Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra Newsletter

APRIL 2006


Tony Jackson Dear MPRO Members,

Have you ever had the experience of finding music is to difficult to play, because of being above your level of playing at the time? I am sure that the answer is Yes. There are occasions, however, when the music we are attempting to play is just not appropriately written for recorders. On the web site of the Orpheus Publications Recorder Co., there is an article by Benjamin Thorn entitled "Writing for the Recorder". The author starts his article by pointing out that when writing for the recorder (as for any other instrument), it is important to remember the strengths and weaknesses of the instrument. Mr. Thorn makes the following points:

The recorder does not have a great range of dynamics and flowing passages with crescendos and diminuendos should be avoided. The general rule is to keep the number of dynamics down. Accents are usually done with the tongue and should imply a "sforzando" which is likely to be out of tune, and since players usually tongue all notes except those the slur sign, it is probably unnecessary to overdo the articulation marks. Only show those that are important. As a general rule slurs should not be used to indicate phrases.

Besides the five common types of recorders we are familiar with are three other types of recorders:

- Garklein Flautlein is an octave higher the descant (soprano). The author points out that sitting next to someone playing this instrument can be like having nails driven into your head!
- Great Bass (lowest written note C below the bass cleft but sounds an octave higher)
- Contrabass (lowest note F below bass cleft).

The safe range for most recorders is 2 octaves and a note.

Recorders have strong and weak notes. On a treble the lowest F# and G# (on a C instrument C# and D#) are quite weak sounding notes and should be avoided in strong musical gestures.

Finally, an important thing to remember is that recorder players (like all wind players) have to breathe.

There is no attempt to indicate that information abstracted from the article referred to is complete and none controversial. But it does indicate that some of the problems we may have are not always due to the level of our abilities. We should avoid trying music that is not suitable for recorders. (I refer you to www.orpheusmusic.com for the complete article).

Needless to say, we member of MPRO have avoided most of these problems. This is because our Music Director, Fred Palmer, selects the music which we play.

Tony Jackson, President


Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

The orchestra's spring concert will take place at Grace Lutheran Church, 3149 Waverley Street in Palo Alto on Sunday, June 4, at 3:00 P.M. All those planning on taking part in this performance are expected to attend the dress rehearsal at 7:30 P.M. on Wednesday, May 31, at Grace Lutheran Church. A sign-up sheet for those planning on taking part in the spring concert will be available at the meeting on April 19. Small ensembles are invited to appear in this concert, and those groups which intend to perform on June 4 are asked to give me the following information by May 17: 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.

Listed below is the music for the orchestra’s next two meetings. Please note that the meeting on April 19 will be a joint rehearsal with Gabrieli West. This will be one of only two occasions we will have to practice the Schmelzer Sonata and Gabrieli’s Chiar’ Angioletta with Joyce Johnson’s ensemble, and it is most important that everyone who plans on playing in the June concert attend this meeting. Also, contrabass recorders will be needed at both meetings, krummhorns will be needed on April 19 and great bass recorders will be needed on May 3.

April 19 MPRO Rehearsal
Schmelzer: Sonata a otto
Gabrieli: Chiar’ Angioletta
Shostakovitch: Fugue No. 1
May 3 MPRO Rehearsal
Schmelzer: Sonata a otto
Machaut: Donnez, signeurs
Sha, Shtil
Rumshinsky: A Bis’l Libe, un a Bisele Glik
Shostakovitch: Fugue No. 1

I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings.

Fred Palmer

MPRO Participates in Documentary

Vince Wong, an international student from Malaysia, being hosted by George Greenwood, is attending the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He is majoring in Motion Picture and Television, hoping to eventually be a film writer/director. One of his class assignments this semester is to produce a 3-5 minute documentary on a subject of his choosing. He decided on the baroque recorder as his documentary topic, and has used MPRO as his primary source for information. He recorded the orchestra during tuning and some playing during the 15 March rehearsal.

Annette Bauer and Glen Shannon Directs SBRS WORKSHOP

The South Bay Recorder Society presents “Anonymous to Bach: A Garden of Musical Delights”, a workshop directed by Annette Bauer and Glen Shannon. The workshop will be held Saturday, April 22, 2006, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, at the First United Methodist Church, 11 Church Street, Los Gatos, Ca.

The workshop sessions will feature English medieval, German Baroque and Contemporary music. For details and registration contact Liz Brownell at (408) 358-0878 or visit the SBRS website at http://sfems.org/sbrs

MOZART'S "Magic Boot" in San Francisco on APRIL 24

The San Francisco Early Music Society, for its fundraiser, is pleased to present "The Magic Boot", a spoof on Mozart's "Magic Flute". The performance will feature Draconia Crocodilia, the world's first and leading coloratura countertenor. For those who have attended Draconia's extravaganzas in the past, you can expect unrivalled musicality, century-hopping repertoire, tessatura-defying pyrotechnics, and at least one wardrobe malfunction. Included in the musical repast will be:

*Coloratura Baroque arias
*Carefully revised arias from the Magic Flute aligned with the Brokeback Mountain libretto
*Self-help presentation for ensemble disfunctionales
*Master class by Herr Prof. Janos Starker who will dissect and ultimately eviscerate all fellow professionals who had previously thought they knew how to play
*Assorted Divertimenti

The Performance will take place Monday April 24 at St. Gregory Nyssen Church at DeHaro and Mariposa, San Francisco. Doors open at 7 pm and the performance begins at 7:30. Light refreshments will be served. Suggested Donation is $50, students $20. For information, contact Karen Nebelkopf at (510) 388-9270 or knebelkopf@earthlink.net Send checks to her at 6641 Simson Street, Oakland, CA. If you are unable to attend but wish to support SFEMS programs, donations are most welcome.

ENSEMBLE AROW presents Musical Traditions of EASTERN EUROPE

For its 2006 Berkeley concert Ensemble American Recorder Orchestra of the West (AROW) delves into the musical traditions of Eastern European peoples and reveals their souls. Concert-goers will have an experience that fascinates and holds spellbound all who come to hear it. The orchestra and its small ensembles will play works by well known composers – Bartok, Dvorak, Shostakovich – and ones unfamiliar – Martinu, Vodnansky, Mokranjac – and include folk music & song as well, from Romania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia & Russia.

Sunday, April 30 – 3 pm at All Souls Episcopal Church, 2220 Cedar St., Berkeley. $10 Adult - $7 Student & Senior - $5 Children under 12. Admission at door. For further information contact Richard Geisler, Director: richgeis@jps.net - 530-477-2293 or Greta Hryciw, Co-Director: hryciw@pacbell.net – 415-377-4444.

Glen Shannon Directs MPRO

On March 22 Glen Shannon came and led the MPRO in his new composition “Peanut Butter Prelude & Fugue”. The Prelude was “Crunchy”, with lots of staccato notes, while the Fugue was “Smooth”. Glen’s humor and enthusiasm made the evening most enjoyable.

If you only play Brandenburg concertos and fugues you have to learn to think outside the Bachs.