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Sonos 5 quintet offers impeccable musicianship

Views 29 | Time to read: 2 minutes | Uploaded: 3 - 27 - 2019 | By: Maya Rouillard


The wind quintet is a very different animal from the most familiar of chamber music ensembles, the string quartet. The latter consists of instruments that bear a close family resemblance in playing technique and sonority; the sound of a string quartet is generally homogenous for this reason, unless the players take great pains to differentiate themselves for expressive effect. The wind quintet is almost the exact opposite. The five instruments that make up the quintet are strange bedfellows, consisting of two that produce the sound through a double reed (oboe and bassoon), one that produces its sound with a single reed (clarinet), one that is a kind of elaborate whistle, with no reed at all (flute), and one that is not normally classified among the woodwinds, but is a brass instrument with a conical bore (horn). Historically when some or all of these five instruments appeared in an orchestral work, composers used them precisely to highlight the very differences in their sounds.
This last Friday at Deane Chapel the Westmont faculty wind quintet entitled “Sonos 5” performed for many Montecito Locals and Westmont students alike. They performed four pieces with a five minute intermission. Sonos 5 consists of Westmont’ own music teachers with Andy Radford on bassoon, Joanne Kim on clarinet, Trey Farrel on oboe, Andrea Di Magio on flute, and John Mason on French horn.
The night as a whole went exceedingly well, with incredible music and even more incredible musicians. The quintet’s tone was ravishing, their musicianship impeccable, and their enthusiasm unbounded. It was simply flawless beautiful playing.
The highlight of the evening by far was the Beethoven sextet which featured three of Westmonts own; Isaiah Chui in bassoon, Samila Aquino on clarinet, and Brandon Norris on French horn. The pieces were all gorgeous and impressive musically. The students displayed good tone and musicality matching perfectly with their own professors, it was an excellent performance and a treat to hear. The rest of the night was just as good with a particularly moving piece by Haiden performed by the staff.
String quartets are homogenous—three different-sized members of the same family. A woodwind quintet celebrates un-likeness: five different-hued instruments—a flute, an oboe, a clarinet, a bassoon and a horn—all of which are expected to blend together into an expressive ensemble and keep the ear engaged during a full-length concert. Only the best ensembles can achieve that end, and the Sonos 5 are very good at it, harmoniously melding their sound while still preserving the individual personalities of their instruments, some of which in the case of this quintet feature distinct regional timbres.


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