Articles, catalogues, databases and bibliographies concerning aspects of the recorder worldwide. An ideal springboard for players, students, teachers, makers and researchers alike.
About the Webmaster
Nicholas S. Lander
My interest in music of the distant past has centred largely on the recorder, though I have played a number of renaissance wind instruments as well as the trombone. In the past I have taught recorder at several tertiary institutions. Occasionally I teach private students who have exhausted other local resources.
The Word on the Street
Behold a remarkable demonstration, never suspected by the inventor, from which it will become clear how vast secrets often lie hidden in common objects. Yet the eyes of the multitude, viewing things superficially rather than radically, will never see through to their reason and foundation.
But all her singing was in vain
To be compared, in sothness [truth],
Unto the excellent sweetness
Of this Floyte melodious,
By force of which Mercurius
Made Argus slepe.
The recorder of his kynde the meane dothe desyre
Manifolde fyngerynge & stoppes bryngithe hy from his tunes clere.
Who lyst to handill an instrument so goode
Must se in his many fyngerynge that he kepe tyme stop and moode.
[Bilney, who gave his life at the stake for his opinions] could abide no swaring nor singing … and when Dr Thurlby, afterwards bishop, the scholar living in the chamber underneath him [at Trinity Hall, Cambridge] would play upon his recorder (as he would often do) he would resort strait to his prayer.
.. and thinke it not a smalle thinge to have lerned to playe on the pype or the recorder.
In a little room, a little plot, a little lifetime,
Hark, the shrill recorders after meat: the Elizabethan
Mayflies in a sliver web which dangled over chaos,
Twirling round and round,
Waited for the silent headsman, countering his silence
With arabesques of sound.
I still can’t imagine a father who is happy when his daughter comes home with a recorder player …
A merrie recorder of London mistaking the name of one Pepper, call’d him Piper: wherunto the partie excepting, and saying: Sir, you mistake, my name is Pepper, not Piper; hee answered: why, what difference is there (I pray thee) between Piper in Latin and Pepper in English; is it not all one? No, Sir, (reply’d the other) there is even as much difference betweene them, as is between a pipe and a recorder.
Cymbals, Pipes, and filthy songs are the very pomps and hodgpotch of the Devil. If a stage player, be it a man or woman, a Chariotor, gladiator, race-runner, a fencer, a practiser of the Olympian games, a fluteplayer, a fidler, a harper, a dancer, an alehouse-keeper, come to turne Christian; either let him give over these professions, or else be rejected.
And to come nearer to our own times, it may be remembered by many now living, that a flute was the pocket companion of many who wished to be thought fine gentlemen. The use of it was to entertain ladies, and such as had a liking for no better music than a song-tune, or such little airs as were then composed for that instrument; and he that could play a solo of Schickhard of Hamburg, or Robert Valentine of Rome, was held a complete master of the instrument. A description of the mutual compliments that attended a request to one of these accomplished gentlemen to perform, or a recital of the forms of entreaty or excuse, with a relation of the apologies, the bows, the congees that passed upon such an occasion, might furnish matter for a diverting scene in a comedy.
La Cicala, a baroque ensemble featuring Brazilian recorder player Inês d’Avena, has recently released its dubut CD. Dolce Napoli, Sonate e Concerti per Flauto is a sampling of the extensive but hitherto neglected early 18th-century repertoire of concertos and sonatas for the recorder from Neapolitan composers, much of it known only from manuscripts. Represented here are Nicola Fiorenza, Francesco Mancini, Filippo Rosa, Leonardo Leo, Pietro Pulij and Domenico Natale Sarro. This delightful and sometimes surprising music is played on reconstructions by Fumitaka Saito of Italian-made recorders of the period, altos by N. Castel and Giovanni Panormo, as well as by Jacob Denner. Inês is a specialist in the study and performance of Neapolitan repertoire for the recorder and has gathered around her a cosmopolitan ensemble whose members hail from North America, South America and Europe.
I might as well endeavour to perswade, that the Sun is a glorious, and beneficial Planet; as take pains to Illustrate Musick with my imperfect praises; for every reasonable Mans own mind will be its Advocate. Musick, belov’d of Heaven, for it is the business of Angels; Desired on Earth as the most charming pleasure of Men. The world contains nothing that is good, but what is full of Harmonious Concord, nor nothing that is evil, but is its opposite, as being the ill favour’d production of Discord and Disorder …
Experience has taught me that hands that are strong and capable of executing that which is fastest and lightest are not always those which succeed in the tender and sentimental pieces, and I would acknowledge in good faith that I like better what touches me than what surprises me.
Men of purblind Understandings, and half Ideas may perhaps ask, is it possible to give Meaning and Expression to Wood and Wire; or to bestow upon them the Power of raising and soothing the Passions of rational Beings? But whenever I hear such a Question put, whether for the Sake of Information, or to convey Ridicule, I shall make no Difficulty to answer in the affirmative, and without searching over-deeply into the Cause, shall think it sufficient to appeal to the Effect. Even in common Speech a Difference of Tone gives the same Word a different Meaning. And with regard to musical Performance, Experience has shewn that the Imagination of the Hearer is in general so much at the Disposal of the Master that by the Help of Variations, Movements, Intervals and Modulation he may almost stamp what Impression on the Mind he pleases.
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.