Telemann – The Recorder Collection
With two exceptions this is a re-release of recordings that Clas and I have made over the years. The new works are two sonatinas which I recorded some time back. This music re-surfaced in the 1980s step by step, so to speak: the top part was sitting in a library in Copenhagen, and several funky attempts to reconstruct the bass line were made till the original one was discovered in a library in Germany. When combined the result was absolutely fantastic, and this is music that deserves to be a part of every recorder player’s staple repertoire. The style is very modern, with bold choices of harmony and melodic material that seems taken straight from the Polish bars that Telemann used to go to for inspiration… The box with 6 CDs sell at the price of 3!
Songs of Yesterday
The music on this album has been silent for far too long. Carl Dolmetsch commissioned and gave first performances to more than 70 works for the recorder and piano or harpsichord, and this CD with first-rate works by British composers will take the listener through a new landscape where the recorder is rarely seen today. For me it was the greatest of experiences to have the opportunity to sound like Stravinsky or Ravel or Prokofiev, and for Anna it was her recording debut! The sonata by Walter Leigh stands out for its sublime mix of sophisticated counterpoint and heart-breakingly beautiful melodies, but my personal favourite will always be the dangerously attractive ‘Aubade’ by Cyril Scott, who also made the painting on the cover as well as provided the title of this album. I still remember the Green Room at Wigmore Hall, home of so many wonderful performances of this music. Somewhere there, amongst the photos of the greatest stars of last century, there is this picture of Carl Dolmetsch and Joseph Saxby! A recorder player and his accompanist! Together with Horowitz and all the others…. We salute you, Mr. Dolmetsch!
Airs and Graces
Parnassus Avenue could have been a folk rock group…! Listen to David’s strumming on the first track! I like the programming on this recording very much. Finally no one-name production but more of a concert feeling in the way the pieces interact. Composer Francesco Barsanti went to London, and he met a Scottish woman whom he married. Just imagine this hot Italian in Scotland, fervently listening to an old bard singing his old, austere, pentatonic song…! Not to mention Roman, coming from the poor North straight into the living room of Mr. Handel.
Börtz – Hans namn var Orestes/Recorder concerto
The recorder concerto is coupled with another work by most famous Swedish composer Daniel Börtz. I still remember the preparations for the concerto, where he used to send me sketches written by hand – not very many composers do this nowadays. Daniel is a very warm and friendly person, and it is difficult to understand that he can be so violent and outgoing in some of his music.
Vivaldi – The Four Seasons
It takes either courage or stupidity to dare play the most famous violin pieces on the recorder. I realised that walking on-stage to play with a band where virtually all of the violin players had played what I was supposed to play. I remember the recordings as extremely demanding and creative. The preceding tour was like a true kami-kaze, with the Seasons and the C minor concerto every night, amounting to 50 minutes’ in Hell. A TV-recording concluded our preparations. Needless to say I was more than exhausted when we finally were in front of the microphones, but the music then resurrected me! Only problem was to get into the Spring mood in a recording venue which held 13 degrees.
van Eyck – Evergreens from The Pleasure Garden
It wasn’t easy to pick the “best-of” in a collection which is a “best-of” in itself. Again going through all the material was full of memories, also funny ones, like when the recording had to stop because I had had too many chillies for dinner…! van Eyck is a hit-maker, and this album is for the listener who doesn’t think it possible to listen to another nine hours of solo recorder. A fair assumption in my opinion.
A Joker’s Tales
For many years I had tried in vain to commission a concerto for recorder and large orchestra. It was my belief that only a major work of this category could enter the major orchestra stages. I still remember the first rehearsal, where I simply forgot to make my first entry because I was so taken by the orchestra introduction. Börtz’ concerto is lyrical and easy to take to one’s heart. The Karkoff concerto has a completely different ambience. The recorder mingles with other wind instruments, and there are a variety of new sounds in this warm and charming work. Fredrik Österling claims that he LOVES the recorder. I gave him a big hug the first time he told me, and there have been more hugs since then. The trio is a tour-de-force for the players, and we all use the new Mollenhauer tenors in some movements. The effect is amazing.
Early Italian Chamber Music
Arriving in Japan and rehearsing the same day I was quite exhausted when the performance in Kobe the following day was over. Masaaki and I had had very little time to get into the music, but as the recording started I could feel the creative energy pouring out of Masaaki. This album was on my most-wanted list for 10 years, and finally singing the opening theme of the Fontana sonata with my recorder is something I can never forget. Italy rules! And so does the Japanese cuisine, again a part of the recording…
Some years ago a very interesting manuscript surfaced after having been more or less forgotten. With 24 recorder concerti it is one of the most important collections of original music for the recorder. Napoli once was the capital of the musical world, and its many conservatories poured out musicians of the very best quality. The city even can boast of a harmony of its own, the Neapolitan Subdominant. I wish I could say the same about Stockholm (“The Stockholm raised 6th”, for example)… The collaboration with London Baroque was very enjoyable. Charles and Ingrid are extremely hospitable, and we had some memorable discussions about food and Greek culture.
