Into the Woods (2015)

Bernstein, Barber, Muczynski, Arnold, Gershwin

Ensemble Houthandel

The name of your ensemble ‘Houthandel’ translates in English to something like ‘timber trade’. This is certainly a distinctive identity for woodwind instruments, but your attitude to performing is also a refreshingly modern alternative to the usual concert-hall conventions, including choreographed movement and performances in unusual locations. Perhaps you can tell us more about this, and perhaps also how your energetic concept transfers itself  into the recording studio?

Houthandel is an organisation which is based on three pillars: music, musicians and audience. Whatever the programme, the ensemble looks for the best possible form and content to create an optimal production. Houthandel uses various forms of expression to play for and with its public, and the result should therefore always be a powerful meeting between music and audience. Scenography, choreography and costume are an integral part of the performance, and the musicians also frequently play from memory, which brings a great deal of freedom. This provides flexibility for visualising the music in a space; gaining contact and interaction with audiences unencumbered by the physical and mental barriers which can often be thrown up by sheet music on a stand.
The challenge is indeed to create an intimate atmosphere through a studio recording, and to minimise the distance between listeners and musicians. We feel that a varied programme supports us in this aim. The repertoire that we chose for Into the Woods will amuse, surprise and fascinate the listener from start to finis

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Ensemble Houthandel

ENSEMBLE HOUTHANDEL
SARAH VERMEYEN FLUTE
EVY VAN DONGEN CLARINET
JONAS COOMANS BASSOON
ROGIER STEEL HORN
MAARTEN WIJNEN OBOE

Ensemble Houthandel formed as a wind quintet at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp in 2005. At that time it was called ‘Ensemble Houthandel Antwerpen’ and was initially active for exam performances, also becoming an emblem for the conservatoire and for itself in a variety of self-organised concerts. The group studied and rehearsed the standard wind quintet repertoire intensively in those early years. In 2007 Houthandel was selected as finalist at the renowned Belgian chamber music competition ‘Gouden Vleugels’, and this generated a great deal of interest and a well-filled concert schedule. Their first production, ‘De Grote Houthandel Antwerpen Show’, was performed twenty times at a variety of important venues. Together with Jeugd & Muziek Vlaanderen, Ensemble Houthandel also organised a successful series of educational (school) concerts. In February 2009 Houthandel was declared winner of the 4th edition of Gouden Vleugels and awarded the Jeugd & Muziek Chamber Music prize organised by Jeugd & Muziek Vlaanderen, Radio Klara, newspaper De Standaard and the KBC Bank. This award really put the wind in the ensemble’s sails, and in the 2009-2010 season there were no fewer than 35 performances of ‘De Grote Houthandel Antwerpen Show’ and a number of highly acclaimed concerts in the Netherlands. Part of the Gouden Vleugels prize gave Houthandel the opportunity to record their debut CD ‘Kicking Sawdust’ in Studio Toots, a well-known location for Flemish Radio and Television. This was followed in April 2010 by a concert tour to the Spanish Balearic Islands.

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Into the Woods (2015)

Bernstein, Barber, Muczynski, Arnold, Gershwin

Ensemble Houthandel

Digital Converters: Horus
Producer: Daan van Aalst
Recording Engineer: Daan van Aalst
Recording location: Jurriaansezaal, de Doelen, Rotterdam The Nederlands
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD256

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NC15006: Into the Woods
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Tracks.
1.
Overture to Candide (arr. Don Stewart)
Bernstein
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Summer Music, Op. 31
Barber
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Quintet for Winds, Op. 45- Allegro risoluto
Muczynski
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Quintet for Winds, Op. 45- Andante
Muczynski
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Quintet for Winds, Op. 45- Moderato - Allegro con spirito
Muczynski
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Three Shanties- Allegro con brio
Arnold
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Three Shanties- Allegretto semplice
Arnold
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Three Shanties- Allegro vivace
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Selections from Porgy and Bess (arr. Bill Holcombe)
Gershwin
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