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Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Volume 12 (2006) No. 1

The Recorder: A Research and Information Guide, 2nd ed. By Richard Griscom and David Lasocki. Routledge Music Bibliographies. New York: Routledge, 2003. [xix, 728 pp. ISBN 0415937442. $140.]

Reviewed by James R. Harris*

1. Introductory Matters

2. The Seventeenth-Century Recorder: Images, Instrument Makers, and Performance Practice

3. Baroque Composers and their Works for the Recorder

4. The Recorder vs. the Transverse Flute

5. General Recorder Issues: Construction and Performance Techniques

6. Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Performers

7. An Error of (Spanish) Omission

8. Conclusion


Subsequent Communication

1. Introductory Matters

1.1 The Preface to the second edition of this indispensable reference work begins with the gentle understatement that it is “intended as a guide to writings about the recorder for players and for researchers” (p. iv). Griscom and Lasocki, respectively of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and Indiana University at Bloomington, have given us a potent and thorough tool with which to seek out information from nearly every conceivable angle on the recorder, variously known as flauto dolce, flûte douce, flûte à bec, beak flute, Blockflöte, or simply flauto. The book’s dedication is appropriately to Frans Brüggen, “without whose existence we would never have bothered” (p. i). Along with Hans-Martin Linde and a few others, Brüggen has trained a generation of players, made the recorder once again a serious concert instrument, and demonstrated Paul Hindemith’s caution that while the recorder may easily permit “the acquisition of an initial technique, which will be found sufficient for many unassuming pieces,” this ubiquitous and often misunderstood windpipe is one where “a disproportionately steep ascent blocks the road to virtuosity.”1

1.2 The authors note that a review of the first edition by “a well-known professional player” taught them that “not all players care to read about their instrument, or at least, to be faced with hundreds of citations.” Their efforts in this second edition, they state, are directed instead to “those who, whether amateur or professional, do wish to find out more about the history, repertory, design, and technique of their instrument” (p. ix, italics added). The present edition “includes some seven hundred new entries,” and Griscom/Lasocki annotate virtually all entries. Each chapter begins with a summary, and the authors carefully elucidate how they reach their conclusions.

1.3 The book’s thirty-one chapters are arranged broadly by subject: Chapters 1–8 address “general matters,” 9–16 “the instrument as a physical object,” and 17–22 “performance matters.” Chapters 23–24 deal with biography, and with repertory. Chapter 30 considers recorder societies, and the concluding Chapter 31 offers “an essay on the future of recorder research.” A comprehensive index provides entries for authors, titles, and subjects. In contrast to the first edition, here some sections are arranged chronologically rather than alphabetically.

1.4 The book beginswith a brief note of advice on how to secure sources on the recorder, followed by the inaugural chapter listing general bibliographies in English and German of writings and essays. Chapter 2 gives general surveys, articles, and websites. That list might be expanded by several other books that are included in this Guide, such as The Art of Playing the Recorder (no. 1127) by Daniel Waitzman, a well-known advocate of the bell-keyed recorder, Anthony Rowland-Jones’s Recorder Technique (no. 1126), and Rowland-Jones’s Playing Recorder Sonatas (no. 1040). These three focus on technical development and performance and are referenced in other chapters, but each is of sufficient general content and interest to merit a note here in this second chapter.

1.5 Chapters 4 and 5 survey historical and modern periods. Organized by epoch and then by nation or geography, they include writings that “do not fit readily into the other chapters” (31). Here, for instance, we find a nice summary of J.C. Bridge’s 1901 article (no. 90) on the famous and mysterious “Chester Recorders” by Pierre Jaillard Bressan (Peter Bressan), who left his native France for London in the late seventeenth century; Bressan, also an oboe player, is thought to have traveled to England initially with the band of William of Orange. Chapter 5 on the “Modern Period” lists a variety of entries, some for articles and commentaries by well-known present-day recorder players, makers, and scholars.

2. The Seventeenth-Century Recorder: Images, Instrument Makers, and Performance Practice

2.1 In an era that may be described as both post-Romantic and post-Modern, audiences today want to be dazzled by solo pyrotechnics, but especially in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries almost all musical instruments were made and played in groups or families of different sizes. For centuries, the recorder has stood out in this respect, as shown by the Virdung, Agricola, and Praetorius engravings and cuts. Sections within Chapter 6 account for the most important sizes of recorders, but there is no specific recognition of one of the rarest and most beautiful sizes, the “fourth flute,” or recorder in B-flat. In particular, Erich Benedikt’s article mentions the fourth flute as appropriate for music in remote keys and for playing oboe music with flats (for the 1967 German original and 1975 English translation, see nos. 209–11).