Baroque – Music for recorder
Corelli & Company
Telemann – Ouverture & Three Concertos
Telemann’s oeuvre for the recorder includes some of the finest pieces we recorder players have in our repertoire. The distinct characters of each movement calls for many different moods in the playing, showing, that Telemann saw the recorder fit for painting with lively colors. The recording took place in a wonderful monastery, and we shared all the meals with the priests. There was only ONE woman on the staff, sister Barbara, and she prepared the most fantastic food for us. I still remember a traditionally prepared herring, not to mention the borsjtj…!
Entertainments for a Small Flute
The concerti for 6th Flute always charmed me beyond reason. There is something innocent, yet strong, about this size of instrument, i.e. a descant in D. Babell’s concerti are from one of the few surviving copies of the original print in a library in Stockholm, which also owns the manuscript of the more famous concerto by Sammartini. How and why these important works ended up in Sweden is not known; maybe J.H. Roman brought them with him when leaving England beginning of the 18th century? The lovely 6th Flute was made by Fred Morgan specifically for this recording.
“Der Fluyten Lust-hof” – Complete recording
While touring the world and teaching in many countries I was also recording the complete “Pleasure Garden” by blind composer, carillon player and recorderist Jacob van Eyck. Recordings took place in an isolated medieval church in the countryside, and I had to record and produce in the night because of everyday noises (mooing) from the surrounding farms. As a result I was constantly jetlagged for more than 6 months. Furthermore the production turned out to be 50% longer than I had calculated: hence the three extra discs (9 for the price of 6; Robert von Bahr was NOT amused…). This is my magnum opus. I spent two years preparing my own editions prior to the recording, and to this very day I can’t understand how I managed to get through the process at all. Well, there is the music, of course…! What a treasure!
Händel – the Recorder Sonatas
The recording took place in Kobe in Japan. The Suzukis were very competitive and tried everything to let the other brother suffer in the shadow – a perfect setting for an inspired recording! To record music belonging to the so-called classics requires special attention to one’s own interpretation – or what seems to be so. The recording medium is a blessing and a curse when it comes to listening to the works of others. The influence of players like Frans Brüggen still is very much present, and to be able to add new ideas about old facts sometimes can be so hard the player unknowingly copies the ideas of others. I desperately wanted to use a copy of the marvellous original instrument that Mr. Brüggen used on his recording, and Fred Morgan made me an “exact copy” which turned out to be at a much lower pitch than the original one. We were both quite puzzled till Fred hypothized that the bent shape of the original, a consequence of its age, must be the explanation. My Japanese friends meticulously tuned their instruments to 404.
Holmboe – Concertos for Recorder and Flute
Michala Petri has been a shining star on the recorder sky forever. I still remember her performances in Danish TV when I was a kid. I was terrified: a braided girl of my age playing like nothing I had ever heard before… Little did I know that we were later to play together under the baton of Maestro Claudio Abbado! The Holmboe recorder concerto is one of the finest examples of concerto writing for the recorder. Nowhere does the soloist feel entrenched or covered by the other instruments. There is a fine nerve of melancholy in this piece that I like very much.
Telemann on the Recorder
Unlike many recorder players I don’t think of myself as a conductor; I have far too much respect for that profession to start waving my arms in front of musicians. However, leading a small band and spending a lot of time on the interpretations is deeply satisfying. On this recording I try to show the many different faces of one of the greatest composers of all time: Telemann. Much of his restless creativity seems to be a result of him trying to forget his own sorrows. Telemann’s first wife died in childbirth, and he felt guilty for the rest of his life. The cantata on this recording is a perfect example of his ongoing discussion with God regarding moral values. Another side of him is shown in the chamber music with its shower of playful ideas and moods. When is the Telemann movie coming…?
Vivaldi – Concerti per flautino e flauto dolce
Good old Tony! What would we do without him?! No-one understood the concerto better than Don Antonio. The constant battle between the soloist and the orchestra is the only source of inspiration for hundreds of concerti by Il Prete Rosso. This recording also marks my first tour to Japan and a collaboration with the Suzukis that would result in more albums (BISCD 955, 1335 and BISSACD 1611). To re-record the sopranino concerti (on a sopranino recorder this time) was quite a challenge for me as I find the smaller flutes hard to play. Simply put, they are too loud. Fred Morgan made me a very fine instrument though: at least I could feel happy about my new toy. The tour was superb. All of the members of BCJ were into food (like myself), and even during the recordings there was a chef preparing delicacies for the intermissions…
The French King’s Flautist
French baroque music has had a tremendous impact on my music making. In 18th century France the flute sound was cultivated to an extent which has an impact even today. In this album I tried to show the Italian influence on the French musical language with a series of works that clearly have been affected by the new, raging styles from the South. The Blavet sonata is a perfect example of French harmonies interacting with Italian melodies and forms.
