Flanders Recorder Quartet

When: 24. 11. 2017 at 20:00

Ticket order:

Ticket price: 20 - 25 €

Festibus: Departure at 17:15 (Hala Tivoli) Price: 10 €

Flanders Recorder Quartet (BE):

Joris Van Goethem: recorders

Tom Beets: recorders

Bart Spanhove: recorders

Paul Van Loey: recorders





Final Chapter - 30 years Flanders Recorder Quartet: Anniversary & Farewell


Artists’ message to visitors

The Final Chapter stands for a great celebration of the recorder, one final burst of colourful fireworks. It contains our favourite compositions of early music. This programme offers 30 years of experience, expressivity, virtuosity, richness of sound. It’s one big plea for the recorder and its music. Samuel Pepys should have written in his diary of 1668 “beyond anything in the whole world, I am pleased by the wind-music when the angel comes down, which is so sweet that it ravished me; and indeed, in a word, did wrap up my soul so that it made me really sick, just as I have formerly been when in love with my wife.”


About the project

With the concert programme Final Chapter, Flanders Recorder Quartet delivers its signature style for the last time. Tradition has it that the ensemble introduces a new programme every anniversary year, one that is not only a fiery plea for the instrument, but likewise touches the senses of the listeners – connoisseurs, enthusiasts and random passers-by – and quickens the pulse. Several centuries are explored, smells and colours replenish each other or give indications of a contrasting musical structure. We will turn our attention to transcriptions of music for organ and traverso. ‘The Final Chapter’ stands for a great celebration of the recorder, one final burst of colourful fireworks!

During the thirty years of its existence, Flanders Recorder Quartet has presented numerous varied programmes in which many unknown qualities of the recorder have been appealingly showcased. On various consorts of recorders made by the most renowned makers, the ensemble has both interpreted its own arrangements and commissioned works, and played original early music to its heart’s content.

The Flanders Recorder Quartet stands for ingenuity, originality, creativity, amazement and the joy of making music. We’re releasing our trademarks one last time on CD and would love to share our passion for the recorder once more with you in the most recent concert programme ‘The Final Chapter’. It has always been a pleasure to play at Seviqc Brežice, the early music festival of Slovenia. We have the best memories of it. In no other country in the world did we have to play so many encores after a concert. Will you welcome us one last time?

Flanders Recorder Quartet (BE)

Since it was founded in 1987, the Flanders Recorder Quartet has evolved into one of the world’s top ensembles. The ensemble’s success in 1990 at the prestigious Musica Antiqua Competition in Brugge, which is sponsored by the Flanders Festival, meant the start of an extensive concert career. After more than 1800 concerts on five continents, including some in world-famous concert halls in Tokyo, New York and Salzburg, the ensemble has attained a prominent position in the world of early music.

Concert programme

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Concerto à 2 Clav. et pedal (BWV 596)

(po / after Vivaldi, op 3 nr 11, RV 565)

Arr. Bart Spanhove


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Fantasia & Fuga (BWV 570 & 545)


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

(korali / Chorals):

Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein (BWV 641), Arr. Joris Van Goethem

Alle Menschen müssen sterben (BWV 643)

Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her (BWV 606)

Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich (BWV 609)

Jesu meine Freude (BWV 610)


Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755)

VI Concerto’s pour Flûtes ou autres Instrumens sans Baße

Concerto V

Adagio / Allegro / Allegro




Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Pasfacalia en c (BWV 582)

Arr. Bart Spanhove


Hugh Ashton (ca. 1485-1558)



Costanzo Festa (1495-1545)

Cento cinquantasette contrapunti

Contrapuncti sopra La Spagna


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Die Kunst der Fuga (BWV 1080)

Contrapunctus 1, Fuga a 4 Voci

Contrapuntus 14, Fuga a 3 Soggeti


Anonymous (cca. 1400)

Dy czale dy wale

La Manfredina

La Rotta della Manfredina


Johann Sebastian Bach is without a doubt the greatest musical genius that Western culture has produced. A vast literature has arisen praising this great master, and the recordings of his work are both numerous and diverse. However, a concert on which Bach’s genius in all its diversity is presented by a recorder ensemble is an absolute first. Arrangements of beautifully expressive chorales, lively Italianate concerti, highly inventive preludes and fugues, and a monumental passacaglia are all heard here in arrangements for four recorders.

J. S. Bach composed very little for the recorder. This is the only error that we, as recorder fanatics, can impute to this genius of a composer. He did in fact include recorder parts in some twenty of his cantatas, as well as the St Matthew Passion, two of the Brandenburg Concerti and the Magnificat. We find his Actus Tragicus “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit” especially moving in its beauty, with its unusual combination of two recorders, two viols, solo voices and continuo.

