Suite No.1 for Wind Quintet, Op.57
Charles Lefebvre (1843-1917) was born in Paris. After initially studying law, he entered the Paris Conservatory where he studied with Ambroise Thomas and Charles Gounod. While there, he won the prestigious Prix de Rome, the stipendium to which allowed him to live in Italy for several years. He composed in virtually every genre and chamber music comprises a sizeable portion of his output and was held in high regard as witnessed by the fact that the Academie des Beaux Arts awarded him their Prix Chartier for chamber music excellence on two occasions in 1884 and 1895. He served for several years as Professor of Ensemble Performance at the Conservatory.
His Suite No.1 for Wind Quintet was composed in 1884 and commissioned by the Societé de Musique de Chambre pour Instruments a Vent (the Chamber Music Society for Wind Instruments) and may well have been one of the reasons he won the prize that year. In three movements—–Canon moderato, Allegretto scherzando and Allegro leggiero—–it is ubeat and light in mood and demonstrates Lefebvre’s skill at his thematic material, while at the same time offering each of the instruments the opportunity to shine.
This wind quintet is a first rate work with fine writing for each instrument. It makes an attractive program choice for both professinals and amateurs.