2.2 The “Art and Iconography” entries in Chapter 7 explore this important area of historical information about the recorder. Noted American maker Bob Marvin, now residing in Quebec and famous for his revolutionary consorts of sixteenth-century choke-bore recorders as well as Medieval cylindrical and seventeenth-century “solo instruments,” says that “one picture too many” in the Oberlin Art Museum led to his experimenting with flared-bell recorders and to his own version of “Ganassi” instruments. The seventeenth century is particularly rich in depictions of the recorder; a hallmark here was the 1994 Dutch exhibition (no. 250) where Eva Legêne, former student of Frans Brüggen, details how the recorder figured in the visual arts of Holland’s “golden age.” The early seventeenth century is marked by Praetorius’s famous woodcuts, while compositions of Jacob van Eyck and other musician-composers highlight the middle part of the century. The pivotal years at the end of the century—where the recorder, transverse flute, and oboe underwent changes leading to their eighteenth-century high Baroque forms—are covered in Laurence Pottier’s article on France (no. 253).

2.3 After the delightful Chapter 8 on the recorder in “Humor, Fantasy, and Fiction,” Chapter 9 addresses the all-important subject of instruments and makers. Again, the seventeenth century is paramount. Numerous cities and countries figured in the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque forms of the recorder. This is particularly so, for instance, in Nuremberg, where the Denners were working their inventive genius in fundamentally redesigning previous instrument forms, along with the Hotteterres in France, Haka and Steenbergen in The Netherlands, and the Bassanos and others in Italy and England. Rob van Acht’s discoveries on the importance of the Dutch school (nos. 317–9) and Jan Bouterse’s piece on the variety of pipes in use during van Eyck’s time (nos. 320–5) are detailed. Particular makers and specific collections are mentioned. Besides those such as the Rottenburghs and Stanesbys, there is fittingly a long list of sources on Bressan (1663–1731), whose instruments Edgar Hunt, doyen of twentieth-century recorder scholarship, calls “Strads among recorders.” Chapter 10 deals with “Collections of Historical Instruments” and organizes scholarly articles and museum catalogues by region and country.

2.4 The rich topic of historical tutors and treatises is treated (Chapter 17). Following a general list, sources are grouped by historical periods. Here we notice especially the overlapping nature of the history of the recorder through the late Middle Ages, Renaissance, and early Baroque. In the seventeenth century drastic changes in the recorder occur. The major figures here cut across national boundaries and centuries: Virgiliano, Praetorius, Mersenne. Many names will be familiar to casual students of the recorder, but this section delves into lesser-known sources as well. This is a most valuable chapter, detailing what happened to the recorder in the course of the seventeenth century, from Mersenne and Praetorius to Hotteterre.

2.5 “All recorder players who play music of earlier times sooner or later have to deal with performance practice” (325) is the opening assertion of Chapter 18. Straightaway, we launch into the general question of the nature and legitimacy of historical performance practice, about which broad concerns have been raised. After a general list of sources, the items are categorized by nation and then by specific topics, such as articulation, tonguing syllables, and vibrato. Other aspects of performance practice also figure here: cadenzas, continuo playing, divisions and improvisation, and fingerings (original instruments often having a different fingering for certain notes than their modern reproductions). The section on ornamentation is further subdivided by historical period. Pitch and tuning, the quasi-philosophical issues of “Rhetoric and the Affections,” and sources on rhythm close the chapter.

2.6 In Chapter 26 Griscom and Lasocki include entries on performance practice that may be of special interest to JSCM readers. An article by Barthold Kuijken (no. 1716) argues that seventeenth-century music in general was not really intended for the recorder at all, in contrast to the cornetto and violin, and that it is not musically responsible to play such music on recorders, a view challenged by Lasocki in their exchanges (nos. 1717–8). The subject deservedly remains a live one, in light of Praetorius’s organography, the seventeenth-century Dutch school, and the “transitional” and mid and late seventeenth-century developments. The question remains as to what these instruments were used for, whether we are discussing solo, ensemble, or consort music.

