Video: Frans Brüggen performs Telemann



In a television studio, under what must be bright lights, a man sits down and crosses his legs in elegant fashion. He is handsome enough to be the host of a talk show, but that is not his purpose (there or in life).

He holds a recorder, still considered a child’s instrument, and begins to play an unaccompanied work by Georg Philipp Telemann.

His performance is anything but child-like, exuding a sophistication which only comes from years of experience, personal study, and experimentation. Telemann sounds a little melancholy, even in the upbeat sections. The interpretation is moving.

The performer is Frans Brüggen, the man responsible for raising the reputation of the recorder in the 20th Century to virtuoso status, an accomplishment unheard of in the instrument’s heyday.

I’ve never seen Brüggen perform live, nor have I seen him conduct. He is, by all accounts, a tremendous musician and a charismatic leader.

Filmed in 1967, the video is very telling of the level of musicianship and perfection Brüggen had reached up to that point. Every time I watch it, I’m left speechless.

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