Fellow MPRO Members,


Last month, a friend and I jumped on the opportunity to visit the Brussels Museum of Musical Instruments (MIM), a late 19th century wrought iron filigree marvel stuck incongruously in the middle of the city, surrounded by medieval, renaissance and baroque architecture.

The MIM collection is one of the finest in the world, and much of one of its six floors is devoted to European art music from the 15th through 17th centuries.

 I managed to get a few decent pictures of early recorders, double reeds and the like, despite the large protective cases and dim lighting necessary for their preservation.


More to follow in subsequent installments!


Cheers to everyone this season, in the upcoming concert, and through the winter break. 







Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,


I want to thank the members of the orchestra for their expression of good wishes and support upon learning of my recent medical issues, and I appreciate the way those on the Board have come forward to make the necessary arrangements to accommodate my needs and those of MPRO at this time.  Finally, I want to thank Greta Hryciw for agreeing to serve as the orchestra’s Assistant Director and making the extensive preparations necessary to take my place if the need arose.  I am grateful to all of you.   


And now, here are some of the highlights for the second half of the orchestra's 2013-2014 season:  Plans for MPRO’s spring concert will made early in January.  You will be informed of the date and location as soon as reservations for the performing venue have been confirmed. 


On Saturday, January 25, Paul Leenhouts will direct a workshop for MPRO.  Details about the workshop are in this issue of Upbeat.  This is a rare opportunity to work with one of today’s leading recorder players, teachers and directors, I encourage everyone in the orchestra to take advantage of what promises to be a memorable and exceptionally rewarding experience by attending this workshop next month. 


I am also pleased to announce that Irene Beardsley will be playing keyboard with the orchestra at its upcoming spring concert.  She will also be with us at the January 8 meeting, and since this will be one of the few opportunities to rehearse the music that calls for keyboard with all forces present, I encourage everyone to attend that evening.  Music for the second half of the orchestra’s 2013-2014 season will include an antiphonal baroque concerto by Telemann and two selections from Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1 that I have arranged for recorders, as well as the following music from the first half of the season:  Hotby, Quae est ista; Anonymous, O lusty May, Wo worth the tyme, How shuld my febill body fure; Albinoni, Adagio Op. 9, No. 8 and Cowell, Birthday Piece and Jig.


            Listed below is the music for the orchestra's first three meetings of the New Year.  Please note that there will be sectional seating for the Telemann Concerto, with those playing Soprano Recorder 1-3, Alto Recorder 1 and Tenor Recorder 1-2 sitting on the right as they face the conductor and those  playing Alto Recorder 2, Tenor Recorder 3-4 and Bass Recorder on the left.  Please observe this seating arrangement when you choose your place at the beginning of all three meetings.  Please note as well that bassoon will be needed at all three meetings, contrabass recorders and bass viola da gamba on January 8 and January 29, sopranino recorder, krummhorns and dulcien on January 8 and February 19 and great bass recorders on January 29 and February 19.


January 8

Telemann:  Concerto in B flat Major

Albinoni:  Adagio Op. 9, No. 8

Anonymous:  O lusty May, Wo worth the tyme,

How shuld my febill body fure

Bach:  Passepied I and II


January 29

Telemann:  Concerto in B flat Major

Cowell:  Birthday Piece, Jig

Bach:  Passepied I and II

February 19

Telemann:  Concerto in B flat Major

Hotby:  Quae est ista

Anonymous:  O lusty May, Wo worth the tyme,

How shuld my febill body fure


            I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings and working on this music with you.  Please let any of your friends who play early instruments know about the orchestra's varied activities and invite them to attend an MPRO meeting, workshop or concert.


Sincerely, Fred Palmer



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Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra Presents Workshop with Paul Leenhouts


On Saturday, January 25, 2014, the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra, an affiliate of the San Francisco Early Music Society,   will present a workshop directed by Paul Leenhouts entitled, Dutch Masters, Six Centuries of Music from The Netherlands and Early Flanders. 


Paul Leenhouts has earned international recognition as a founding member of the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet and is considered one of the world’s leading performers, conductors, workshop directors and composers for the recorder.  Two of his recordings have received the prestigious Edison Award, and he is currently Director of Early Music Studies at the University of North Texas.


The workshop will take place at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 330 Ravenswood

in Menlo Park, from 9:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.  


Music for the workshop will include works by Dufay, Sweelinck and arrangements by Paul Leenhouts.  The workshop is open to recorder players from the intermediate to advanced level.  Workshop fees are as follows:  MPRO, SFEMS and ARS members, $50.00; non- members, $55.00.  Please plan on bringing a music stand and a lunch. Snacks and beverages will be provided.  Advanced registration is encouraged, as space is limited.  For further information or to register for the workshop please visit the MPRO website at <> or contact Leslie Pont.  The location of this workshop is wheelchair accessible. 


