the ensemble naturally focused on the many outstanding works scored for standard woodwind quintet. But guest performers often joined them on recordings as well as in concerts; extending their repertoire to include not only composers of their own time; but even music outside the classical sphere written by the legendary jazz trumpeter Ornette Coleman. Reviewing the original LP releases; High Fidelity wrote that “one is very conscious of the superb skill with which each player shapes his own melodic line. Yet the ensemble is the thing; and the Philadelphians provide ensemble playing of the highest order. The players seem to breathe as one; the music ebbs and flows with a perfect sense of unanimity. The sound is excellent.” The Philadelphia Woodwind Quintet released their last recording in 1968; and by early in the next decade their albums had practically vanished from record-store shelves. Owing to the legendary reputation of the Philadelphia wind section; many of the albums included in this set have acquired almost mythical status. The vast majority of the ensemble’s recordings; 8 out of 12 CDs; are presented in this collection for the first time in digital format mastered from the original analogue master tapes.