Maurice Steger plays the meanest recorder you will find anywhere, and while music for this instrument isn’t usually regarded as the acme of excitement for thrill-seekers, Steger and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin deliver blockbuster performances of all three works. From the Suite in A minor, check out Les Plaisirs or Réjouissance (the second and fourth movements, respectively), where the swift tempos, perky accents, and million-notes-a-minute recorder embellishments produce positively jaw-dropping feats of musical acrobatics. Or try the final Tempo di Minuet of the C major concerto, where the lively underlying pulse serves as a rhythmic scaffolding for the effortless abandon of Steger’s intricate melodic traceries. … Harmonia Mundi’s impeccable engineering provides the finishing touch on a disc that must count as one of the most amazing and enjoyable baroque recitals of this or any other year.

David Hurwitz

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