The rapid passagework in Corelli’s F major Concerto emerges as a barely audible bird-like twittering, but Steger made it so crystal-clear that it pushed through the orchestral sound without difficulty.<br/><br/>This offered the “wow” factor, but more striking was the way Steger draped expressive ornaments over the melodies of the slow movements, creating a luxuriant melancholy at each dying fall by leaning on the dissonant notes. Even grandeur isn’t beyond his reach, as was shown by a riveting performance of the Sarabande from Corelli’s 7th sonata. The unknown arranger added to the sense of unfolding majesty by bringing in more instruments (though I imagine director Laurence Cummings had a hand in this too), while over the top Steger floated a lovely line, fragile and droopingly expressive and dignified all at once.

Highest Ratings*****  – THE TELEGRAPH, 6. April 2011, Concert in Wigmore Hall London

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