To start their musical year the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra presents solo Baroque recorder virtuoso and guest director Maurice Steger, who has redefined the recorder as an instrument for the modern age.
WOW, watching a video of him playing recently, I couldn’t but help but think how inspiring he must be for those he teaches today.
Concerts will be held at City Recital Hall in Sydney 24 and 26 February, at the Melbourne Recital Centre in the acoustically wonderful Elizabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne on the 27 and 28 February, and then back in Sydney 2, 4 and 5 March, 2016.
Renowned as the “the Paganini of the recorder” by music critics, Maurice Steger takes his eager audiences on a musical journey, while revealing the amazing technique required to become so highly regarded as a recorder virtuoso.
The most frequently played instrument during the early eighteenth century, Steger will bring a range of recorders with him so that he is able to tailor his choice to the specific acoustics of the venues: “I’m packing 18 recorders for this tour, because every piece needs a different colour…”
Born in Switzerland Maurice Steger is based in Zurich where he performs mostly Baroque music, with the leading Baroque ensembles of the world.
Contemporary composers of the second half of the seventeenth and eighteenth century in Europe were involved in the rise of ‘theatrical music’, able to convert drama and religion into sounds of unparalleled intensity.
The new artistic tradition in Europe of the ‘Baroque’ was born of an exciting free imagination, achieving a complete medium of expression and the highest pinnacle of achievement in a climate of arts and culture seldom granted to any other generation.
The very earnestness of the movement and preference for ‘classicism’ in a grand architectural style also brought about a ‘moral uplift’, allowing composers to exercise their expressive skills, providing an elaborate format those enjoying a louche lifestyle preferred.
Their heroes above all, were virtuoso vocalists or instrumentalists, who enjoyed an enlarged expressive rhythmic freedom.
The program includes the Concerto RV443 in G Major for recorder, one of the most challenging works Venetian born composer Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) ever imagined.
Works by German born composers Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) and Georg Friderich Handel (1685 – 1759) are pieces Steger has championed in concerts across the world, and for which he has won many prestigious awards.
Maurice Steger and artistic director Paul Dyer will also co-direct the orchestra in Australian premieres of magical treasures Paul has unearthed.
They include works by Philipp Jakob Rittler (1637-1690), Domenico Gallo (1730 – 1768) and Nicola Fiorenza (1700 – 1764).
Philipp Jakob Rittler was a priest and a composer active in Austrria and Moravia during the second half of the seventeenth century.
After 1675 he became honorary vicar and conductor of the choir at Wenceslas Cathedral in Olomouc, where he spent the rest of his life.
Aware of the latest musical trends that were emerging both from small towns as well as cities, Ritter left a wealth of works and an impressive collection of instruments, including a viola da gamba and two clavichords.
Ritter composed music for virtuoso players and his surviving compositions testify to the fact that he must have been a formidable violinist.
Very little is known about Domenico Gallo, except that he was a violinist and composer for the church, a biographical dictionary of deceased musicians says he ‘also composed some instrumental music about 1760′.
Neapolitan composer and teacher Nicola Fiorenza taught instrumental music in the early years of the 18th century. Sources reveal he was active during the 1720’s, a teacher of stringed instruments, he was also a violinist in the Royal Chapel Orchestra of Naples.
One of his compositions was thought to be so good it was attributed to the brilliant composer Franz Joseph Haydn for a time. He reputedly had a ‘prickly personality’, reflected in his music inspired by such greats as Antonio Vivaldi.
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra‘s artistic director Paul Dyer says: “Fasten your seat belts because you are in for the ride of your life with Maurice Steger. He’s like a stratospheric Speedy Gonzales. This man has totally revolutionised the recorder and his playing is revered around the world.”
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016
The Program: Vivaldi Concerto RV 443 in G major, Gallo Sonata No. 12 La Follia in G minor, Telemann Concerto for 3 Trumpets TWV 54:D4 in D major, Fiorenza Sinfonia in A minor, Handel Overture to Judas Maccabeus HWV 63 in G minor, Vivaldi Concerto Il gardellino RV 428 in D major, Rittler Ciaccona a 7 in C major, Geminiani After Corelli’s Op. 5 violin sonatas Concerto for recorder No. 10 in F major.