Wind quintet

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The Prague Wind Quintet, c. 1931 Prague wind quintet 1931.jpg
The Prague Wind Quintet, c. 1931

A wind quintet, also known as a woodwind quintet, is a group of five wind players (most commonly flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn and bassoon). Some quintets[ Like whom? ] alternatively use an English horn instead of a French horn. The term also applies to a composition for such a group.[ citation needed ]


Unlike the string quartet (of 4 string instruments) with its homogeneous blend of sound color, the instruments in a wind quintet differ from each other considerably in technique, idiom, and timbre. The modern wind quintet sprang from the octet ensemble favored in the court of Joseph II in late 18th century Vienna: two oboes, two clarinets, two (natural) horns, and two bassoons. [1] The influence of Haydn's chamber writing suggested similar possibilities for winds, and advancements in the building of these instruments in that period made them more useful in small ensemble settings, leading composers to attempt smaller combinations.

It was Anton Reicha's twenty-four quintets, begun in 1811, and the nine quintets of Franz Danzi that established the genre, and their pieces are still standards of the repertoire. Though the form fell out of favor in the latter half of the 19th century, there has been renewed interest in the form by leading composers in the 20th century, and today the wind quintet is a standard chamber ensemble, valued for its versatility and variety of tone color.

Wind quintet composers

Trois Quintetti Concertans
("Three Wind Quintets", c.1802)
Performances by the Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet, 1970
by Giuseppe Cambini

Eighteenth century

Nineteenth century

Twentieth century

Twenty-first century

Notable wind-quintet repertoire

Notable wind quintets

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  1. Suppan, Wolfgang. 2001. "Wind Quintet". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  2. Peter Fribbns. Peter Fribbins, 2 Oct. 2007. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. <>.
  3. Music Haven. Music Haven, 1 July 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. <>
  4. or empty |title= (help)
  5. "Arabesque Winds, woodwind quintet". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
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  7. "City of Tomorrow: Breathing New Life Into the Wind Quintet". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  8. "The City of Tomorrow". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  9. "Home". Coreopsis Quintet. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
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  11. "Concerts". Galliard Ensemble. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
  13. "Pentaèdre" . Retrieved 20 January 2015.

Further reading