Compiled by Nicholas S. Lander
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 privately and at several tertiary institutions.
The Word on the Street
Not Just the Alto: Sizes and Types of Recorder in the Baroque and Classical Periods, by David Lasocki (2020)
According to the standard history of the recorder, the consort went out of fashion in the early seventeenth century, the alto (British: treble) became the almost exclusive size of the Baroque period, with the solo sonata as its main vehicle (apart from a handful of concertos for smaller sizes), and the instrument virtually disappeared around 1740. In the last 20 years, however, copious evidence has been uncovered, by David Lasocki and other researchers, that creates a new view of recorder history, which recognizes that between 1600 and 1800 many sizes of recorder were employed in a rich and broad repertoire of instrumental and vocal music. This is the territory that David explores in his latest book, drawing on written evidence (inventories, advertisements, sales, purchases, and employment records) and the surviving repertoire. The book aims to raise consciousness about what Hans Oskar Koch called ‘special forms’ of the recorder by demonstrating that they were not as special as both he and we have supposed. A must-read for all lovers of the recorder as well as anyone interested in early woodwind instruments and their music. Over 400 pages, including an introductory summary chapter, and index of terms and 15 musical examples.
Thoughts on the Recorder — essential reading for all players
This inspiring book by Geert Van Gele, founder of the Flanders Recorder Quartet, deserves a place by every recorder player’s side. It distills a life-time of experience performing and teaching and explores many aspects of recorder choice, care, maintenance, technique, interpretation and musicianship which will prove invaluable to the serious amateur or pre-professional student. Available in printed form or downloadable in iBook (EPUB) and PDF formats, this 400-page book is linked to a series of 36 freely accessible YouTube videos which summarise and illustrate each chapter.
The great German recorder epidemic, reinventing the recorder, 1925–1950, by Paul Ehrlich (2021)
In this Essay, Robert Ehrlich examines the origins, spread, and consequences of the “recorder epidemic” in 1930s Germany. In the final years of the Weimar Republic, the recorder was reinvented as a simplified, “organic” instrument suitable for mass-production, then marketed as a Volksblockflöte, or “people’s recorder,” after the Nazis’ rise to power in 1933. By the end of the decade, inexpensive school recorders had emerged “triumphal” as a familiar symbol of the indoctrination of children in the Hitler Youth. Several passionate advocates of the recorder, forced into exile as Jewish refugees, brought their dedication to the instrument with them. Thus redeemed from association with the horrors of the “Third Reich,” the school soprano recorder came to be adopted internationally after the War in elementary music education.