Monday’s third chamber program marked the start of an emphasis on music for multiple wind instruments. This is something that usually happens only once or twice a decade at Spoleto — it’s not easy to round up a bunch of wind players who are all good enough to play up to Spoleto standards. But before we got to that kind of music, we were treated to some classic old Viennese tunes, including the Dornbacher Ländler by Joseph Lanner, the first Viennese waltz-king (he preceded the famous Strauss dynasty). All seven of them almost made me cry. You see, I spent the “wonder years” of my youth in Vienna, where I was blessed to cut my musical teeth. I’ve even been to what used to be the village of Dornbach, (now a suburb of Vienna), whence these little gems come.

A Ländler, strictly speaking, is not a waltz. It’s more of a bumptious Austrian country dance-form in three-quarter time, with a strong OOM-pah-pah beat. Austrian alpine dancers that perform for tourists in Lederhosen often do their thing to Ländler, and you often hear them played by musicians in Vienna’s taverns and parks. You can even hear one in The Sound of Music. Just about any Austrian composer you can name (Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Mahler, etc.) used them often in their own compositions. Geoff Nuttall joined fellow violinists Livia Sohn and Jennifer Frautschi (a series newcomer this year) plus Anthony Manzo on double bass to deliver these delightful little trifles with energy, affection, and genuine Viennese lilt. Thanks, guys — you gave me back a little piece of my childhood: pure nostalgia.

Then it was on to an early jewel by Ludwig van Beethoven: his Quintet for Piano and Winds, Op. 16: a work that followed hard on the heels of similar works by Haydn (with whom he had studied) and Mozart — though Ludwig never failed to leave his unique stamp on any of his creations. This performance’s array of wind artists included nobody who is new to the series — but they’ve never all been here at the same time before. There was clarinet guru Todd Palmer, a perennial series regular; young oboe master James Austin Smith was back for his second year running; and French horn virtuoso Eric Ruske and Bassoon-meister Peter Kolkay were back after several years away. Thanks to them, we’ll be hearing several choice chamber masterpieces for winds over the next eight series programs — some from composers you’ve probably never heard of.

But as for the here and now, the four gentlemen I’ve just named — with the peerless collaboration of pianist Pedja Muzijevic — delivered the finest performance of Beethoven’s quintet you could ever hope to hear … anywhere. They were that good.