Mention the recorder and immediately images of primary school orchestras come to mind. Mention Maurice Steger and the recorder in the same sentence and a whole different image appears.
To say that Zurich based Maurice rocks the recorder like no one else on the planet is an understatement as he has redefined the recorder, the most frequently played instrument in the early 18th century. Playing at breakneck speeds, while never sacrificing the phrasing and technical brilliance, Maurice pushes the recorder to the edge of its physical and expressive limits. He is in high demand across the globe, both as a recorder player and as a conductor, performing and recording alongside renowned artists including Cecilia Bartoli, Hilary Hahn and Andreas Scholl. With a string of prestigious awards including Diapason D’or, BBC Music Magazine Award and 2015 ECHO Klassik Instrumentalist of the Year, Maurice has taken the music world by storm.
With his revolutionary performance style, charismatic Maurice made his Australian debut with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra at concerts in Sydney and Melbourne during February 2016. He tailors his choice of instruments to the specific acoustics of the venue and prior to arriving in Australia, Maurice said “I’m packing 18 recorders for this tour, because every piece needs a different colour. I’ll probably use one per piece, but to find the best possible recorder I’ll bring two recorders for every work and choose in the hall”.
I thoroughly enjoyed Maurice’s vibrant performance on the evening I went to the City Recital Hall. Paul Dyer, Artistic Director of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra introduced Maurice to the audience, along with members of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and immediately they started playing, I knew we were in for something special. The concert programme consisted of a selection of works including the most challenging, virtuosic piece Vivaldi ever wrote, the Concerto in G major for recorder, as well as Gallo, Telemann, Fiorenza, Handel, Rittler and Geminiani. The audience certainly approved of the music, judging by the loud applause and stamping of feet.
The Brandenburg Orchestra, whose name pays tribute to the Brandenburg Concertos of J.S. Bach, the musical genius central to the baroque era, celebrates the music of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Using original edition scores and instruments of the period, such as the harpsichord and baroque violin, which is almost always fitted with gut strings, compared to metal or synthetic strings on a modern violin, resulting in a warm, rich and textured sound, talent from today supplies the energy needed for playing these baroque and classical masterpieces.
Prior to leaving Australia, Maurice will be performing additional concerts at the City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place, Sydney on Friday 4 March at 7pm and Saturday 5 March at 2pm and 7pm. Don’t miss this exciting performer.