recorder was an important medieval instrument, and it played a prominent part,
too, in Renaissance music, both in broken consort (with other instruments such
as the lute, viola da gamba, etc.) and in closed consort (with different members
of its own family). After about 1600 the recorder family declined and was
survived mainly by one member-the alto. As a leading Baroque solo and ensemble
instrument the alto recorder's repertoire includes works by Purcell, Alessandro
Scarlatti, Telemann, Handel, Vivaldi and Bach. With the shift from the music
room to the concert hall that began about 1750, the orchestra grew larger and
the instruments louder; the gentle recorder disappeared from the scene as did
its contemporaries, the harpsichord and viola da gamba.
recorder was also called SWEET PIPES, or Flauto dolce, one of the many names the
recorder has borne in its long history (others are Flauto, flute douce, Flute a
bec, Flauto di voce, English Flute, Common Flute, and simply Flute).
The recorder was revived in the 1920's by Arnold Dolmetsch, the English music antiquarian, who built and restored old instruments in order to play pre-1750 music as it was originally conceived. With its beautiful tone, simplicity of construction and initial ease of learning it was soon taken up enthusiastically and in great numbers by amateurs.
click on the name of the composer to hear the compositions.
- was a
secular Spanish refrain form with a vernacular text set to relatively
uncomplicated music. In performing these pieces instrumentally we follow a
favorite Renaissance practice-Spanish 16th Century. 5 Songs 3 by Juan
del Enciňa and 2 Anon.
(c.1675-1741) - CONCERTO IN C MAJOR
this concerto and two others for the "flautino" ("little
flute"), but historians are not sure what "flautino" meant in
Vivaldi's day. Among the possibilities are sopranino recorder, piccolo,
flagealet and military fife.
3. John Bull
(c.1562-1628) - "IN NOMINE" RECORDER QUINTET
Nornine" is a peculiarly English species of instrumental composition (over
150 exist) based on the cantus firmus (pre-existent melody) from the "In
Nomine" passage of Taverner's Mass, "Gloria tibi Trinitas." Since
the cantus firmus is frequently quoted in long notes, some of the form's
popularity might be due to the unique opportunity it affords the novice player
to participate in music of the utmost seriousness and complexity.
(c.1620-84) -SONATA A 2 in D Minor (TRIO SONATA) Soprano recorder, bassoon,
continuo (harpsichord, viola da gamba).
"trio sonata" 'refers to a composition with two solo lines and a bass,
and not necessarily to the number of instruments involved-which is usually
greater. The performance is based on Dr. Hans T. David's manuscript copy of the
original which specifies violin and either bassoon or viola da gamba as solo
instruments. The original title is "Sonata a 2."
The performer of old enjoyed unusual freedom, and in a general way we are
beginning to know how this freedom was expressed. We can never, though, be sure
of the myriad details, of the elusive and ephemeral qualities of performance
that defy translation into notation. They must be supplied by intuition and
experience. These qualities are shared in abundance by the members of the
Baroque Ensemble. As knowledgeable and sensitive chamber players, their
contribution to the performances on this record is invaluable.
(1644-1704) SONATA PRO TABULA A
10 Five recorders, strings, continuo. The pronounced Eastern European folk
flavor of parts of this interesting work can be attributed to Biber's Bohemian
birth. As "table" music, the sonata was designed to accompany a meal
or banquet, probably at the palace of the Prince-Bishop of Olomouc who employed
Biber during the years 1666-1670.
(1583-1625) - FANTASIA A2 for Two alto recorders.
Renaissance instrumental duo seems expressly and almost diabolically designed to
trip up an unwary player. The characteristically complex cross-rhythms of the
genre are challenging; they add zest to the contest between composer and player.
Teleman Concerto Even
though Telemann is a composer for next semester, this concerto is included as an
additional example of the versatility to which the recorder was used.