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CD Feature/ Dorothee Oberlinger: "Händel: Sonatas for Recorder"

img  Tobias

If you’re looking for a new hobby and you’ve got lots of time to spare, try keeping up with all of Dorothee Oberlinger’s projects! Apart from single-handedly turning the recorder from being a mere musical toy for children into a respected and revered instrument as a soloist, she’s exploring the beautiful world of digital sound processing in a long-lasting collaboration with her partner in crime Dorothee Hahne as well as travelling through the ages with a multitude of musicians. The ensemble 1700 is her latest collective and we do hope it’s here to stay.

That’s because this six-piece plays with intelligence and intuition and avoids the pitfalls of overly-extatic emotions on the one hand and analytic anaemia on the other (or plain boredom, if you like). In an extensive and yet highly entertaining article included in the booklet, Professor Gerhard Braun explains how Händels recorder sonatas would develop from opera-transcriptions into genuine compositions of their own and asserts that “new findings, particularly on these works, regarding the state of the sources and the musical texts, justify a new recording”. As if this CD needed a theoretical justification!

Again, as on most of Oberlingers  other works, the sound is neither too direct nor too “heavenly”, and settles for an intimate,  chambermusical format – which suits Händel even more than Vivaldi, who can arguably be interpreted in a more radical fashion. The recorder is clearly the lead instrument but it is so not by means of volume but in the sense of a “primus inter pares”, gently coaxing the others, directing and developing the action. There’s something to discover in about every movement here (and there’s a lot of them!), but if you still need to be convinced, check out the melodic circle-dance of the Trio Sonata in c minor HWV 386 or the absolute highlight, the Sonata in F major HWV 369, which runs through all aspects of human emotion, moving you to tears and lifting you right up again.

Do we sound a little excited here? Probably, but it’s not very often that an ensemble comes around that puts historical pratice in a fresh perspective and makes it actually sound modern. You don’t need to be an expert on Händel to appreciate that. If you don’t have the time to keep up with all of Dorothee Oberlinger’s projects, this should be the one to watch.

Homepage: Dorothee Oberlinger
Homepage: Marc Aurel Edition (the record label)

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