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Amsterdam Loeki - Stardust Quartet

Italian Recorder Music1
Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet (Daniël Brüggen, Bertho Driever, Pail Leenhouts, Karel van Steenhoven (recorders));  a with The Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood.

rec. 1 November 1989, Abbey Road Studios, London; 2 June 1992, Henry Wood Hall, London; 3 March 1987, Abbey Road Studios, London; 4 September 1989, University Music School, Cambridge. DDD

NEWTON CLASSICS 8802044 [4 CDs: 61:21 + 56:26 + 56:55 + 57:03]

 

Experience Classicsonline

 

Tarquinio Merula (1594-1665)

Canzon La Ghiradella [2:27]

Canzon La Merula [3:34]

Gioseffo Guami (1591-1607)

Canzon La Bastina [2:56]

Canzon La Brillantina [2:56]

Canzon La Gentile [2:32]

Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)

Capricco sopra la Spagnoletta [5:26]

Canzon Decima detta la Paulini [2:16]

Ricercare terzo [3:34]

Capriccio V sopra la Bassa Fiamenga [4:47]

Giovanni Battista Conforti (fl.1550-1570)

Ricercare del quarto tono [5:11]

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c.1525-1594)

Lamentationes Hieremiae [4:46]

Giovanni Maria Trabaci (1575-1647)

Canto fermo Primo del Primo Tono [2:39]
Canzone Francese Quinta sopra Dunque Credete Ch'io [2:44]

Canzone Francese Terza [3:15]

Ricercare secondo tono con quattro fughe [3:40]

Giovanni Paolo Cima (1570-1622)

Canzon la Capriccio [2:46]

Claudio Merula (1533-1604)

Dum Illuscescente Beati [1:58]

Iste est Joannes [1:58]

O Gloriosa Domina [1:56]

Concerti di Flauti2
Johann David Heinichen (1683-1729)a

Concerto à 8 in C [7:26]

Johann Christian Schickhardt (c.1681-c.1760)a

Concerto in D minor for four recorders and continuo [9:58]

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)a

Concerto in A minor for two recorders, strings and continuo [8:46]

Alessandro Marcello (1669-1747)a

Concerto in G major for 2 flutes [4:43]

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)a

Concerto on B flat for two recorders and strings [8:23]
Johann Christian Schickhardt (c.1682-c.1762)a

Concerto in G for four recorders and continuo [7:23]

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)a

Concerto ‘in due cori’ con flauti obbligato in A, RV585 [9:51]a

Baroque Recorder Music3

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

The Art of Fugue, BWV1080: Contrapunctus I [3:30]

The Art of Fugue, BWV1080: Contrapunctus III {3:08]

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)

Mein junges Leben hat ein End [6:03]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Fugue in G, BWV550 [3:18]

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Fantasia No.8 in A minor, Z. 739 [1:41]

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755)

Sonata in C minor, Op. 34 No. 6 [8:45]

Matthew Locke (1621-1677)

Suite No.3 in F [9:20]

Samuel SCHEIDT (1587-1654)

Fantasia on ‘Io son ferito lasso’ [10:28]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Fantasy and Fugue ib C minor, BWV537 [9:08]

Extra Time4

Errol GARNER / Johnny BURKE (arr. P. Leenhouts)

Misty [4:08]

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G, BWV1048: III: Allegro [4:26]

Fugue in B flat, BWB+V560 [1:31]

ANON (Coimbra Manuscript)

Batalla Famossa [5:45]
Henry MANCINI (arr. P.LEENHOUTS)

Loeki the Lion on the Trail of the Pink Panther [3:06]

Johnny MANDEL / Paul Francis WEBSTER (arr. P.LEENHOUTS)

The Shadow of Your Smile [2:45]

John LENNON / Paul McCARTNEY (arr. Daniël BRÜGGEN)

Michelle [2:58]

Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)

Allegro [6:20]

Rondo grazioso [4:41]

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) (arr. D. BRÜGGEN)
Concerto in D. Op.7 No.12 [7:56]

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) (arr. Karel van Steenhoven)

Nocturne [3:14]

Paul LEENHOUTS (b.1957)

When Shall the Sun Shine? [4:03]

Charlie PARKER (1920-1955) (arr. P. LEENHOUTS)

Scrapple from the Apple [2:06]

Peter SCHOTT (arr. P. LEENHOUTS)

Aan de Amsterdamse Grachten [2:29]

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) (arr. P. LEENHOUTS)
Für Elise [1:20]

 

 

Samuel Pepys, that indefatigable lover of music, and of women not his wife, recorded in his diary for 8 April 1668 that he had visited the premises of Drumbleby the flageolet maker in the Strand and had there bought himself a recorder “which I do intend to learn to play on, the sound of it being of all sounds in the world most pleasing to me”. No doubt Mr. Drumbleby’s shop offered its customers a healthy choice of instruments, but the proprietor surely didn’t stock or make quite the range of recorders that the Amsterdam Loeki Quartet have in their armoury, “a unique collection of over a hundred Renaissance, Baroque and modern recorders, ranging from an 8-inch sopranino to a sub-contrabass measuring over nine feet”, to quote from their website. I don’t know how many of those instruments are to be heard on this reissued set of four of the Quartet’s early recordings, but the range of tone and timbre is certainly considerable – the work of the Loeki Quartet is never lacking in colour and variety or, indeed, in virtuosity and imagination. It would be reasonable to say that where the balance between creativity and ‘authenticity’ is concerned, the Loeki Quartet have always been prepared to put the greater emphasis on the former.