Dutch Masters

by Frederic Palmer


Text Box: 1609 map of the county of Flanders since the end of the Middle Ages, the area that is now The Netherlands has had a strong, lively and influential musical culture.  Yet we rarely hear any reference to Dutch music during that period or the six hundred years that have elapsed since then.  Part of the reason for this is terminology.  The period from 1400 to around 1450 is referred to as Burgundian, while the school that dominated European music from 1450 to 1550 is referred to as Flemish, and we say that this school was centered in Flanders or the Low Countries.    We therefore forget that from 1400 to 1550 the people we now call Dutch, along with their other Flemish neighbors, were the musical leaders of Europe producing the finest musicians and composers as well as the most important musical innovations on that continent.  After 1550, Dutch music was eclipsed by new musical developments taking place in Italy from around 1550 to 1750 and then in the German speaking countries from roughly 1750 to the early 1900s.  Dutch music, however, did not lose its vitality after the middle of the 16th century but simply adopted the current musical styles cultivated in other parts of Europe during the centuries that followed.  The Dutch also continued to produce musicians and composers comparable to the finest of those found elsewhere in Europe. It should be remembered that Ludwig van Beethoven was of Dutch ancestry.


Text Box: Winter scene by Sebastian Vrancx, 1622File:Sebastian Vrancx02.jpgGiven this history, it is easy to understand why those who sing and play early music today are generally conversant with the Burgundian and Flemish literature but remain largely unacquainted with Dutch music after 1550.  This is unfortunate because of the rich and attractive Dutch musical repertoire that we have from the mid-16th century on.  Examples of this include the music of the 17th-century Dutch organist, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, who played a decisive role in the development of the fugue and produced over 250 vocal works that display an exceptional use of vibrant rhythms and contrapuntal technique.  During the 18th century there is the fine string writing of Dutch composers such Willem de Fesch and the nobleman Unico Willem Graaf van Wassenaer, whose six Concerti Armonici were of such high quality that they were attributed to the Italian master, Pergolesi, as late as 1980.  Early wind players will find a delightful collection of Dutch music in the 17th-century collections entitled, Der Goden Fluit-hemel and ‘t Uitnement Kabinet, and recorder players in particular have the large body of unaccompanied works for that instrument by Jacob van Eyck (c.1590-1657) as well as modern works for recorders by many contemporary Dutch composers.  For those who play an early instrument or enjoy singing early music and wish to expand their repertoire, Dutch music provides a rich offering of possibilities.


On Saturday, January 25, Paul Leenhouts will present a workshop for the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra entitled, Dutch Masters, Six Centuries of Music from The Netherlands and Early Flanders.  Music for the workshop will include works by Dufay, Sweelinck and arrangements by Paul Leenhouts. For further information see the announcement that appears in this issue of Upbeat.






How does a new member find MPRO? You draw us in!


I grew up in Southern California in a Baby Boom house, where everyone took piano lessons, and then added another instrument. The family orchestra included violin, viola, cello, clarinet, and piano. (Everyone performed except my mother, who said she “played the stove and oven.”) Recorder was a good pick, as my first recorder teacher was a neighbor around the block (a way to give the 4th child some independence getting to lessons).  He was also an expert on the California Grey Whale. Perhaps that, combined with listening to my father sing tenor and bass harmony in church, planted the seeds of my love of low voiced instruments.  In middle school I took up the string bass (bass players always get a ride to school), but soon gave it up and went back to an instrument that fits in the pocket - the recorder. In high school I enjoyed the community of singing in various choirs and continued recorder lessons.


Attending UC Berkeley brought me to The Bay Area, and a break from recorder. My husband and I have lived in Santa Clara for close to 40 years, where we raised our three children.  The music in my life consisted of children’s music lessons and singing in the choir, and I found community in the PTA and school volunteering. All three children are up and grown, and as of late October all married (“no grandchildren yet, just pieces of paper" I like to say: master’s degrees, two PhDs on the way).


I am lucky to be a teacher in Moreland School District in San Jose where all 4th graders take recorder. Playing along with my students and watching them begin their musical journeys made me realize how much I missed making music with a group of friends. I happened into Lazar's Early Music with my sister one day, and Bill looked me in the eye and told me I'd better come along to MPRO. When I protested that I was out of musical shape, he wouldn’t let me off the hook.


The rest, as they say, is history: from the first meeting MPRO members have been open and friendly, introducing themselves as many times as it takes for me to remember names, whispering encouragement, inviting me to play in small groups, and welcoming me onto the Board. I've found a great community and the joy that comes, even after a long day at the office, from making music together.




Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra Holiday Concert

          Frederic Palmer, Director

Saturday, December 7, 2:00 p.m.

Grace Lutheran Church

3149 Waverley St., Palo Alto

Admission Free


The program will feature an antiphonal canzona by Giovanni Gabrieli, a setting of The Song of Songs by the late-medieval composer John Hothby, two recorder pieces by Henry Cowell, an Adagio by Albinoni with Nicholas Vigil, oboe soloist, three 16th-century Scottish songs and the Concerto Op. 6, No. 2 by Corelli.

The location of this concert is wheelchair accessible. The Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra is an affiliate of the San Francisco Early Music Society. For further information please visit our website at <  or call Frederic Palmer at 650-591-3648.




The Board: President: Dana Wagner; Treasurer: Leslie Pont; Recording Secretary: Helen Shamble; Membership: Chris Flake; Publicity: TBD; Graphics: Mary Ashley; Newsletter Editor: Mary Ann Field; Workshop Coordinator: Laura Gonsalves, Stuart Elliott; Hospitality: Judith Unsicker; Music Sales: Laura Gonsalves; Historian: vacant; Webmaster: Dan Chernikoff; Facilities Mgr: Grace Butler; Consort Coordinator: vacant; Historian: vacant; Music Director: Fred Palmer. MPRO website: < >             



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