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#3511 Zixi

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 08:28

I wonder if it's the same piece? smile.png and it has a cycle of 11 years so will next show up as a question in 2030. laugh.png It'd be nice to know a little more about it as a dance.  I think I've been given it to play because of b flats and e flats and a nice sprinkling of accidentals to keep entertained for a week...


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#3512 elemimele

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 09:08

I couldn't agree more about anthologies! In the past, there was some excuse for bald anthologies that are merely a bound set of bits of music, because the originals were hard to come by, and music type-setting was very specialist. And everyone had a teacher to guide on interpretation. Nowadays there's a lot of period music available in original form on IMSLP and a few similar sites, and Musescore is available for free, doing quite a decent job of creating modern, well laid-out sheet music. In fact for Baroque stuff, anything published by Rogers in Amsterdam is fine as it was then - modern typesetting really doesn't improve it, and the originals are remarkably free of errors (but, very big but, if you're the accompanist, you're stuck with figured bass... this is where modern anthologists pull their weight).

I do think anthologists should consider whether they're adding any value to the work they publish, or whether they're merely packaging someone else's work. There are some examples of superb anthologies; there's an ABRSM Baroque keyboard series somewhere with very thorough notes on performance, style and interpretation, and all the good anthologies have notes on the composer. The Amadeus series of Van Eyck has extensive notes on the original tunes. The Schott Baroque anthologies (Bowman and Heyens) have the added value of the figured bass realisations, notes, and an accompanying CD with complete performance or "Karaoke" version, accompaniment only. These are all really good. On the other side, there is the anthology of Renaissance dances that features so heavily in the ABRSM syllabus which is nothing but some readily-available tunes shorn of musical context and stuck in a cover with a copyright statement.

Perhaps one reason why anthologies rarely have historical notes is that musicians are often terrible historians. I don't mean that as a huge criticism; the skills and hard work needed of a performer are completely different to those needed of a musical historian, and it's a tall ask to expect one individual to do both. Many musicians also take the (very reasonable) attitude that the point of music is to sound good, so why worry about anything else? Who cares if Gerbermeyer wrote this piece for the mistress of Prince Theobold of Floetenwald, who used to play it in the bath. Thing is, I actually enjoy the human stories where they're available.

The other thing that anthologies do is encourage the player to broaden their taste; you buy the anthology for piece A, and find yourself playing piece B - so you are buying the anthologist's skill in picking good pieces. This is a double-edged sword; it encourages the player to explore the garden, but it doesn't encourage them to leap over the fence. So often, a composer remains known only for the pieces that have appeared in a good anthology.


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#3513 elemimele

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 21:02

Oooh, two posts in one day, I'm getting carried away. Have been listening to the orchestra of the Bach foundation, Maria Cristina Kiehr as soloist, playing a Bach cantata. It's a good listen, not only because the standard is top notch, and the soloist is my latest heroine, but because of the interesting mix of period instruments. There is the normal selection of strings, period oboes, and a couple of recorders, as well as something strange and curvy that looks like an oboe at one end and has a flared bell like a trumpet at the other, and a period bassoon. When in Tutti mode, of course the sound is completely dominated by the strings; the recorders might just as well go off and have a tea-break. But then, half way through, suddenly the recorders do a bit of accompaniment without the violins and oboes, and suddenly we hear their completely different timbre, used to great effect. It's lovely to hear this transition-orchestra, and what it can do. In many ways, it is far more versatile than the modern orchestra, and far less muddy in its overall effect. Because there are less musicians, it has better clarity. The recorders offer a wildly different timbre to the strings, and the oboes; these older, more mellow oboes are able to operate as accompaniment, unlike the modern oboe which is almost always a character piece, carrying a tune. I shall never really feel at home with big groups like this, but as orchestras go, this is about as good as it gets. Lovely.


