Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra Newsletter



Grace and Liz It’s Fall 2007, and “here we go again, about to take that ride again, starry-eyed again, taking a chance on” Fred. But wait...we’re not taking that chance this year! As the first UpBeat contributor of the season, our beloved music sales lady Laura Gonsalves, has produced proof beyond the shadow of a doubt of the legitimacy of our MPRO conductor, Fred Palmer....See below.

Grace and Liz (Co-Presidents)

All About Fred

When Angela Owen decided to retire from her position as MPRO director in 1987, auditions were held to find a new director. The final three candidates were Bob Dawson, Judith Linsenberg, and Fred Palmer. After sessions with each of the three, MPRO members voted to have Fred be the new director. When we meet in September, Fred will be starting his 20th year with MPRO!

Fred was born in Chicago in 1946, but moved to California with his family – parents and one younger sister - when his father took a job here. In high school he studied oboe and string instruments and also took up recorder. He continued on to San Mateo Community college; at this time Fred was a member of MPRO, which was then under the direction of Bill Barnhart, the founding director. Fred then went to Cal State Hayward – now called Cal State East Bay – where he received a B.A. in Music with a major in oboe. Next he went to Stanford and studied early music performance practice and graduated with an M.A. in Music. Following graduation, Fred began working at Cal State East Bay part time while also teaching music in a private school in Berkeley. Fred has directed workshops sponsored by the American Recorder Society as well as Renaissance wind band, Baroque ensemble, and recorder orchestra. Locally he often is on the staff at the SFEMS summer workshops and at East Bay Recorder Society’s annual Marin Headlands workshop.

Much of the music that we play in MPRO is arranged by Fred and he also has composed quite a few pieces. Fred was a senior in high school when he first had a composition performed. His composition, Entrevista, was awarded first prize in the 1986 Erich Katz Memorial Fund Composition Contest sponsored by the American Recorder Society. ARS has also published Fred’s Serie, a challenging duet for two altos. Other works include Malibu Winter and The Glass Elevator, which have been performed by MPRO, as was Entrevista.

When Fred is not busy working at Cal State East Bay where he is an instrument/equipment technician, or coaching ensembles, or planning for MPRO, he enjoys hiking around the Belmont Hills, where he lives in a home with a fantastic view of the Bay. He also takes time to visit his 95 year old father who lives in Clear Lake Oaks.

When asked about his future plans for MPRO, Fred replied…”keep doing new and exciting things; expand into new areas; do things we haven’t done before.”


Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

Welcome to MPRO’s forty-fifth season during which the orchestra will explore some exceptionally fine and unusual musical works. Here are some of the highlights for 2007-2008: The holiday concert in December will include a rousing sonata with various dances by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, the Adagio from Tomaso Albinoni’s Oboe Concerto Op. 9, No. 2 with Nicholas Vigil, soloist, and the popular melody, Dos Pintele Yid, arranged for recorders. There will also be encore performances of Guillaume Dufay’s Italian song, La Dolce Vista, Josquin des Prez’s frottola, El Grillo, Cum sanctis tuis from Mozart’s Requiem Mass K. 626 and the Corelli Concerto Op. 6, No. 3.

The spring concert, scheduled for May 31, will feature a collaboration involving MPRO and the California State University East Bay Singers, directed by Dr. Buddy James, in a performance of the complete Missa Ego flos campi composed for two antiphonal choirs by the 17th-century Spanish composer, Juan Gutierrez de Padilla (c.1590-1664). This Mass was written in Puebla, Mexico, during the mid-1600s and exhibits the exuberance and lively rhythms characteristic of Spanish music during this period. The orchestration will call for the orchestra’s full instrumental resources: recorders from sopranino to contrabass, krummhorns, viola da gamba, dulcien and organ. Following MPRO’s afternoon concert the orchestra will repeat the Missa Ego flos campi that evening at the California State University, East Bay Hayward Hills campus. I hope all of you will be able to take advantage of this unique opportunity to perform a truly remarkable example of late-renaissance/early-baroque music from the Americas.

On Saturday, October 27, Frances Blaker will be presenting a workshop for MPRO. For details, please see the announcement that appears in this issue of Upbeat. Frances Blaker is an accomplished performer and teacher as well as one of the Bay Area’s most popular music directors. I encourage everyone to attend this workshop and take advantage of the opportunity to work with one of this area’s finest musicians.

Listed below is the music for the first three meetings of the orchestra. Music can be purchased at these meetings. Those returning from last season can use their parts to the Dufay, La dolce vista, Josquin’s El Grillo, Mozart’s Fugue in D minor and the Corelli, Concerto. Please note that great bass and contrabass recorders will be needed at all three meetings, bass viola da gamba and dulcien on September 12 and October 10, and krummhorns on September 26.

Wednesday, September 12 - GB, CB, VdG, Dl MPRO Rehearsal
Schmelzer: Sonata con aire
Albinoni: Adagio
Corelli, Concerto Op. 3, No. 3
Wednesday, September 26 - K, GB, CB MPRO Rehearsal
Dos Pintele Yid
Dufay, La dolce vista
Mozart, Fugue in D minor
Josquin: El Grillo
Wednesday, October 10 - GB, CB, VdG, Dl MPRO Rehearsal
Albinoni: Adagio
Schmelzer: Sonata con aire
Dos Pintele Yid
Corelli, Concerto Op. 3, No. 3

I look forward to working with you again in September and encourage you to let any of your friends who play early instruments know about the orchestra's varied activities this season and invite them to attend our upcoming meetings, workshops and concerts.

