ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
ANTONIO VIVALDI - Flute Concertos


ANTONIO VIVALDI - Flute Concertos - Maurice Steger (Recorder) - I Barocchisti - Diego Fasolis (Conductor) - 3149020219027 - Released: October 2014 - Harmonia Mundi HMC902190

Some people I know have referred to Antonio Vivaldi as a "cookie-cutter" composer. In other words, a composer who constantly utilizes the same formula and repeats the same patterns when he writes. These people are always quick to point out that if you've heard one piece by Vivaldi you've heard them all. I think it would be safe to assume that maybe these people have always heard Vivaldi's music performed by "cookie-cutter" musicians. You know, the ones that can't see anything beyond the notes printed on the page. I'm sure once they've listened to this new Harmonia Mundi recording that they would most certainly reverse their opinion of Vivaldi as a composer. Of course, each and every composer has a persistent and continual trait that distinguishes him/her from all the others, but then that's a good thing because it sets them apart and makes them stylistically identifiable.

Maurice Steger plays through these concertos with so much artistic abandon and freedom of expression that one can't help but listen to them with a new set of ears. These pieces were mostly written to expose a musician's talent, skill and virtuosity, but they also contain slow movements of deeply expressive beauty. Steger's versatility and use of an assortment of recorders reinforces each concerto's unique characteristics. And along with the dynamic and vigorous "back-up band" support that the I Barocchisti ensemble brings into play, you can't help but feel that each and every movement is a fresh listening experience. Also worth noting is that Maurice Steger's expressive liberties and added ornamentations don't distract, but rather add to the spirit of the music.

It's new interpretations and recordings like this one that justify adding yet another one to the extensive list of recordings already available.

Jean-Yves Duperron - November 2014