The Swedish Recorder
I like all of my children, but this production holds a special place in my heart! When BIS founder and producer Robert von Bahr asked me for four productions a year he suggested that one of them should have Swedish contemporary music on it. “Do you have any concertos specifically composed for you?” he asked, but I had to say no, afraid of disappointing him. In his typical manner of angry creativity he rushed to the phone and called composer Jan Sandström: “Can you write a concerto for Dan?”. 30 secs later the commission was a fact. Other pieces I love to play are the Lyne concerto, originally composed for Clas Pehrsson but premiered by me, and the beautiful concerto by Swedish jazz legend Björn J:son Lindh. Hans Kipfer produced this album. It was my first encounter with The German Tonmeister, a fearful character who usually plays an instrument at a very high level, who reads a score prima vista better than the players, who also is very well trained in the psychology of a neurotic player as well as knows how to take apart a dysfunctional AD-converter (which is less difficult than dealing with the neurotic player) and repair it. I salute you!
Telemann; J.S. Bach; C.Ph.E. Bach
The Twelve Solo Fantasias by Telemann were long forgotten. Furthermore, the only surviving copy has no author’s name on it, and the title page says “for violin”. The print, however, looks very much like Telemann’s first attempt on engraving. The music is absolutely fantastic, and shows the composer’s interest in the individual musician rather than using the more flashy sonata or concerto to present himself in print for the first time. The bonus disc contains the mysterious solo by J.S. and a worryingly beautiful solo sonata by C.Ph.E. The Father, the Son and the Godfather are all present here!
The Japanese Recorder
After having listened to the Vivaldi demo (BISCD 635), BIS founder and legendary producer Robert von Bahr asked me how many productions I could manage a year. “Four?” he said. “Well, I can try”, I answered. The Vivaldi concerti, The Japanese Recorder (BISCD 655), the Telemann-Bach double CD (BISCD 675) and The Swedish Recorder (BISCD 685) is the result as is the Grammy I got for the four recordings, and even more important: The Swedish Composers’ Society presented me with an award for my interpretations of contemporary Swedish music.
Telemann Double Concertos
The art of combining two top parts in a lively musical discussion is again presented in a most charming and entertaining way. The two little concerti for two recorders and strings shows Telemann’s love for the instrument which lived with him for his entire life.
Telemann Recorder Duets Volume 2
This is the second volume of Clas Pehrsson’s and my project to wrestle musically. We played together for the first time in the early 80s’. Clas was visiting me in Denmark, adjudicating some of my students at the conservatory in Odense, and somehow we ended up racing through some more duets by Telemann. Our friendship has lasted ever since. In this as well as in BISCD 334 & 617 we decided NOT to emulate a joint style of playing to enable the individual texture of each part to come out clearer to the listener. I still love this music. Telemann cares for the player more than anyone else…
Telemann Recorder Duets
Clas Pehrsson and I played together for the first time in the early 80s’. Clas was visiting me in Denmark, and somehow we ended up racing through 24 duets by Telemann. Our friendship has lasted ever since. In this as well as in the following recordings (BISCD 335 & 617) we decided NOT to emulate a joint style of playing to enable the individual texture of each part to come out clearer to the listener. I still love this music. Telemann cares for the player more than anyone else…
“Injection” music by Staffan Mossenmark
Staffan and I had known each other for some years when he came up with the idea of composing a work for electric recorder and experimental jazz trio “Surge”. I got a few of Surge’s CDs’ and I was terrified: how could I EVER think of matching this superb group of musicians?! My respect for other musicians is rooted in a strong rejection of meta music, that there is such a thing as a universal musicianship. The market is full of classical musicians trying to pop it up a little, and the results are disgusting. Anyway, we went on tour, and the guys of the trio guided me to new grazing grounds. My aesthetics changed completely after having been a part of this collective creativity, where listening to the others is the most important thing.
My first solo recording… What a challenge! We were out in the middle of nowhere, in a wooden church with sublime sound. Producer and technician Mats Hellberg was sad to see the digital medium coming. He meant that analog sound would be superior for many decades to come… and he was right. So Mats preferred using backbreakingly heavy valve equipment (including a monstrous Telefunken valve tape recorder) to have a good master for future use. After finsihing the scheduled pieces he said: “Now improvise! I leave the tape running and you do your thing!” And I did…