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#3514 Zixi

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 07:22

elemimele - Totally agree with your erudite judgement on anthologies. Poetry and prose anthologies quite often have exactly the same issues and drive me to equal despair. When a piece is said to be by the prolific anon I really do like to know why it's been placed in an anthology that says it is X,Y or Z. I'd like to know if it's there because of hard facts or a hunch. Sometimes hunches by experts are extremely accurate but it would still be nice to know.


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#3515 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 14:57

something strange and curvy that looks like an oboe at one end and has a flared bell like a trumpet at the other

 

It's an oboe da caccia!  I only know this because I was looking at some info about baroque oboes recently and saw a picture of one.  Very strange indeed - looks more like something Viv Stanshall might have created than something Bach would have composed for, though apparently he (JS, not Viv) was about the only person to have composed much that used it.


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#3516 elemimele

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 15:11

OaG, I hereby award you this month's special award for identification of Very Curious Instruments. Thanks for that! Given Wikipedia's description of how it was made, I am not surprised it never became mainstream. I would never have had a clue, or guessed that such a thing could exist.


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#3517 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 29 April 2019 - 08:56

OaG, I hereby award you this month's special award for identification of Very Curious Instruments

 

Thank you - I shall wear it with pride smile.png

 

I meant to add this link btw - if so impressed by the oboe da caccia that you'd like to try one out, you can buy one here: https://www.baroqueo...ES/oboe415.html


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#3518 elemimele

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Posted 29 April 2019 - 19:36

I am very struck by the fact that he only charges £3200 for the Oboe da caccia compared to £2200 for most of the rest. I'm amazed he can make this complex instrument at such a small premium. According to Wikipedia it was made by first creating a bore in a straight piece of wood, and then cutting saw kerfs on one side so the whole thing could be bent around, then blocking any remaining flaws and covering the whole thing with leather. On top of that, he's got to make the flared bell and fit it, another extra task on top of what's required for the normal oboe. I can't imagine a more complex method of construction, requiring more weird steps. Even the Cornetto makes more sense (start with two curved bits of wood, or one cut in half, gouge/chisel out two half-channels, and glue together, before covering). It must be in labour-of-love category. Still out of my range though (but I did buy myself a new school descant!).


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#3519 Zixi

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Posted 29 April 2019 - 19:51

My favourite picture of one is this on flickr.

 

https://www.flickr.c...oes/8686550593/

 

Some of the (school) descants are pretty good elemimele. What did you get?


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#3520 elemimele

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Posted 29 April 2019 - 20:15

bog standard Aulos, the one with the yellow cloth cover. It's probably unchanged since I last bought one, with my Mum, over 40 years ago, at the behest of school. Unfortunately that one met an accident and had to be glued together, which hasn't done it a lot of good. I was just embarrassed how bad I am at playing descant because it feels so tiny and fiddly, and thought it time to address the situation. There are probably much better instruments around, but for my purpose it's fine, and hardly likely to become the limiting factor all too soon - I'm very happy with it, and it feels all smooth and lovely. The (non-specialist) shop also had the Hohner wooden ones, and the see-through bright coloured ones (which I've heard are pretty good). I couldn't quite bring myself to pink see-through, and thought wood would be more of a maintenance issue.

(I have a blue plastic see-through from a different manufacturer, my sole example of German fingering. It cost £1.50, I think from The Works, and I bought it just to see how bad it would be. Actually it probably wouldn't be totally unusable were it not for the German fingering).


