Frans Brüggen, who died today at age 79, co-founded the Dutch period-performance collective ensemble The Orchestra of the 18th Century in 1981 and continued to lead it even after he had to do so while seated. He was quoted in 2008 as saying that he planned to conduct until he dropped dead, and he did. And before his conducting career, he arguably did more to return the recorder (AKA flûte à bec, flauto dolce, Blockflöte) to prominence than anybody else in the 20th century. Brüggen's talents and intellectual devotion to period performance were recognized early; at age 21, he was appointed professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. He was one of the pioneers of "early music"/"period performance," a giant in his field, and his prolific recording career enriched the world immeasurably. Here are a few samples of his virtuosity.
J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4
J.S. Bach: Sonata BWV 1033
Beethoven: "Eroica" Symphony (reputed to be his favorite piece to conduct)
Mr. Holtje is a Brooklyn-based composer, poet, and editor who recently composed and recorded the soundtrack for director Enrico Cullen's film A Man Full of Days.