Les Violons Du Roy silky smooth at Williams Center

03.12.15
Les Violons du Roy
The Morning Call

A recorder is really nothing more than a glorified whistle with finger holes, with a tooty little tone of limited dynamic range.

That’s why a virtuoso on the instrument like Maurice Steger, who appeared as soloist with Les Violons du Roy on Tuesday at Lafayette College’s Williams Center, might be considered to have a very unenviable task in making interesting music on one.

It didn’t take much listening to Steger’s playing, however, to think that the task, to the contrary, might be a quite enviable one.

Steger is a short, wiry young man with a somewhat spiked hairdo who tended to move vigorously with his playing, all the while tossing off remarkable combinations of notes with apparent ease.

Not that the program was entirely virtuosic noodling. All of the works performed -- of the five, three were for recorder and orchestra -- were substantive compositions. These included Telemann’s Suite for Alto Recorder and Strings, Sammartini’s Concerto for Soprano Recorder, Strings and Continuo, and a recorder concerto, in the form of a suite of dances, by Geminiani.

The Telemann suite is quite familiar, whether the soloist is playing a recorder or a regular flute, with good opportunities for both technical bravura and melodic elegance.

Sammartini’s concerto was full of little decorative riffs for the soloist, but also quiet tutti where the archlute, normally an unassuming background instruments among the strings, could show itself a bit.

As befits a concluding work, Geminiani’s concerto, which took  its theme from a violin sonata by Corelli, was fully of showy passages for the soloist, who used them to bring the evening to an exciting conclusion.

  

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