3. Baroque Composers and Their Works for the Recorder

3.1 In the twentieth-century revival of the recorder and its literature, Baroque composers have played a pivotal role, as have great instrument makers and performers, amateur and professional. Chapter 23 briefly lists biographical sources for historical figures in the development of the recorder. To cite one instance, there are the contributions by Bruce Haynes, pioneer of the Baroque oboe and teacher of many well-known Baroque oboists, who has recently authored the groundbreaking study of pitch, The Story of A.2 His enlightening articles (nos. 592, 1290) discuss the provenance of Telemann’s famous collection Kleine Kammermusik, which Haynes argues was intended primarily for the oboe as solo instrument, although this collection has been performed on the recorder, transverse flute, and musette.

3.2 The article by this volume’s co-editor David Lasocki, who has done much to uncover a multitude of facts and insights surrounding the recorder, follows. Lasocki has thrown light on who played the recorder in olden and modern times. His article “Amateur Recorder Players in Renaissance and Baroque England” (no. 1291) is the companion to his study of professional players in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England (no. 126). Other noted figures include Francesco Barsanti, known to recorder players for his beautiful sonatas; the Bassano family; Daniel Demoivre, who wrote for the bass recorder; and John Grano, Handel’s trumpeter, renowned for playing both the transverse flute and the recorder (if not for his stint in debtors’ prison). Grano’s autobiographical diary (no. 1297) was recently published.3

3.3 Edgar Hunt has said that the Baroque era is the recorder’s golden age. We find sources for Jacques Hotteterre, “first French flutist,” who gave us the Principes, a treatise on the flute, recorder, and oboe (English translation by Lasocki at no. 990). There are entries for the Loeillet family, famous as composers and players. Sources here try to unravel the questions surrounding the identity of the Loeillets, John (in London), Jean-Baptiste (in Ghent), and Jacques. The cosmopolitan Johann Christian Schickhardt, who appeared in London and in Hamburg, was a performer and teacher. James Talbot, coming late in the seventeenth century and in the early eighteeenth century, is known for his manuscript that mentions the Bressan oboe, as yet unrecovered. Talbot was a close associate of Henry Purcell. Robert Valentine, and Woodcock wrote sonatas and concerti for transverse flute and the sixth flute, the “little recorder in D,” popular at this time.

3.4 Historical figures who constitute a bridge between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are covered. In the early seventeenth century Praetorius described a “grand consort” of 21 recorders. Although he probably was describing musical practices of the preceding seventy-five years, the second volume of Syntagma musicum (“De organographia”) demonstrates that the smaller four-instrument consorts of Virdung and Agricola a century-and-a-half earlier had been expanded both at the bottom and the top. There is still dispute about how much the recorder did or did not rival the cornetto and violin in early seventeenth-century instrumental chamber music. Yet, in the middle of the century, we have the Dutch school of recorder playing whose most notable exponent, the blind virtuoso-composer Jacob van Eyck, is well documented here and elsewhere.

3.5 Chapters 27 and 28, respectively, address literature on the Medieval and Renaissance repertory and on the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic repertory. Although the former chapter includes Morley and Praetorius, both of whom stretch into the seventeenth century, Chapter 28 is considerably longer. In Chapter 27, the focus first is on general entries. Of interest to JSCM readers will be the informative synopsis of Edgar Jay Lewis’s Ph.D. dissertation on the use of wind instruments in seventeenth-century music (no. 1747). Lewis discusses Johann Schmelzer’s Sonata a 7 flauti. Notably, no entry mentions the brilliant antiphonal piece by Biber, Sonata pro tabula a 10, surely one of the highlights of music in the seventeenth century for recorder and strings. The brief section on music for recorder and flute is distinguished by perhaps the three most important writers to date on this form, Edgar Hunt, Lasocki, and Hans-Martin Linde.

3.6 These entries are followed by a list of sources according to geography—notable items from England, France, Italy, and The Netherlands. Regrettably, there is no section on Spain. This is perhaps understandable, since a good deal of the source material is less accessible, often available only in the monograph-length discussions which are part of old LP issues best known in Spain. Most of this material covers Medieval and Renaissance music, but some sources treat later repertory. I discuss these sources below in Section 7.

