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Die Kunst der Fuge › Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet
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Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet

Seventeen different recorders - mostly baroque models
Channel, 1998. Recorded in April & June 1998 Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Menu: printed score; without two canons + Choral.
Total Time: 73:05

“One might ask whether a sound recording on CD is perhaps even more appropriate to this work than a concert performance. It offers the listener the option of selecting separate fugues, the possibility of programming one’s own order of performance; in this way it could be seen as somewhat related to a practical use of the edition which Bach’s original admirers had in their possession.”

Listening to the entire record is a bit like eating all twelve slices of a big, excellent chocolate cake at once. But if we follow Daniel Brüggen’s suggestion in the booklet (see above) and chose whatever and how much our appetite is longing for, we will enjoy many surprising and delicious tastes.

ALSQ’s recorder playing is breathtaking skilful, clear, precise, and still vivid. Their instruments range from the sopraninissima down to the big Godunow-tube - but the fact that the soprano, as in a string quartet, is mostly leading, can be a little bit boring à la longue. The warm, wooden background of the lower voices often gives us the impression of a good chamber organ, especially in Cp.8, where at least two of the three voices seem to come from the depths of pedal. Refreshing contrast with the following Cp.9: a cage of colibris, butterflies, flutterbies… Another testimony for the quartet’s high art: Cp.5 is filled with an additional, magic tremolando register.

Recommendation: make your own choice of tracks; each one is excellent, but the screaming cocktail of overtones might cause a headache if you have to much of them at once (or too loud; on a low level, it can be taken even as a sweet background night music.) For recorder fans: highly recommended in any sense.

(March 2002)