Baroque recorder albums are something of a crapshoot for me. Sometimes they sound harshly shrill. And sometimes they sound like this release. Erik Bosgraaf uses a variety of recorders, all of which have a warm, woody sound — even the soprano recorder.
Equally exceptional is the recorded sound of the keyboard. on some tracks, Francesco Corti plays a harpsichord, on others a cembalo. In all cases, the keyboard has the appropriate amount of definition for the instrument. No metallic jangling here.
The release surveys (mostly) recorder music published and performed in the Netherlands around 1700. Dutch composer Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer is well-represented. Although a musical amateur, his recorder sonatas were misattributed to Pergolasi until the 1980s. I think that attests to the quality of their composition.
Johann Christian Schickhardt was a German composer and woodwind player. The E major sonata from his Op. 30 L’Alphabeth de la musique is a knockout. Bosgraaf and Corti are put to the test in the fast movements — and they pass handily. Rapid passage zip by at a blistering pace, with every note, clearly articulated.
Another standout is the four clavecin pieces from Joseph Hector Fiocco. Fiocco was a Belgian composer active in the 1730s. These beautifully crafted works come from his 24 Pieces de clavecin, Op. 1. Corti performs these works with nuanced energy. As I listened, I wondered what Fiocco might have achieved had he not died at age 38.
I found a lot to like in this release, and nothing to dislike.
Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer and the Recorder in the Low Countries
Music by Joseph Hector Fiocco, Jean-Marie Leclair, Jean-Baptiste Loeillet de Gant, Sybrandus van Noordt, Johann Christian Schickhardt, Andreas Parcham, Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer
Erik Bosgraaf, recorder; Francesco Corti, harpsichord
Brilliant Classics 95907