3.7 The largest space in Chapter 28 is given to sources arranged alphabetically by individual composers. The section on J.S. Bach includes literature on the Brandenburg Concertos, and the vigorous discussion in recent years of what size recorder was intended for the Fourth Concerto. Recorder players will find a satisfying quantity of sources on some of their favorite composers: Barsanti, Bassano, the Benedictine monk Diogenio Bigaglia, Boismortier, Corelli, and Dieupart, Handel’s continuo player. From seventeenth-century Italy, we have Fontana (d. 1630). For the mid-1600s in The Netherlands there is again the enigmatic Jacob van Eyck.

3.8 Large sections rightly are given to Handel, then interesting sources for Hotteterre le Romain, the Loeillets, and Benedetto Marcello. Purcell, coming at a time in the seventeenth century when the recorder was mutating into its more ornate high Baroque form, is covered in the surprisingly few sources available for England’s “greatest composer.” Quantz, Sammartini, Alessandro Scarlatti, Schickhardt, and Schütz, all of whom wrote significant chamber works calling for the recorder, precede the important Telemann and Vivaldi; then comes England’s Robert Woodcock.

4. The Recorder vs. the Transverse Flute

4.1 In recent years, interest has surged in the transverse flute’s pre-Böhm forms, and one hopes that this will be accompanied by a continuing interest in, as Hans-Martin Linde says, the transverse flute’s “sister instrument”—the recorder.4 This is a perennially appealing description for the recorder, considering the scant use of the flute and recorder together in compositions, and the notion one hears today that, during the Baroque, oboe rather than the transverse flute players are thought to have been more likely to double on the recorder.

4.2 In blogs and web exchanges one senses a trace of resentment on the part of transverse flute players who feel that, at least with the Renaissance flute, attention to their own instrument has so far been displaced by the recorder. As Edgar Hunt has said, the recorder is one of the most difficult instruments to make, owing to subtleties in windway design and construction. If we take Hindemith’s memorable caution to heart, the recorder is one of the most difficult instruments to play. I recall, on one occasion years ago, Finn Viderø, the great Danish organist, harpsichordist, and composer, saying of the recorder, “I think it is as difficult as any other instrument to play.” From the opposite side of the spectrum, we have the comment by Basel’s Anne Smith, who described her introduction in the 1970s to the Renaissance transverse flute, noting that her teacher Thomas Binkley “hated the recorder” and wanted her to take up the flute!5 Let us hope that such obstacles will not forever impede the effort to update research on the recorder.

5. General Recorder Issues: Construction and Performance Techniques

5.1 Sources on construction and design are considered in Chapter 12. Here there are valuable synopses of writings by the most famous modern makers figuring in the development and reconstruction of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century recorders: Alec Loretto, Bob Marvin, and Fred Morgan. The passionate discussions and exchanges that often have taken place among these and other makers are documented. Not only the choice of woods but the whole question of voicing, an issue of defining importance for the recorder with its fixed windway, is covered here, and readers may learn about additional resources.

5.2 Owing in part to the variety and subtlety of windway designs, the recorder is one of the most difficult instruments to build. Chapter 13 offers a useful catalog of sources on the recorder’s acoustics and on the related issues of breath pressure, control, fingering systems, tone production, and quality. This is suitably followed by Chapter 14, devoted to modern and historical discussions of the building and manufacture of recorders. A separate section covers the much-disputed question of the Ganassi Recorder, and whether or not it was originally conceived as a consort or a solo instrument.

5.3 Anyone who plays the recorder knows that he or she must master several sizes of the instrument. Chapter 15 cites the main articles devoted to choosing instruments, how to get a good one, and how to avoid a bad one. A few pages are given over to plastic instruments, their virtues and limitations. The importance of maintaining the instrument in playing order, not to mention the hope of improving it is addressed in Chapter 16, with a useful list of sources on this, and on restoring instruments, along with entries on the crucial aspects of recorder care—oiling, the block, tone quality, joinery, voicing and tuning, transporting, and the perennial troublemaker, condensation in the windway.

5.4 “Technique and Performance (Modern)” (Chapter 19) goes into specific areas facing the recorder and any other wind player. It sometimes has been wrongly assumed that the recorder takes little air to play. This rests on a confusion between volume of air and air pressure. Playing the recorder is closely allied to singing, requiring similar diaphragm support and a large quantity of air. Breathing is a major concern, as are dynamics, fingering (again!), trills, intonation, tone, and the use of vibrato. Because so many amateurs play, or attempt to play, the recorder, “Sight Reading” is a useful section. Unlike the flute or oboe, the recorder does not pose embouchure issues in the obvious sense, but one quickly learns that the shapes of the mouth and the use of the resonating cavities in the head affect the sound. As has been pointed out since the inception of the recorder, a secure thumbing technique is essential to negotiating its different registers.