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#3521 Zixi

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 06:32

I'd have made the same choice though I'd have  been sorely tempted by the pink one! I gave my Aulos to my husband because he wanted something trouble-free to play.  The Mollenhauer Swing is nice too though I think it is slightly smaller than the Aulos. When I go back to it, I'm always amazed at how good it sounds now. I have forays into the other recorders but I have to admit it's the descant I love. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with it. On a personal note, it will be nice to have someone to moan about b-flat to. smile.png


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#3522 anacrusis

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 11:07

Mr 'crusis has a big birthday coming up, and anacrusis is fed up with the sorts of holidays which need her to wash a ton of stuff, pack it, clean the house, travel to a destination, unpack, source food and organise meals in a strange place for a week, find out what to do where we're visiting...reverse and repeat... so we're going on a cruise. Still laundry and packing to do, but no housekeeping and food sourcing needed. Only trouble is, I have three sets of concerts coming up so needing to practise. Apparently people do take instruments on board, now to find out if their entertainers have sneaky rehearsal spaces I can avail myself of - so far the advice is that I could play in one of the public spaces ohmy.png eek... one of the pieces my local group is doing is a set of seascapes, and I have the descant part. Appropriately enough one of the "choons" in that is "what shall we do with the drunken sailor" and I've been tasked with making it sound drunk ;) 


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#3523 Zixi

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 12:12

A cruise will be wonderful. I'm wondering how a recorder sounds when it sounds drunk or how you decide how it should sound. It could be an excuse for a few drinks first I guess. A set of seascapes sounds like tremendous fun though and practising them on a cruise ship is perfect! Mr C ought to have more birthday cruise treats!!


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#3524 elemimele

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 12:15

Ooooh! This could be the start of a new career ... I've heard cruise ship entertainers are always in demand. Add the sailor's hornpipe to your repertoire and you've got a guaranteed life on the high seas. Hope you have a swashbuckling time!


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#3525 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 10:19

Good morning gentle readers.  A question for you: how often do you play low E-flat (on a C instrument)?  And how about low C#?

 

I ask because the answer, for me, is "virtually never".  I'm prompted to ask because I really don't like the double holes much, especially the one for C#, but I've been forced to try to use it with my newly-minted Cranmore-ish tenor (from my recent course). 

 

I've now got a little family of tenors.  I've got a Koblicek renaissance model which has only single holes for both C and D; the fingering chart supplied with it gives C# as not playable, and E-flat as playable by half-holing 6.  The very bottom hole is a bit of a stretch but not too bad, and because it's a round hole all I have to do is cover it - it doesn't matter about the angle of my finger relative to the hole, which is not the case with double holes.  I've got a Moeck Hotteterre tenor which has a double hole on D and a key for C/C# which solves the problem.  I've got a plastic Yamaha which also has keys, and a plastic keyless Aulos which just happens to fit my fingers fairly well.  I find the double hole on the tenor I made quite difficult.

 

I also happen to have the Mollenhauer picture of the Frans Brüggen collection (https://www.mollenha...er/6186#content).  This has recorders by a number of well-known makers including several by Bressan, a couple of Stanesbys and a Denner and a Hotteterre, and not a single one of them has any double holes.  In fact, the poster includes the Hotteterre my Moeck is a copy of, and the original has a single hole for 6 and a single key, thus no C# option.  There is clearly not much that is authentic about the double holes (though I am aware that there are a couple of baroque instruments that have them).

 

I know that there is a case for the double hole D because some recorders need this for G# (though my Koblicek doesn't, and the Moeck says 6 can be fully closed), but I don't think I have ever met low E-flat in anything I have ever played apart from a scale, and I have met C# only once and I just substitute E.  Even on the Moeck, which can play C#, it's a bit of a weak note and the E sounds better - at least when I play it.

 

I'm thinking of making a new foot joint for my tenor that has a single round hole.  It seemed to be the easiest note to tune (not sure I'll do as well as Tim, but one can but try).  I don't think I will lose anything, and will gain a good deal of comfort.  If successful, I might try a new centre section with a single hole for 6, though I doubt that I could tune that.

 

I note that John Everingham says of low C# "If you have no C# key you have no low C#. Don't hold this against your instrument, it matters very little, C# is generally avoided in real recorder music." (http://www.saundersr...s.com/info2.htm).  I don't suppose he'd agree about hole 6 because of the G# though.


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