Witzend, I can't add to all the excellent advice and resources already posted, except to comment - you mentioned that you didn't move in musical circles. That may be true, but the others you come across in your class may do, including the tutor - you could ask them if they know anybody who can accompany, rather than necessarily asking if they would do so themselves for you . It's quite a skill, and often the accompanying part at grade 1 will be at a higher level than the solo line is - and you want someone who can play steadily and be aware of what the solo line is doing - ideally also to be able to adapt and adjust if any fluffs happen. That will allow you to give of your best too, it's easiest to play well when you have a stable and quietly confident musician alongside you. It's strange how networks of people work - even when you might feel you have no particular links, you'll almost certainly know somebody who knows somebody who can help, just because you are doing some music in a group. And if you should decide you quite like recorders, you will find that there are many such links - I'm not very socially competent, but now find myself playing with groups based in Stirling, Edinburgh, a small town called Dollar and Rugby, and have travelled to Germany to play, just because I know people who know people...
Posted 12 January 2019 - 23:08
Well, this is weird! I decided to learn the allegro from the 3rd of Telemann's 12 fantasias as my "get up to a decent standard" piece. I've been keeping the music available in a corner, and having a quick go at it whenever I'm passing. Then today I reverted to Part B of my great 2019 plan: the bit where I carry on playing through random stuff for fun, for exploration of all that lovely music that's out there. I had downloaded Balbastre's suites of Carols (keyboard settings) because I'd enjoyed listening to them so much, and some of the variations seemed appropriate for solo instrument. In the past it wouldn't have bothered me tuppence that I was limping through and making mistakes, but because I've been working on the Telemann, I now keep thinking I can play more complicated things than I can! Just because I can play something more complicated if I've practised it, doesn't mean my sight-reading has miraculously improved! Psychology is weird stuff. Conclusion: it's really important to keep a healthy balance of practising pieces properly, and skimming through sight-reading/rough-playing.
Balbastre turns out to be an interesting chap. He married a Hotteterre, so he's got a right-by-marriage to be in the recorder thread. Also his variations for keyboard are really just a keyboard version of recorderised variations. And they're so happy. Here's his 3rd collection. If you listen to the first carol and its first variation (var 1 starts at about 1:30) you can hear how it's fairly easy to adapt to recorder. He then bursts into variations where the accompaniment does all the interesting stuff before reverting to things where the tune does the work, and is recorderable again. Obviously not with the same impact as the beautiful French organ can achieve (French organ builders perfected the art of the motor-horn; a French organ is not afraid to blow its nose in public; English organ reeds sound like a polite sort of harmonica played discretely through a handkerchief, in comparison).
Carol starting around 4:20, variation at 4:55 is even more obviously suitable for recorder.
Posted 13 January 2019 - 11:09
Very interesting, thank you for that - and, indeed, for your assorted posts about interesting musical finds, many of which I have really enjoyed.
I love the organ btw: they don't build them like that any more!
Posted 13 January 2019 - 12:21
elemimele, thank you for that, I'm still giggling about the nose-blowing, what a curious and strangely captivating sound...
as for the problem of playing through vs more systematic working on things - I rather suspect that doing the latter with the Telemann will also inform your playing through of other repertoire - yesterday the renaissance group was playing through some divisions, and thanks to having Wat Zalmened over christmas, they came more easily to me, including those sneaky little "bumps" where a scaly bit suddenly has a third in the middle of it. It's also great hearing of all the music you manage to find, very inspiring
Scottish Recorder Orchestra for me today - yesterday I was playing great bass most of the time (and was given a brilliant tip for a fingering which helps top A speak, yayyyy), today I suspect will have total brainscramble as a quick look at the parts I have show rather a mixture of C and F, treble and bass clef instruments will be required...
Posted 13 January 2019 - 14:34
On a prosaic note the Balbastre is down on my list for Christmas 2019! It's wonderful! Thank you!
Posted 14 January 2019 - 09:50
There's only about 350 shopping days left, so it's as well to be prepared. Seriously, I'm going to start some Christmas music in summer - I left it till the last minute in 2018, then had a bad back in the couple of weeks leading up to Christmas, and didn't get anything finished at all. I gather the xmas pud industry is in full swing by March or thereabouts, and my xmas music preparation needs to do the same.
