Frans Brüggen,who has died aged 79, was a Dutch recorder player, conductor and musicologist who brought the recorder out of the classroom and into the concert hall as a serious musical instrument.
In his early days he would play anything that he felt might sound good on the recorder — “which included, for better or worse, [tunes from] symphonies by Tchaikovsky and Beethoven”.
Later Brüggen explored more carefully how the instrument was used in the baroque era, while pushing for its acceptance as a modern instrument — including commissioning works from composers such as Louis Andriessen and Luciano Berio (notably Gesti, which tests the performer’s powers of control and interpretation). Indeed, Berio once described Brüggen as “a musician who is not an archaeologist but a great artist”.
Along the way Brüggen founded the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, spearheading the move away from the luscious accounts of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven that had become popular in the first half of the 20th century and towards a realisation of how the music would have sounded during the composers’ lifetimes.
(I just have to laugh at the crossed legs!)