We played them in the band at primary school but it was several decades before we appreciated the potential of the humble recorder. David Munrow toured with his Early Music Consort of London in 1974 and Musica Viva audiences were knocked out by the range and subtly of the repertoire. He was a star for EMI, popularising the recorder in the English-speaking world. In Europe, Frans Bruggen did similar in a long and distinguished career. This month in Melbourne and Sydney, audiences will have the opportunity to hear the world’s current recorder virtuoso; Maurice Steger will be appearing with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (Feb 24 -Mar 5) which he will co-direct with Paul Dyer.
Steger was born in Switzerland in 1971 and has built a remarkable career appearing with major orchestras in Europe while producing an extensive discography. For this first visit to Australia he’s billed as the ‘Recorder Revolutionary’. The programming is attractive; Vivaldi’s Concerto in D, along with Handel and Telemann. The recorder is probably the most simple instrument of all but that simplicity makes it especially hard to achieve real beauty of sound. That is what makes it so fascinating. Steger loves the challenge of creating ‘a small personal universe with this instrument’. He is a charismatic performer generating excitement and creating beautiful sounds.
He will make you think again about that humble instrument from your schooldays.
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