Germany’s Dorothee Oberlinger has released a golden new offering with Ensemble 1700, Rococo – Musique à Sanssouci. The album is filled with baroque gems, which unveil the charms of the recorder in a chamber setting. Oberlinger opens with a sense of longing in Gottfried Finger’s A Ground. Her performance is so enchanting that a minute passes before I notice the continuo on a conscious level. The recorder’s airy timbre competes with Oberlinger’s audible breaths, captured with clarity and honesty.The balance with the ensemble is well considered – particularly in Handel’s Concerto Doppio in C Minor for recorder and bassoon. Here Oberlinger merges into the strings and becomes a different player; spirited and concise.

A Johann Gottlieb Graun concerto evolves to a fuller sound: the robust string presence hails this new mood before returning the focus to Oberlinger in a Quantz recorder solo from Fantasien und Präludien. In skillful programming, the harpsichord returns in the CPE Bach piece, and the recorder is further layered with viola and continuo in the music to follow.  

Oberlinger shares the spotlight with the music itself, in contrast to albums from leading Australian recorder players Genevieve Lacey and Alicia Crossley, whose releases – though magnificent – demonstrate the players’ capabilities and the recorder’s flexibility. Each has its function; Oberlinger’s is worthy of high praise for its presentation of traditional music for recorder.