I heard this one in Tower Music (where the price was almost the same) the other day. The ensemble playing is extremely good- I own a brandenberg cti. set by this group- and I think they are both exciting, historically informed and extremely virtuosic.
The recorder playing is very nice although nothing extraordinary. His playing is very nice, but so is Petri (I think she is superior) and for that matter, Philip Pickett (another wonderful recording of the a minor suite).
Worth it just for the orchestra and for two of Telemann's finest and most accessable works- Wassermusik and the A minor suite.
I wrote that I would be avoiding recordings this year, but while driving and searching for the traffic report, I happened onto some samples from a recording by the Swiss recorder player Maurice Steger and was staggered. It was gutsy, animated, sometimes even over-the-top playing; it was detail- rich and those details were always musical. The repertoire is two concertos and an overture by Telemann, a composer whose music is too often played simply for its abundant charm. These performances chucked the charm and went for genuine shock and awe (we know all about fake shock and awe nowadays; this is the real thing). While the sound design of the recording may have enhanced this impression, Steger's playing with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin achieved a dynamism that forces me, at least, to totally reasess what the recorder can and might be able to do. Long before its forced enlistment into school and summer camp service, the recorder was one of the first instruments to be...
If you enjoy baroque music that serves as a vehicle for some frankly insane virtuosity (and who doesn't?), then this disc will have you cheering. Maurice Steger plays the meanest recorder you will find anywhere, and while music for this instrument isn't usually regarded as the acme of excitement for thrill-seekers, Steger and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin deliver blockbuster performances of all three works. From the Suite in A minor, check out Les Plaisirs or Réjouissance (the second and fourth movements, respectively), where the swift tempos, perky accents, and million-notes-a-minute recorder embellishments produce positively jaw-dropping feats of musical acrobatics. Or try the final Tempo di Minuet of the C major concerto, where the lively underlying pulse serves as a rhythmic scaffolding for the effortless abandon of Steger's intricate melodic traceries.
Telemann's famous Overture "Hamburger Ebb und Flut" isn't a concertante...
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