5.5 Chapter 20 covers contemporary recorder techniques, including compositional guides, microtones, multiphonics, and notation; Chapter 21 is on “Ensembles.” Particularly with the recorder, and some might argue, with early music generally, ensemble, rather than soloistic endeavors, is the starting point of performance. Thus, the tuning of the recorder, and broken consort, are critical. An organ maker’s assistant once told me that the recorder is really an “upside-down organ pipe.” Right tuning in an ensemble can make or break any performance, and in a recorder consort poor intonation is particularly glaring. Chapter 21 gives useful sources here. Chapter 22 on “Pedagogy and Study” follows and documents general sources, including academic institutions by country. The issue of professional instruction has been longstanding in the recorder world, particularly in America, which until recent times has lagged behind Europe in offering conservatory-level training.

6. Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Performers

6.1 Chapter 24, which deals with modern biographies and interviews, opens with the disclaimer that recorder makers and composers specifically of recorder music are covered in Chapters 11 and 29, and thus that the focus here is on “teachers, editors, writers, publishers, composers” (411). A few well-known sources with the editors’ criticism begin the section. Thereafter the sources are arranged alphabetically. A good twenty entries exist for Frans Brüggen, but there are handfuls of five or six sources for other figures in the twentieth-century revival of the recorder such as Ferdinand Conrad (1912–92) of Hanover. Conrad was a flute student of Emil Prall and was Michaela Petri’s teacher. Flute master Gustav Scheck turned to the recorder. Others of importance are Lanoue Davenport (1922–99), one of the progenitors of the New York Pro Musica. Carl Dolmetsch, son of Arnold, rightly receives a dozen-plus entries. Arnold Grayson (d. 2001), another friend of early music in America and a member of the New York Pro Musica, is represented, and of course Bernard Krainis is there.

6.2 No book on sources for the recorder would be complete without mention of Edgar Hunt, who receives five entries, few it would seem, for one so critical in the recorder’s revival (and with whom this reviewer has enjoyed extensive correspondence). Nearly every pivotal figure in the early music revival who has had contact with the recorder is listed, some—like the Danish virtuoso Dan Laurin—several times. Appropriately, Hans-Martin Linde (b. 1930), a premier transverse flute player and the author of The Recorder Player’s Handbook, receives ten entries. At the 1965 International Recorder School in Saratoga Springs, Brüggen said to him, “You can really tell that the flute is your first instrument.”6 Linde is renowned, alongside Brüggen, as one of the great recorder players of our time and as a composer for the instrument.

6.3 The coverage of modern biographical and interview sources is impressive and satisfying. It covers chronologically a broad range of authorities of various kinds on the recorder, including today’s recognized virtuosi, and reaches further into the earliest times of the recorder’s twentieth-century revival. Even Madrid performer-composer Mariano Martin receives mention, as does contemporary Matthias Maute, and Dorothea Oberlinger. A handful of entries treat David Munrow (1942–76), whose untimely death cut short a brilliant and colorful career.

6.4 A few minor omissions bear mention, such as the dates for Arnold Grayson, and Arthur Nitka, proprietor of Terminal Music, a major watering hole for recorder players in New York City; both these gentlemen now are recently deceased. (Also regrettable, American recorder player Scott Reiss died after the publication of this volume.) Happily, there are a half dozen entries for the redoubtable Kees Otten, Brüggen’s teacher. Further down the alphabet, we come to the spirited Dane Clas Pehrsson and then Michaela Petri, already mentioned as a student of Ferdinand Conrad and famous for her many recordings on modern-pitch instruments. Icons of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis such as oboist Michel Piguet, accomplished American players like Scott Reiss and Steve Rosenberg, and Britain’s Anthony Rowland-Jones, whose books on the recorder have helped many advance technically and musically. From the German tradition we have the great Gustav Scheck (1901–84), Linde’s teacher, the Vienna Conservatory’s teacher-composer Hans Ulrich Staeps (1909–88), and the accomplished, friendly, and diplomatic Conrad Steinmann (b. 1950), a premier Linde student and 1972 winner at the annual Bruges early music festival.