 

The music to be heard on Italian Recorder Music is, for the most part, rather sober, often possessed of a melancholy dignity. The opening pieces by Tarquinio Merula have a limpidity that sets a pattern for what follows – it is a real treat to hear the polyphonic conversations of this music with such a degree of clarity. The four pieces by Giovanni Maria Trabaci are especially lovely, less thickly-textured than, for example, the canzone by Guami, and nicely varied in tempo. Elsewhere the four items by Frescobaldi are full of subtle touches and not without their unexpected twists and turns. The sensitive performance of three pieces by Claudio Merula bring to a close an attractive programme, a programme which is beautifully served by the purity of tone and perfection of intonation which the Loeki Quartet bring to their performance and by a fine recorded sound.

 

Concerti di Flauti unites the Loeki Quartet with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music in a programme of baroque concerti, mixing the music of major figures such as Vivaldi and Telemann with that of a lesser-known figure such as Johann Christian Schickhardt. Schickhardt was a much-travelled oboist and player of the recorder; although German in origin he worked extensively in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, as well as in Hamburg, Weimar and Cöthen. His two concerti heard here make it clear that he knew his way around the instrument very well, but are in no way remarkable or especially individual. As so often, it is to Telemann that the listener can turn in confident – and rewarded – expectation of real quality. His two concerti are works of the highest craftsmanship and graced with at least a few moments of inspiration. The opening movement of the A minor concerto (‘gravement’) is a thing of considerable beauty and the same concerto’s closing movement is a model of charm and elegance, played here with winning vivacity. In the B flat concerto (whose four movements are marked grave-vivace-tendrement-gayement) there is nothing that disappoints and much that engages the mind and the ears very satisfactorily. RV585 is hardly major-league Vivaldi, but its three brief movements make very pleasant listening. Again the recorded sound is good.

 

Baroque Recorder Music is a misnomer in any strict sense. Little of this music was originally written with the recorder - let alone a quartet of recorders - specifically in mind though some, such as the thoroughly attractive sonata by Boismortier were written for transverse flutes. What we have includes two organ works by J.S. Bach (BWV 50 and 537), a set of keyboard variations by Sweelinck and  consort music by Locke and Purcell. And two contrapuncti from the Art of Fugue. But transcriptions such as these, and the attitude that underlies them are perfectly ‘Baroque’ in spirit, in tune with the habits of the period. And they are all played beautifully. At times, indeed, there are clear bonuses, given the clarity with which contrapuntal lines are delineated, with just enough variety of tone to help that clarity but not so much as to rob the results of unity. There is a great deal to enjoy here on a disc full of subtle touches and perceptive music-making.

 

The joy of transcription runs wild on the last of these four discs! There can’t have been too many CDs of any kind which found house-room for both Erroll Garner and Johann Christian Bach, Rimsky-Korsakov and Charlie Parker, Henry Mancini and Beethoven. And fewer still on which the only instruments to be heard were members of the recorder family! I wonder what Pepys would have made of it. There’s no need to take any of the pieces here too solemnly; relax into them and there’s much to enjoy. Parker would, I hope and believe, have loved Paul Leenhouts arrangement of Scrapple from the Apple; I am less sure what Beethoven would have thought of the same arranger’s version of Für Elise as a Piazzollan tango! I wonder if Bach would have been as amused as I am by the “crazily fast” - Daniël Brüggen’s phrase - performance of the Allegro from Bach’s third Brandenburg? Lennon and McCartney’s Michelle works delightfully. There’s plenty of wit and verve everywhere on the disc – surely only the most mean-spirited of musical puritans who find much to disapprove of here though it isn’t a disc one would choose to listen too often, if only so as not to spoil some of the surprises!

 

This Newton box has a interesting retrospective note on the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet by Daniël Brüggen – at one point he observes that “everything had to be selected, tested, arranged and orchestrated; we occasionally looked with envy at string quartets! We, however, could switch roles in ways that they couldn’t: each of us could play the bass part in a certain piece and the top part in another”. Brüggen’s note makes clear the sheer fun that the members of the ALSQ had in the first half of the quartet’s existence; the remarkable thing is how much of that fun leaps off these CDs, even when more than a little of the music is quite sombre in mood.

 

Glyn Pursglove

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


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