On the other hand, Bach showed a great predilection for the organ, the king of instruments. He walked some 300 kilometres in order to meet his mentor and source of inspiration, the German organist Dietrich Buxtehude. It should thus come as no surprise to discover that many works on our newest CD were originally written for the organ. Although a recorder consort can be said to approach the sound of an organ, it is impossible to imitate the grandeur of this instrument with four recorders. What the version for four recorders does offer is a certain charm and transparency: each voice wins a degree of individuality and independence. Four personalities, four individuals melt together, as it were, into one player.

Bach’s music is perfect and unsurpassed. The organ virtuoso Reincken was very pleased when late in his life he met Bach: “I thought that the art of the fugue and of improvisation had died out, but I see that they live on in you”. Such a sentiment reveals the great admiration, appreciation and recognition acknowledged by a true connoisseur. And yet Bach’s music was greeted less enthusiastically by a number of his contemporaries. For many, his compositions came across as volcanic outbursts of dissonance and chromaticism, with outrageous bass notes and rapid-fire rhythms. His improvisations were found to be wild, overly-audacious and full of harmonic puzzles with (over-)extended modulations. In an organ competition in Hamburg, Bach could do no better than third place, after Telemann and Graupner. The first Bach biography appeared some one hundred years after his death. Unbelievable!

J. S. Bach represents the highpoint of a contrapuntal tradition. Almost all of Bach’s compositions tend to the fugal; he seems to make a fugue of every composition, whether it be an unpretentious dance or a stately and grand chorale. The climax of this approach is without a doubt Die Kunst der Fuge, Bach’s final work, which reveals the composer as a masterful architect of musical construction based on four perfect and equal voices, and as an inventive painter who is able to explore the whole palette of colours using just one theme.

Flanders Recorder Quartet has a boundless admiration for J. S. Bach. We waited for fifteen years before we dared to record and perform his compositions and to publish our arrangements of them. Would Bach himself have approved? It is a fact that the master himself was fond of reworking compositions which interested him. For the rest, this question must remain unanswered. We ourselves find his music to be so rich and full of genius, so perfect in structure, that the actual scoring is of less importance. Bach’s language is the perfect reflection of the genius from which it sprang: vital, balanced, energetic, driving, poetic, religious, inventive, rhetorical, emotional, introverted, symbolic, personal…

French baroque audiences commended Joseph Bodin de Boismortier’s compositions for their charming, agile, gallant, sweet and joyful character. His music, in which the traverso holds a privileged place, can be digested like a sweet French pâtisserie. He writes expressively and does not shy away from unusual instrumentations: for example, a concerto for five solo flutes is truly rare. Without any editing, FRQ has interpreted the concerto VI from his opus 15, entitled VI Concertos pour Flûtes Traversières ou autres Instruments sans Basse (1727), on five voice flutes. In addition to using stately rhythms, Boismortier spices up the first movement with beautifully-chosen dissonant chords that always resolve, and successfully juggles the interplay between tension and relaxation. The second movement is highly contrasting in this respect: a compelling unison earworm-melody is brought to the fore and alternated with virtuosic solos. In the last movement, Boismortier relentlessly includes many decorative phrase marks. This concerto includes sweetly-voiced Italian melodies that are ornamented in the French style. Thus, he mixes two styles – les goûts réunis – and he can certainly not be reduced to the perfunctory but prolific writer that the encyclopaedias have made of him. Jean-Benjamin Laborde, one of Rameau’s pupils, articulated it aptly in 1780: “Quoique ses œuvres soient oubliéees, quelqu'un qui voudrait se donner la peine de fouiller cette mine abandonnée pourrait y trouver assez de laillettes pour faire un lingot?” [Although these works may have been forgotten, whoever takes pains to rummage through this abandoned mine may he find enough gold to make an ingot?]

Czaldy Waldy — La Manfredina — La Rotta della Manfredina

A hearty dessert with seasonal treats from the good old days. If you play the original melodies of this commissioned work, you’ll arrive at 30 seconds of material at most. In keeping with the Medieval performance tradition, we fantasise and improvise on these melodies at will, like musical jugglers. ‘La Manfredina’ is a complex and repetitive melody, of which we have no textual clues or indications. It’s a dance in two parts, followed by a rotta. ‘La Rotta’ is comprised of similar musical material, although here the slow melody turns into a dance. From the same manuscript also comes the ‘Lamento di Tristano’, a musical interpretation of the original Celtic Saga of the famous singer Tristan, who is passionately in love with Isolde. A solemn exception to this Italian story is the melody ‘Czaldy Waldy’, which is the earliest preserved Czech dance. The title may be a garbling of the Turkish saldy maldy, meaning to start dancing.

WithFesta’ we present to you beautiful compositions meant as “pedagogical exercises”. It’s a perfect example of abstract music. The splendid counterpoints are introduced by a typical English musical form: the ground.  




Brežice, Brežice Castle

The two-storey castle is the mightiest building in Brežice, built in the middle of the 16th century in the site of the castle which was burnt down in 1515, in time of the great peasant revolt.



The price of coach provided for all concerts from Ljubljana and Zagreb is 10€. Departure from Hala Tivoli and Lisinski Hall.