Incisive, confident and well-tuned

Incisive, confident and well-tuned

BBC Music Magazine, Anthony Burton

The Galliard Ensemble, a wind quintet formed in 1993 whilst its members were studying at the Royal Academy of Music, makes a very favourable impression on its recording debut. Its programme includes three pieces by Paul Patterson, an Academy professor for many years: the well-known, witty Comedy for Winds, a student quintet of some abrasiveness, but already showing Patterson’s characteristic gift for direct communications; and Westerly Winds, a recent lightweight suite based on four West Country folksongs (or to be precise on three folksongs and Vaughan Williams’s ‘Linden Lea’). These are complemented by Holst’s 1903 Wind Quintet, a fluent and tuneful if rather anonymous piece from what his daughter Imogen called his ‘long and painful’ apprenticeship, and two winning works from the Ensemble’s enterprising composers’ competitions: James Olsen’s Imbroglio, written when he was still at school, a well-constructed, well-written narrative showing great promise; and the arresting Autumn Wind by the Portuguese composer Luis Tinoco.

The Ensemble’s playing is incisive, confident and well-tuned even in extreme registers;

…the recording preserves an excellent balance between the instruments, though the bright acoustic militates against subtlety at the quiet end of the spectrum.