6.5 There is an intriguing source for Peter Thalheimer (no. 1623), known for his work with the Baroque flute and for his view of the “synergistic” effects he claims for playing recorder, traverso, and modern flute. England’s Peter Thorby, now active in the performance and recording of Renaissance repertoire is here, along with John Turner (b. 1943). From the Continent there is a brief source for Jeanette van Wingerden, who partnered with Frans Brüggen in some of the early Telefunken LPs. Markus Zahnhausen (b. 1965) an important player and composer for the recorder, receives extended reference. There is Holland’s Marion Verbruggen (b. 1950), well known to American players and students.

6.6 Among American recorder players, there are references to Daniel Waitzman, champion of the bell-keyed recorder, and Kenneth Wollitz, who studied in the early 1960s on a Fulbright in Holland and authored a justly praised book on the recorder. Also represented here is Dale Higbee’s American Recorder article on Christopher Welch (1832–1915) (no. 1650), whose lectures on the recorder were an indispensable stepping stone for Americans early in the last century working to resuscitate the recorder as a serious instrument.

6.7 An important citation is the interview by Hugo Reyne of the multi-talented Jean-Claude Veilhan. There is an entry for an article by Rodney Waterman, now known to many recorder players for his discography of recordings using instruments made by the late Fred Morgan. Mention of Reyne (b. 1961), however, highlights the absence of any source dealing directly with this important figure. Reyne directs La Simphonie du Marais, which has made important recordings of French Baroque music, plays recorder and oboe, and has issued a luminous recording of the six suites by Charles Francis Dieupart, a collection that influenced J.S. Bach and which was arranged for ensemble by Dieupart himself from the harpsichord version. One eagerly awaits an interview devoted to Reyne himself.

7. An Error of (Spanish) Omission

7.1 With such an achievement as this volume, it would be hard to quarrel very much. The Preface does include several disclaimers. While the book’s primary focus is on sources directly bearing on the recorder, the authors mention that other entries “particularly relevant for other reasons” are included. While “ephemeral articles—such as reviews of concerts, workshop, conferences, festivals, auctions, and exhibitions—as well as reviews of printed music and sound recordings” are excluded, there are general entries for bibliographies and discographies. And while the emphasis, with a few notable exceptions, is on English-language sources and sources available in the U.S., the authors do acknowledge the wide assistance of others on translation and interpretation problems. Still, the relative paucity of coverage on Spain is a noticeable omission. Several types of sources on Spanish music involving the recorder directly or indirectly, especially during the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods, deserve mention.

7.2 Some of these sources are standard, at least within Spain. We have first classic general studies such as Adolfo Salazar’s La musica de España, which discusses the use during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries of both the flauta travesera (German flute) and flauta da pico (recorder) in Spain.7 A monumental tome by Francisco José León Tello offers extended discussions of various music theorists in Spain.8 Some of these, such as Tomás Vicente Tosca, born in the mid-seventeenth century, and Pablo Nassarre, a century later, explicitly discuss the role of wind and, in particular, flute instruments in various ensemble settings. In English, there is Mary Neal Hamilton’s Music in Eighteenth Century Spain, which cites the frontispiece of a mid-eighteenth-century print:

In Madrid people went to academias or concerts and listened to the playing of a variety of instruments, the clavichord, flute, harp, dulcimer, guitar, viol, and flauto dolce, as pictured in a Guitar Book published in 1752.9

7.3 In the past few decades, Spanish music has become more familiar to the public through the work of gamba virtuoso Jordi Savall, who in the 1970s was based in Basel, and played with Michel Piguet in the Ricercar Ensemble. Savall is now based in his native Barcelona, and in the past twenty years has produced a number of recordings with his groups Hesperion XX and Concert des Nations. Many of these recordings feature fine recorder performances. Less well-known, however has been the work by other Spanish musicians and musicologists where the recorder figures prominently. LP recordings now long out-of-print by Grupa Lema Madrid, featuring Mariano Martin (see par. 6.3), are a worthy and pioneering effort in Spain to present early music.

7.4 Then there are the main productions of Atrium Musicae de Madrid, directed by Gregorio Paniagua and involving his Paniagua Quartet. This fascinating group also made an LP recording based on fragments of ancient Greek notation, in addition to recording much Medieval, Renaissance, and early Baroque music from the Iberian Peninsula (as did Binkley’s Studio der Frühen Musik, working in Germany at about the same time). Perhaps the most striking and beautiful musical productions from Spain have been those associated with the musicological work and the multi-volume Monumentos Historicos de la Música Española, edited by Higinio Anglés and Emilio Pujols, a series of staggering proportions published by the Instituto Español de Musicología and the Biblioteca Central, in Barcelona.