Posted 14 January 2019 - 12:24
That's the spirit oag!!! It's a bit like gardening... you're always a season ahead with your planning...
Yesterday I tried playing one of the Trinity technical pieces for Grade 2. I did the first part with a nice jazz swing but the second part was hard and didn't sound quite right. I then realise I'd played top B flat instead of top C... Top C at Grade 2?!!!! That's serious. I checked against the fingering chart in case I was being more stupid than usual... no... top C...Grade 2... Then I realised I was looking at treble not descant... Doh!
Posted 14 January 2019 - 17:16
There's a CD with the book, with accompaniments, but I haven't tried any playing along yet.
Will see how it goes for a while - i.e. whether I was bonkers to even think of it - before I risk asking anyone to sponsor me for G1!
Thanks again for all your help.
Posted 14 January 2019 - 21:39
Yay, Witzend, super stuff! Welcome to a journey that I hope goes on a lot longer than you plan! Recorder is fun, and rewarding.
Zixi, I have a friend who passed grade 8 as a child without being able to reach top C on a descant. Her theory is that if you mess up a note with sufficient style, any decent examiner will assume it's a one-off.
Anacrusis, I have no idea how you manage to switch between instruments like that. If I've been doing the minor-third transposition thing for a bit, I have to go off and have a cup of coffee before I can do anything else, because my head just can't change over to normal fingering/clef mode without a crisis. Full of admiration!
OaG, I have another friend who once declared, somewhere in December, "Only another 385 shopping days to Christmas, I'd better get organised".
Posted 15 January 2019 - 16:13
Congrats Witzend! Do pop back and tell us how things go!
@elemimele - I can hit top C fairly reliably but it has quotation marks round it when I play it - if you know what I mean! And I don't have 'style' either! I'm not sure which will be harder to acquire!
Posted 27 January 2019 - 22:54
well, here we are, all embarrassed again. Pure ensembles of recorder aren't my favourite (I'm obviously no Renaissance man!), and I normally look snootily askance at modern music, 'cos none of it sounds good does it? And then along comes this; oooh, delight!
(edit: thinking about it, I do like recorder ensembles; I've always loved a few, greatly, like the formosa quartet, Sirena, the wood-peckers and of course Loeki stardust and Flanders; I just prefer ensembles that are neither too huge, nor where parts are doubled. It's very hard to play recorder with doubled parts without the sound feeling "smudgy" and losing the individual quality of the parts, while large ensembles often sound a bit too much like a chamber organ - but it's all personal taste, and now I'm going to be surprised by some massive ensemble doing something unspeakably beautiful. That's the nice thing about the world - it's full of good surprises)
Posted 28 January 2019 - 07:19
... Oh no! I notice the Flanders quartet had announced their intention of disbanding at the end of 2018. I wonder what they are all going to do now? It's sad when groups like that disappear. One always assumes they'll be around for ever (which in recordings and memories, they will). But I suppose even the best ideas move onwards.
Posted 28 January 2019 - 23:23
A bit of happiness from IMSLP: Carlo Lonati, virtuoso violinist, hunchback of Queen Christina of Sweden, and friend of Alessandro Stradella (Lonati knew how to pick friends: Stradella managed to get himself assassinated - twice(*) - for his notorious affairs of the heart). Lonati's violin sonatas are generally horrendous for recorder: full of double-stopping and quavery things with more tails than a Chinese kite. But his 3rd violin sonata has a lovely "Giga" movement that can be squeezed into a recorder-range with a bit of squashing of outliers, and which is seriously exciting to play. It's full of leaps and bounds, chromatic bits, split chords and double melodies, and exciting rhythms. Strongly recommended for a spirited romp of sheer fun.
(* only one of the assassinations was successful)
Posted 29 January 2019 - 10:26
> It's full of leaps and bounds, chromatic bits, split chords and double melodies, and exciting rhythms.
Sounds like exactly what I need for a gentle warm up
> only one of the assassinations was successful
That's a bit disappointing!
Posted 29 January 2019 - 14:48
> only one of the assassinations was successful
That's a bit disappointing!
I bet he didn't think that though...
elemimele - I love your descriptions. And you make me come over all enthusiastic - you're the equivalent of a recorder cheer-leader!