One of our ex-co-presidents returns to the Up Beat bully pulpit to sing praises for an historical novel that will tweak the interest of, and provide entertainment for, the many players of Baroque music.

                                                                                          Amy Booth







On a spring evening in 1747, after a two-day journey by coach from Leipsig, sixty-two year old Johann Sebastian Bach arrived in Potsdam with the intent of spending a restful evening in the house of his son, Carl Emanuel.  However, when the young king, Frederick the Great, age thirty-five, received his usual list of arrivals at the Potsdam town gate, he remarked to his assembled private chamber music group, “Gentlemen, old Bach is here,” and he called for the composer to be brought to the palace immediately.  Thus began the evening, probably unmatched in time, that resulted in one of the great works of art in the history of music—J.S. Bach’s A Musical Offering.  Its inception was a result of Frederick’s insidious musical machinations that were intended to humiliate Bach.  Frederick succeeded!  Bach left the palace fuming.  So ended the only meeting during the common lifetime of these two of the era’s loftiest geniuses.


Bach, a father of the late Baroque, and Frederick, a son of the early Enlightenment, “shared in one of the thorniest of all issues raised by the Enlightenment—The role of belief in a world of reason.  Bach’s Musical Offering (to Frederick) might be read as a kind of last will and testament: that a world without a sense of the transcendent and mysterious, a universe ultimately discoverable thru reason alone, can only be a barren place: and that music sounding forth from such a world might be very pretty, but it can never be beautiful.”


For J.S. Bach lovers, Evening in the Palace of Reason by James R. Gaines is a great read!


                                                                                                Grace Butler





Conductor’s Corner



Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,


Listed below is the music for the orchestra’s next two meetings. Please note that the meeting on Tuesday, November 29, is the dress rehearsal for the orchestra’s holiday concert and will take place at Grace Lutheran Church, 3149 Waverley Street in Palo Alto at 7:30 P.M.  The holiday concert will take place at Grace Lutheran Church on Saturday, December 3, at 2:00 P.M.  All those planning on taking part in this performance are expected to attend the dress rehearsal on November 29.  As in the past, small ensembles are encouraged to appear in this concert.  Those groups that intend to perform at the holiday concert are asked to send me the following information by November 16:  the title(s) of the music to be performed, the name(s) of the composer(s), the name of the ensemble (if any) and the names of the ensemble's members.  Regarding the upcoming meetings, please note that great bass and contrabass recorders as well as viola da gamba will be needed at both, and krummhorns and dulcien on November 29.



November 16

Boyce:  Symphony No. 3

Dunstable:  Sancta Maria

Britten:  Wulcom Yole!

Piazzolla:  Resurrección del Ángel; Un Dia de Paz;

Los Paraguas de Buenos Aires



Tuesday, November 29

Dress rehearsal for the MPRO holiday concert

Grace Lutheran Church, 7:30 P.M.

Angels We Have Heard on High; O Little Town of Bethlehem;

 Joy to the World

Boyce:  Symphony No. 3

Britten:  Wulcom Yole!

Brade:  Allmand

Purcell:  Suite in G Major

Dunstable:  Sancta Maria

Piazzolla:  Resurrección del Ángel; Un Dia de Paz;

Los Paraguas de Buenos Aires



I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming meetings and concert.




Fred Palmer





A  Message from our Treasurer


We are off for another great season!  As most of you know, MPRO is a non-profit organization operating as an affiliate of the San Francisco Early Music Society, SFEMS.  We rely on membership dues, workshop profits and donations to pay our bills.  As costs increase, as did our rental fees this year for JL Stanford Middle School's Music Room where we practice, our     expenses climb faster than our income.  As  a result, we are once again asking for donations to help cover our operating costs.  Last year, we dipped into our general fund again in order to make ends meet, and this is not an infinitely sustainable process.  Please consider donating to MPRO to help us     keep playing together the music we all enjoy.  Checks may be made to MPRO or, preferably, to SFEMS; you can give the checks to me, and I will send them  onward to SFEMS.


   A big Thank You to those who have already generously donated to MPRO this year during these very tight economic times.


   Many thanks,    Leslie Pont, Treasurer


   P.S.  If you have not yet paid your dues for this season, please help us by doing so.




u    u    u    u    u    u    u    u    u    u



"'Tis as easy as lying."


So says Shakespeare's Hamlet (Act 3 Scene 2) while trying to teach Guidenstern to play the recorder.


Guildenstern and Rosencranz were acquaintances of Hamlet's at college, and now they have been sent for to try to distract and cheer up the gloomy prince.  Failing that, the friends are to take a little jaunt with Hamlet to England and, while abroad, do him in.  But Hamlet is aware of the plot.


After a play within the play Hamlet notes: "Come, some music, come the recorders" and presumably the musicians perform.   Hamlet and the two friends move aside, and Shakespeare gives a stage direction "Enter one with a recorder."  Then. Hamlet to Guildenstern:  "Will you pay upon this  pipe?"  Guildenstern protests that he doesn't know how and that's when Hamlet says:  "'Tis as easy as lying.  Govern these ventages with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth and it will discourse most excellent music."  Later he says: "There is much music, excellent voice in this little organ."


The point is that Rosencranz and Guildenstern can't play on a simple recorder but they think they can play on Hamlet.  And the upshot is that Hamlet, being smarter than the two, foil their plot to kill him while abroad and instead they wind up dead.


                                       -Lois Ario




Text Box: west valley music

Moeck and Yamaha recorders

LARGE selection of recorder music


262 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041




Our annual Holiday Concert will be held on Saturday, December 3, at the Grace Lutheran Church, 3149 Waverley Street in Palo Alto at 2:00 P.M.



u    u    u    u    u





Kung Tenor Recorder Palisander, ivory mouthpiece and rings, single C-key strong and clear sound, easily accessible top range.  $450.


Angela Owen.

u    u    u    u    u




The Board: President: Amy Booth;  Treasurer: Leslie Pont;  Membership: Chris Flake;  Publicity: Marguerite Dilley;  Newsletter Editor:  Dick Davies;  Music Sales: Laura Gonsalves;  Graphics: Mary Ashley;  Webmaster:  Dan Chernikoff;  Workshop Coordinator: TBD;  Consort Coordinator: TBD;  Hospitality: Stevie White & Claire Heinzelman;   Historian:  TBD;  Music Director: Fred Palmer.       MPRO  website: < >








Past Months