Fred Palmer


Laura Gonsalves Laura Gonsalves was born in Connecticut and moved with her family to California in 1948. A graduate of San Jose State, Laura taught elementary school for 30 years and retired in 1994. She raised four children and has seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

Laura learned to play recorder – and read music – when she took a class in Recorder for the Classroom Teacher. Soon after that she joined MPRO and now also plays in several small consorts and the South Bay Recorder Society.

Tennis, gardening, birding, and traveling with her husband are other activities that Laura enjoys.

A New Early Music Group For Your Listening Pleasure

In addition to the Albany Consort, for which a superb program was reviewed in the May 2007 issue of UP BEAT, another ensemble for Early Music, called “Toutes Suites,” made its debut in the Bay Area this spring at the 1st Lutheran Church in Palo Alto. Directed by Dr. Marianne Richert Pfau, this group offers delectable chamber music of the Baroque Period using historical instruments. With its flexible cast, the ensemble often premieres long-lost works, restored ‘from the dusty page to the modern stage.’ In this case, collaborating with Albany Consort principals, Jonathan Salzedo and Marion Rubinstein, Toutes Suites premiered, for the first time in the U.S., three sonatas by Johann Michael Müller (1683-1743), featuring baroque and tenor oboes with violins, backed by harpsichord, organ, cello, and bassoon. Oboe bands of this kind were very popular in Europe during the 17th century, but were eclipsed by the string orchestra in the mid-18th century. Toutes Suites did a marvelous job of reviving the robust and colorful music in their performance of the three Müller sonatas, which were framed by Salzedo-arranged, well-known works by Vivaldi, Corelli, and Bach. In two of these arrangements, virtuoso recorder performances, backed by the ensemble, thrilled the assembled audience. In the future, look for programs by Toutes Suites and attend their concerts. Their music is really very special.

Keith Kvenvolden

A Comparison of Renaissance and Baroque – What sets them apart?

Frances Blaker On Saturday, October 27th, The Mid-Peninsula Recorder Workshop will present a workshop conducted by Frances Blaker entitled: A Comparison of Renaissance and Baroque – What sets them apart?

What are the differences between works from these two periods? How can you tell if you are playing renaissance or baroque music? Should one play differently depending from which time period the music comes? These questions and more will be addressed during the day-long workshop. More specifically, focus will be on music from the earlier part of each of these musical eras.

Renaissance composers Josquin, Isaac and Mouton were nearly exact contemporaries, having lived during the later part of the 15th – and the early part of the 16th centuries. All three had great influence on the compositions of others during that time. Josquin and Isaac worked all over Europe while Mouton worked exclusively in France. The music of all three composers was much admired and survives in many manuscripts and printed collections – a sure sign of great fame and respect during this period.

One hundred years later Giovanni Gabrielli, Monteverdi and Cima, all straddled the end of the renaissance and the beginning of the baroque periods, and as such were part of the formation of baroque music. Gabrielli was one of the first to specify particular groups of instruments and voices in writing his spectacular sacred compositions. Monteverdi is perhaps best known as the composer of “Orfeo”, one of the very first operas, still frequently performed to this day. Vocal monody and opera had great influence on composers of all sorts and the instrumental sonata developed directly from these vocal genres. Cima, though lesser known today than the other two, was the first composer to write trio sonatas, a very important development in instrumental composition and a staple of baroque music.

The workshop will address the musical features that distinguish these two periods through playing exciting and beautiful works, some well known, others brought forth from the dusts of time and given a thorough shake! The main focus will be on recorders, including a short technique warm-up to start the day, but viols and voices, renaissance flutes and dulcians (tastefully played, of course) will be welcome as well. Please reserve this date for some thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring music making.

The workshop will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston Road, Palo Alto, from 9:30 until 4:30. See the enclosed flyer for details and registration form.

You are invited to be our guest at the next meeting of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra.
Bring your instruments and a music stand or just come and listen.

The Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra 2007-2008 season rehearsals begin on Wednesday, September 12 from 8:00 to 10:00 PM at Jane Stanford Middle School, Room 060; 480 East Meadow Dr., Palo Alto. The orchestra is open without audition to recorder, early wind, or early string players who are able to read and play the music provided at meetings.

2007-2008 meetings will be held on the following dates:
Sept 12, 26; Oct 10, 24; Nov. 7, 21;
Jan - June; To be announced. (Normally the first and third Wednesdays of each month).
Concerts in December, 2007 and May 31, 2008.

For further information please contact: Music Director Fredric Palmer (650) 591-3648, Co-Presidents Grace Butler (650) 493-1965, Liz Brownell (408) 358-0878, or visit our website at www.sfems.org/mpro.

MPRO is an affiliate of the San Francisco Early Music Society


A reminder that your dues for the 2007-2008 season is due: $80.00 for Participating Member, $20.00 for Associate Member. Make your check to MPRO and give to Chris at the September 12 meeting, or mail to Christopher Flake.

Please enclose an updated application form with your payment. (See HERE.) If the info hasn't changed from last year, just write your name. Be sure Chris has your latest e-mail address. Please do fill in any consort requests and your preferred instrument choices.

Chris Flake

For Concert Dates, etc.

If you don’t receive this newsletter regularly, please go to our website at www.sfems.org/mpro.