A unique sequence of 18th-century recorder sonatas played by one of the instrument’s most innovative modern exponents.
Sybrandus van Noordt and Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer are the only native Dutch composers represented on Erik Bosgraaf’s latest album, but his selection nonetheless illustrates both the high quality of musical culture in a nation without aristocratic courts, and also the central place of the recorder within that culture. Andreas Parcham, Johann Christian Schickhardt and Jean-Marie Leclair are known to have lived and worked in the Republic; Jean-Baptiste Loeillet was born in Ghent and worked in Lyon, but his recorder sonatas were all published in Amsterdam.
History has been a little unkind to Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer, remembering him latterly above all as the composer of the attractive Concerti Armonici which were previously attributed to Pergolesi. That such a confusion could have arisen in the first place is testament to the originality and craftsmanship of a musician-composer who was evidently in touch with the latest Italian developments in Italian style from his home in The Hague.
The three sonatas on this album expand our understanding of van Wassanaer, and they are complemented by little-known composers with a similarly internationalist outlook such as the Danzig-born Andreas Parcham and the well-travelled Jean-Marie Leclair. The four-movement suite of lively character pieces by Fiocco is extracted from a collection originally written for harpsichord, and opens with an Allegro made famous through a violin-and-piano arrangement recorded by the likes of Menuhin and Perlman; Bosgraaf restores its original character.
In the second half of the 17th century, the recorder underwent a revolutionary development which turned it into a sophisticated instrument. Erik Bosgraaf plays seven different instruments here, ranging from sopranino to bass, all of them built with a particular range of pitch but also distinct palette of timbres.
In Renaissance and Baroque, the recorder was one of the foremost and popular melody instruments of all. On this release, Erik Bosgraaf and Francesco Corti prove the artistic value of the instrument, and the wonderful repertoire written for it. Bosgraaf and Corti take us on a journey to The Netherlands around 1700, where a thriving musical culture existed, mainly in the homes of the wealthy and cultured middle and upper class. The composers featured here are Van Wassenaer, Loeillet, Parcham, Schickhardt, Fiocco, Leclair and Van Noordt, all of them presented with Sonatas for recorder and harpsichord.
Erik Bosgraaf is one of the most remarkable recorder players of today. Equally at home in early as well as contemporary music he extends the limits of his instrument, achieving an extreme range of expression and unheard-of effects. He travels the world, giving his unorthodox concerts combining the old and the new, in his own inimitable way.
Bosgraaf and his musical partner Francesco Corti already successfully recorded Handel and Telemann’s recorder sonatas.