7.5 The LP recordings associated with these monuments of scholarship range throughout the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical eras of Spanish music, and are by authorities in Spanish early performance, such as Enrique Gispert, Santiago Kastner, Roman Escalas (cf. no. 1450), and other musicians, as for example in La música en la corte española de Carlos V (Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, MEC-1004). In Música instrumental de los siglos XVI y XVII (MEC-1006), the recorder is used in Cabezón’s version of the famous Diferencias sobre las vacas. Many of these treasures may be better described as short treatises or books with a recording attached to them. The discussions and the lavish iconography in these sets clearly display the importance of wind instruments, including the recorder, in many periods of Spanish music.

8. Conclusion

8.1 Chapter 30 lists the three main recorder societies in America, England, and Australia. Chapter 31, the final chapter, written by Lasocki, is concerned with the future and laments the absence of any up-to-date history of the recorder, comparable to Ardal Powell’s Flute.10 Despite the number of important collections of recorders in museum and private hands worldwide, Lasocki insists that before any magnum opus can be expected on the recorder, a number of smaller histories on specific aspects of the recorder’s history must appear. So far, the best known and justly loved sources, such as Edgar Hunt’s Recorder and Its Music (1962) and Linde’s book, have not, Lasocki says, been adequately updated. Lasocki goes on to praise the work done in the ten years preceding this volume, and outlines areas of research he feels must be pursued: repertory, recorder players, makers, instruments, performance practice, the continuity or lack of it in the recorder’s use in musical contexts, and finally, acoustics.

8.2 A future edition of this fine work by Griscom and Lasocki should certainly include attention to the wealth of Iberian sources, which now are decades old. This would help to round out the extraordinary results of their labors as represented in this volume, and bring more into the light the still largely unknown and unacknowledged years of scholarship and performance in Spain. For now we must again express our appreciation for this second edition of valuable research and information on the recorder.


* James R. Harris (jimrharris@earthlink.net) is an independent flute and recorder player, teacher, writer, and scholar based in St. Louis. He has a special interest in the life and work of Pierre Jaillard Bressan and the nexus between music and healing work.

1 Hindemith, Composer’s World: Horizons and Limitations (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961), 195.

2 Haynes, A History of Performing Pitch: The Story of “A” (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2002).

3 Handel’s Trumpeter: The Diary of John Grano, ed. John Ginger, Bucina 3 (Stuyvesant, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 1998).

4 Linde, The Recorder Player’s Handbook, trans. James C. Haden (London and New York: Schott, 1974): “In the first half of the eighteenth century flautists were expected to master transverse flutes and recorders at the same time” (82). “The windway of the recorder constitutes a preformed means for shaping the air stream. This is what essentially differentiates it from its sister instrument, the transverse flute” (26).

5 Smith noted this in her opening remarks for “Renaissanceflötentage,” held at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Basel), 6–8 September 2002. A summary of the conference is available in Ardal Powell, “Renaissance Flute Renaissance,” Traverso 14, no. 4 (2002), and a written version of Smith’s comments is available at http://www.enterag.ch/anne/renaissanceflute/intro.html.

6 An acquaintance of mine heard Brüggen’s comment directly. The Honorable James Miller, a judge and enthusiastic amateur musician, and I both lived in St. Louis in the 1980s, and he gave a vivid report of his encounter with Brüggen. In 1965 he drove to Saratoga Springs in his Porsche, and Brüggen, who himself drove a Porsche in his native Holland, was only too happy that summer to borrow Miller’s. At one point Miller was in the company of both Brüggen and Linde, and Brüggen made his remark.

7 Salazar, La música de España: la música en la cultura española (Buenos Aires: Espasa-Calpe, 1953).

8 León Tello, La teoria española de la música en los siglos XVII y XVIII (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Instituto Español de Musicología, 1974).

9 The frontispiece is from Minguet y Irol’s Reglas … de tañer todos los instrumentos mejores (Madrid, 1752); see Hamilton, Music in Eighteenth-Century Spain (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1937).

10 Powell, The Flute, Yale Musical Instrument Series (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002).

Subsequent Communication:

Phyllis V. Haig: Nationality of Dan Laurin and Clas Pehrsson

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