Earlier this May, I wrote about a freak discovery when looking online. A new recording by Goebel's Musica Antiqua, by an obscure composer named Johann Friederich Meister. I've been listening to it a lot since May. I am struck by two things, I believe, separately, and those are (as one might suspect): (1) the composer's work or contribution (some really good writing contained within), (2) the sound and performance of MAK. Let me approach those in reverse order. MAK well documents the instruments they've used since their commercial releases by HPP-aware labels like Archiv in the late 1970s. Goebel shared his own instruments with fellow colleagues. This gave MAK a "sound" one can pick out from among the competition. And it was a certain sound (one might say one heavily weighted towards the craft of one Jakob Stainer). Manfredo Kraemer, an alumnus of MAK, has done something similar in his recordings with his Rare Fruits Council, playing on instruments by David Techler. But in this recording the forces are light: Goebel and Schardt on violins, Brandt on cello, and Berben on harpsichord. I can't say what instrument Klaus-Dieter Brandt plays, but his sound mixes well with those Goebel violins. But even beyond the sound, this group might be described as the "core" of the latest MAK sound, having collaborated on their successful projects earlier in the decade with Bachiana. Moreoever, MAK under Goebel seemed to have found that impeccable interpretive style that was lost on some of their other contemporaneous recordings (including the ones of Dowland, Telemann violin concerti, or Gluck). These other recordings were not poor ones; but never has the modern MAK ever sounded so focused since their recordings, say, of Bach in the 1980s or confident, as with their Telemann Tafelmusik. The strength of the interpretation here is what made this release so outstanding. Next, we've got this composer that likely most folks hadn't heard of prior. Meister wrote compelling music for his time; he died likely after the turn of the 18th century. The harmonies and their progressions are as rich as anything written in the instrumental oeuvre of the time. The rhythmic motifs are arresting in an agreeable, almost foot-tapping way. There's a conservative side to his writing too, but none such that we might be led to yawn. This composer's surname as no joke. A master he was. I've been trying to find music this week that somehow fits the gravitas (for me) of the passing of Apple co-founder and chairman, Steve Jobs. No doubt Jobs was not a fan of MAK or of the music of Johann F. Meister. But I feel we've lost an inspirational soul. My method to deal with this is to seek-out appropriate music. MAK came on my radar, of course, and their recording of this mysterious composer, a surprise treat, really, came to the forefront along with their recording of Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge.