Concert Six: Belgium’s Flanders Recorder Quartet
Sunday, July 14th 2013 7:30 p.m.
“Combining the breathy timbre of a portative organ with the expressive interplay of a fine string quartet…” – New York Times
Since its foundation in 1987, the Flanders Recorder Quartet has evolved into one of the world’s top ensembles. Their success in 1990 at the prestigious Musica Antiqua Competition in Bruges (B), which is sponsored by the Flanders Festival, was the start of an extensive concert career. After more than 1800 concerts in 42 countries on five continents, including some in world-famous concert halls in Tokyo, New York and Salzburg, the ensemble has attained a prominent position in the world of Early Music. The ensemble also makes regular guest appearances at leading music festivals such as those in Helsinki, Paris, Geneva, Boston, Vancouver, Singapore, Taipei and Mexico City. Numerous prizewinning recordings have been made for record companies such as Harmonia Mundi, Archiv/Deutsche Grammophon, Ricercar, and OPUS III. In 2003 the quartet entered a long and intensive collaboration with the German label AEOLUS.
The Flanders Recorder Quartet showcases an instrument that was underestimated for two centuries. In their extraordinary collection are reproductions after illustrations by Virdung (1511), after originals from the collection of Henry VIII, a Baroque contrabass recorder some 2.3 meters in length (which was built by Friedrich von Huene, Boston), and modern recorders by Hans Coolsma, Utrecht. Their extensive collection of instruments and highly virtuosic performance of a richly varied program makes each concert an unforgettable experience and allows the recorder, one of the most important instruments of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, to shine in its former splendour.
The members of the Flanders Recorder Quartet have also built up impressive careers as teachers, and are able to convey their pedagogical ideas in an inspiring manner in their capacities as professors as well as at master classes. In doing so, they do not avoid the confrontation between contemporary and early music. A tangible result of this work is the book ‘The Finishing Touch of Ensemble Playing’ (Alamire, 2000), which has been translated into a number of languages.
The Flanders Recorder Quartet has been acclaimed for its sensitive arrangements and more than fifty compositions have been dedicated to the group. Some of these pieces have been made publicly available in the ensemble’s own series of editions, ‘The Flanders Recorder Quartet Series’, published by the German publishing house Heinrichshofen. The press, public, and international juries have praised the clarity of ensemble playing, technical perfection, homogeneous sound, and true-to-style interpretation: “The FRQ brings joy to the hearts of the overwhelmed listeners” (Japanese Journal Yomiuri Simbun)