Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet – Nocturne = JADIN: Nocturne No. 3, J. C. BACH: Quartet in A major, HANDEL: Suite in G Minor, LOCATELLI: Concerto Grosso Op. 1 No. 11, SAMMARTINI: Symphony No. 10 in F Major, etc. – Channel Classics

by | Sep 28, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet – Nocturne = JADIN: Nocturne
No. 3, J. C. BACH: Quartet in A major, HANDEL: Suite in G Minor,
LOCATELLI: Concerto Grosso Op. 1 No. 11, SAMMARTINI: Symphony No. 10 in
F Major, PACHELBEL: Canon in C, MOZART: Adagio & Fugue KV 546 –
Channel Classics multichannel SACD CCS SA 22205, 65:10 ****:

For the latest disc for the enterprising Amsterdam classical label
Channel Classics the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet continues to
explore the boundaries of music for a consort of recorders.  They
employ 18 different instruments on this album, ranging across the sonic
spectrum from an 8-inch sopranino recorder to a 9 foot sub-contrabass.
The selection of music by seven composers comes from the closing years
of the Baroque period – works which begin to demonstrate a simplicity
and clarity that is to be become the standard in the approaching
Classical period.

The big surprise to me here was the delightful version of the
overplayed Pachelbel Canon, which would normally cause me to switch to
the next track in a hurry.  The work sounds fresh and highly
melodious on the four little flute instruments, almost as if hearing it
for the very first time. The closing Mozart Adagio and Fugue, while
lovely on glass harmonica as well as the pipe organ, takes flight with
the recorder ensemble, and seems one of the master’s most perfect
compositions in this fine arrangement by the quartet members (who did
all the arrangements on the CD). Some of the Gigue and Vivace movements
in these suites and concertos tootle along with such gusto that at
times it sounds almost like a calliope, and you could imagine circling
around on a carousel. It would be interesting to find the original
harpsichord version of the Handel or the string orchestra version of
the Locatelli – if you have them in your collection – to hear right
after the quartet’s recorder version. Anyone who has ever played the
recorder in school or been around recorder players will have additional
appreciation for the virtuosity of the Loeki musicians – they never
throw a clam, quite unlike your average recorder amateur!

The sound picture is very natural, with the small instruments not
exaggerated in size but placed spatially well-defined from one another
on the soundstage.  The multichannel option adds width and depth
to the sonic image vs. the stereo mix, as well as providing more “air”
around the four players. Why anyone would want one of the
super-high-end stereo-only SACD players (when multichannel is built
into the chips anyway and doesn’t compromise the stereo playback) is
beyond me.

– John Sunier

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