The Recorder Played Like You’ve Never Heard it Before: Hear a Stunning Solo from Vivaldi’s Recorder Concerto in C Major

Owing to its sim­plic­i­ty and inex­pen­sive­ness, the recorder has become one of the most com­mon­ly taught instru­ments in grade-school music class­es. But that very posi­tion has also, per­haps, made it a less respect­ed instru­ment than it could be. We may vivid­ly remem­ber the hours spent fum­bling with the holes on the front of our plas­tic recorders in an attempt to mas­ter the basic melodies assigned to us as home­work, but did we ever learn any­thing of the instru­men­t’s long his­to­ry — or, for that mat­ter, any­thing of what it can sound like in the hands of a vir­tu­oso instead of those of a frus­trat­ed ten-year-old?

The recorder goes back at least as far as the Mid­dle Ages, and with its pas­toral asso­ci­a­tions it remained a pop­u­lar instru­ment through­out the Renais­sance and Baroque peri­ods. But then came a peri­od of wide­spread dis­in­ter­est in the recorder that last­ed at least until the 20th cen­tu­ry, when musi­cians start­ed per­form­ing pieces with instru­ments from the same his­tor­i­cal peri­ods as the music itself.

Despite the instru­men­t’s going in and out of style, the list of com­posers who have writ­ten for the recorder does boast some for­mi­da­ble names, includ­ing Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach, George Frid­er­ic Han­del, Clau­dio Mon­tever­di, Hen­ry Pur­cell, and Anto­nio Vival­di, whose Recorder Con­cer­to in C Major you can see per­formed in the video at the top of the post.

“After a few mea­sures, musi­cian Mau­rice Ste­ger stepped up to the micro­phone and with amaz­ing skill, shred­ded sev­er­al seri­ous solos on the recorder,” Laugh­ing Squid’s Lori Dorn reports of the spec­ta­cle. “Ste­ger rest­ed for a few bars to catch his breath and then start all over again. Sim­ply a won­der to behold.” We also, in the video just above, have Lucie Horsch’s also-vir­tu­osic per­for­mance of Vivaldi’s Flauti­no Con­cer­to in C Major, albeit trans­posed to G major trans­po­si­tion for sopra­no recorder. Even among those who learned to despise the recorder in school, there will be some who now can’t get enough. But even if it has­n’t become your favorite instru­ment, you’ve got to admit that we’re a long way indeed from “Hot Cross Buns.”

via Laugh­ing Squid

Relat­ed Con­tent:

14-Year-Old Girl’s Blis­ter­ing Heavy Met­al Per­for­mance of Vival­di

Why We Love Vivaldi’s “Four Sea­sons”: An Ani­mat­ed Music Les­son

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Watch John Bonham’s Blis­ter­ing 13-Minute Drum Solo on “Moby Dick,” One of His Finest Moments Live Onstage (1970)

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Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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