Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra Newsletter

MAY 2004


The editor of our newsletter has informed me that this is the last issue of the newsletter for this season. This gives me a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the Events and Accomplishments we have made this season.

1. October 18, 2003, we had a very successful Workshop with Ken Andresen as Director. Hard work by many members of the Board made this possible.

2. December 6, 2003, we presented a Holiday Concert dedicated to the memory of Ilse Barnhart, Phil Hand and Fred Kamphoefner. A CD was made of this performance.

3. January 12, 2004, an excellent Workshop with Judy Linsenberg was coordinated by Stevie White, our immediate past president of MPRO.

4. Fred Palmer, our Musical Director, understandably so, decided that he no longer should be the sole person responsible for coordinating all of the Workshops and Concerts. He suggested that the organization should assume the major role for performing this function. The unanimous agreement with this suggestion resulted in the establishment of a Workshop Committee. The chairmen and coordinator of this committee is George Greenwood. That committee starting planning for the October 2004 Workshop immediately.

5. March 31, 2004, Glen Shannon served as our Guest Conductor where he conducted several of his own compositions. He began the meeting by conducting “Creeping Dawn: Mountain & Shadow” for 24 recorders by Erik Pearson, a Bay Area resident who attended the meeting. The orchestra was divided into four sextets, with extra players doubling lower parts. On June 6, we will end our activities for this season with our Spring Concert where Glen will conduct one of his compositions.

6. A survey of our members was conducted which showed that the majority of our members are interested in receiving additional information about the music we play. We can expect to see from our Musical Director, on an intermittent basis, excerpts from the publishers of the music chosen for the season.

We are extremely grateful for the service that Kathleen Murphy gave us as Chairman of the Hospitality Committee. With her other hand, she served as Recording Secretary for the Board meetings. We are sorry to see her leave the area and will miss her. The members of MPRO, have always been helpful, for which I am very thankful and thus it is not surprising that Anne-Marie Wiggers, our past Hospitality Chairman, has volunteered to take that work until a new chairman is found. I hope that someone will give serious consideration to that job.

I wish all of you a very happy and relaxing summer and look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Tony Jackson, President


Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

Listed below is the music scheduled for the last two meetings of the 2003-2004 season. Please note that the meeting on June 2 is the dress rehearsal for the spring concert and will take place at the Portola Valley Town Center Multi-Use Room, 765 Portola Road in Portola Valley, at 7:30 P.M. The spring concert will take place at the Portola Valley Town Center Multi-Use Room on Sunday, June 6 at 2:00 P.M. All those who wish to take part in this concert should initial next to their names on a sign-up sheet which will be available at the orchestra's meetings through May 19. Small ensembles are also encouraged to appear in this concert, and those groups which intend to perform on June 6 are asked to give me the following information by May 19: 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. Please note that we will need the services of those who play krummhorn, great bass and contrabass recorders, viola da gamba and oboe at the meeting on May 19 and dress rehearsal on June 2. All those who intend to take part in the concert on June 6 should plan on attending the June 2 dress rehearsal.

May 19 MPRO Rehearsal
Pepusch: Concerto in F
Shannon: Stroll
La Cornetta
Goldstein: Hot a Yid a Weibele
June 2 Dress Rehearsal
7:30 PM

Pepusch: Concerto in F
Shannon: Stroll
Palmer: Sonata for Four Recorders
O infame deloyaulté
Byrd: Fantasia 3
Goldstein: Hot a Yid a Weibele
La Cornetta
Mozart: Minuet

I encourage all MPRO members to take part in the performance on June 6 and to invite their family and friends to attend. Once again, I would like to thank the orchestra's membership for their enthusiasm, hard work and fine playing during the 2003-2004 season as well as welcome those who recently joined MPRO. As always, special thanks go to the orchestra's officers for their invaluable expertise in seeing to the necessary tasks which make MPRO's programs possible and for so ably taking on a greater share of the duties involved in planning and organizing the workshops which the orchestra presents. I would also thank Tony Jackson for agreeing to serve as the orchestra's president and for the fine leadership which he has demonstrated this season. I wish all MPRO members the very best this summer and look forward to seeing all of you again in September at our first meeting of 2004-2005.

Fred Palmer


On Friday, May 14, 2004, 8 pm., the Baroque chamber ensemble Musica Pacifica presents a "virtual tour" of Europe in "Continental Breakfast - a smorgasbord of early music". The program includes chamber arrangements by Musica Pacifica of solo concertos by Vivaldi; colorful sonatas for recorder and obligato harpsichord and for oboe and obligato harpsichord by Telemann; a haunting trio sonata by JS Bach for the unusual combination of voice flute and oboe d'amore with continuo, as well as sonatas by Handel, Uccellini, Merula and others. The performers are Judith Linsenberg, recorder, Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin, Gonzalo Ruiz, oboe, David Morris, cello, and Yuko Tanaka, harpsichord.

The concert will be performed at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez St., SF (between 23rd and Elizabeth Sts. Admission: $20 general; $15 students, seniors and SFEMS members. Tickets at the door. Information: 510-444-4113, or www.musicapacifica.org

Musica Pacifica has been been described as "some of the finest baroque musicians in America" (American Record Guide). Their seven CDs on the Virgin/Veritas and Dorian labels have won both national and international awards.

Subcontra Bass

Having recently procured a contra bass recorder, MPRO members might be interested in the next step downward (in pitch), the subcontra bass. Recorder builder Adriana Breukink came to Berkeley in March 2002 to perform with the Farallon recorder Quartet in the inaugural year of the Bay Area recorder Series. The photo shows her playing a subcontra bass which she made. About 10 feet long, the subcontra bass plays two octaves below the tenor, equivalent to the bassoon in range.

The September 2003 issue of American Recorder reported an interview with Adriana. When asked how long does it take to build a subcontra bass, her reply was "When I only work on this instrument, nothing else, the subcontra bass is one-and-one-half months of work, I think. It’s a lot of work—you need 12 reamers for it. And you have to bore it in stages. Only to make this fontanelle (the perforated barrel that protects the keywork at the bottom of barrel), it’s incredible work…to bore all these holes and to make it hollow. And also to make the block and the voicing—when you want to change something to the voicing, it already takes a few minutes to get the instrument out—to disassemble the pieces and (gesturing to indicate the difficulty) take the block out. It’s really hard work. You get muscles from it, really! (Laughs) I made two in December. I had one worker with me, we started together in August, I think, and they were ready, these two, in December, so I was really stronger." (Adriana Breukink’s website is www.adrianabreukink.com.)

Paetzold offers a subcontra bass with square cross-section. Their ingenious design utilizes a doubled-over bore, so the overall length is reduced to a more manageable size, and the unique key system permits even players with quite small hands to manage them easily.


Save Saturday, October 23, 2004, for MPRO’s fall workshop. Tentatively titled "Reading Between the Notes" the workshop will be led by Tom Bickley. Tom loves playing the recorder and composing, performing and teaching. He uses recorders, voice, and sometimes electronics to encourage performers and audiences to enjoy listening to the world. He recently relocated to the Bay Area from Washington, DC after a composer residency at the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College.

Tom is planning a unique and stimulating workshop for us. Don’t miss it!