Cantabile

News of the week of July 28, 2015

Meeting report

We played:

Schedule

We will not be meeting next week, August 4. After that, we will meet as usual on Tuesdays at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge.

Playing opportunity

The Boston Recorder Society Loud Wind Group will be meeting on Saturday afternoon at 1:30pm. Other players of loud wind instruments would be welcome; let me know if you need more information.

Posted in Cantabile | Leave a comment
Cantabile

News of the week of July 21, 2015

Meeting report

We played:

Schedule

We continue to meet weekly on Tuesdays at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Other events

Wakefield Summer Band

On Friday, July 24 at 7pm, the Wakefiled Summer Band will be playing a concert on the Wakefield Common. I will be playing ophicleide on the tuba parts. The sun will set over beautiful Lake Quannapowit. Unless there's hail, in which case the sun will still set, but the concert will be in the church hall of the First Congregational Church in Wakefield.

Harvard Summer Chorus

David Fillingham writes:

I am singing with the Harvard Summer Chorus, with free concerts on July 26 and 31. We are working with the Handel Haydn Orchestra.

On July 26th we are performing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Copley Square out side! at 12:30 PM.

On July 31st we are performing Handel's Oratorio Esther (His first oratorio) at 8 PM at Sanders Theater, a free concert no ticket required.

Posted in Cantabile | Leave a comment
Cantabile

News of the week of July 14, 2015

Meeting report

  • Songs from Ballard, XIV Livre de Chansons pour Danser et pour Boire
  • Berg, Let us drink and be merry

Schedule

We continue to meet weekly on Tuesdays at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed
Cantabile

News of the week of July 7, 2015

Meeting Report

We played:

Schedule

We continue to meet weekly on Tuesdays at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed
Cantabile

News of the week of June 30, 2015

Meeting report

We played:

Schedule

We will continue meeting on Tuesdays at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed
BEMF15

Youtube of Recorder Masterclass

Theres a video of some of the Recorder Masterclass on Youtube.

It looks like I didn't remember correctly which motif was the "thousand dollar" one.

Posted in BEMF15 | Comments closed
Cantabile

News of the week of June 23, 2015

Meeting report

We played:

Schedule

We continue to meet weekly on Tuesdays at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed
BEMF15

Recorder Masterclass

The Boston Early Music festival usually gets at least one internationally known recorder player to play a concert, and also to teach a masterclass. This year it was Michael Form, who teaches and conducts as well as playing and recording.

Quilisma Consort

The first people to play were the Quilisma Consort (Lisa Gay, Melika Fitzhugh, and Carolyn Jean Smith), a trio of Boston-area recorder players, who normally play Medieval and Renaissance music but this time were performing a "Baroque-inspired" piece, Sicilian-ish, by consort member Milika Fitzhugh. They played it through, and then Michael Form asked the audience what the time signature was. (He had the score; we didn't.)

The gentleman next to me was sure it was either 6/8 or 12/8, because that's what a Siciliana is. Someone farther back in the room did get the right answer -- 5/8. But Michael pointed out that since almost everyone in the room is a musician of some sort, and only a couple of people knew the time signature from the performance, the playing should have gotten this across better. So he worked with them on how to accent the first beat in the measure without destroying the phrasing or other musical aspects of the piece.

He also told the story of Franz Brueggen's parting advice to recorder players: "Blow!" He suggested that all the players would have better tone if they were filling the recorder with air better.

Henia Yacubowicz

Next up was an accomplished amateur recorder player, Henia Yacubowicz, who seemed very nervous to start with, but got better as her piece, Ciaccona from the Sonata in F major, Op. 2 by Benedetto Marcello, went along.

Form's first reaction was, "This is one of the most cheering-up pieces in the recorder literature."

His second reaction was to ask, "Are you nervous?" She responded with a laugh, "Always."

So he said, "Well, let's play it together." So they played it together, and sure enough, she was much less nervous. Then they played it antiphonally, with each person playing four measures, and then the other playing the next four measures. It looked like a lot more fun than some of the things I've done in masterclasses.

Then he wanted to tell a story. He used to be an oboe player, and one of the standard pieces for oboe is the Ricard Strauss oboe concerto. It has a motif very like the one in the Marcello:


[thousand dollars]

Thousand-dollar-like motif from Marcello Ciaccona


And the story is that in 1945, there was a US army officer who was also a professional oboist, and he went to Ricard Straus, who was by then old and feeble, and asked him to write an oboe concerto. There was clearly interest but not sufficient motivation, so the officer said, "If you write me an oboe concerto, I'll give you a thousand dollars." And Ricard Strauss's eyes lit up, and the concerto starts with the orchestra playing a motif with 16th notes in groups of 4. Oboists still think of that motif as having the lyrics "thousand dollar".

So Henia played that section, and Michael Form shouted "Thousand Dollar" every time the motif came up.

Benjamin Oye

Next up was Benjamin Oye, a high school senior and a student of Emily O'Brien. He played the Fontana Sonata Number 6, accompanied by Miyuki Tsurutani (who also assisted Henia Jacubowicz on no notice). His performance was quite poised and confident.

Michael Form noted that the Fontana sonatas are marked "come sta", meaning that they should be played as written, and not ornamented to the player's taste (or lack thereof) as was usual for music of that period (he died circa 1630; the sonatas were published posthumously in 1641).

He mostly worked on a section where in his opinion, the continuo should be fairly metronomic, but the soloist should be rhythmically quite free.

My favorite story of the day was about how before recording technology became common in the 1920's, nobody had ever heard themselves play. It was as if the mirror had suddenly been invented when you were 50, and you could see what you looked like.

In any case, the recording engineers, who were technicians and not necessarily musicians at all, kept complaining to the performers that their playing didn't line up, and eventually the performers accepted that standard and now performances almost always line the parts up vertically, but before about a hundred years ago, nobody did that.

He also gave Benjamin a lesson in messa di voce, which involves doing a crescendo and decrescendo on a single pitch. There's a long note in the recorder part of this piece which is the climax of the movement, and the successful messa di voce did indeed make it a more exciting climax.

Kim Wu-Hacohen

(This was a hand-written addition to the printed program, so I apologize if I read the handwriting wrong and don't have the name right.)

Kim is an 11 year old student of Sarah Cantor, and she played the "Optometrist" movement from Pete Rose's I'd rather be in Philadelphia. Michael didn't know the piece, so he asked the audience about the title. Someone volunteered that it was on W.C. Field's tombstone, and Judy Linsenberg, to whom the piece is dedicated, told the story:

She was at her parent's in Philadelphia and leaving for Europe the next day, but Pete, who lives in New Jersey, was in town and wanted to see her. She explained that she'd love to get together, but she also had a lot of errands that had to happen that day, so he went around to her errands with her while they talked, and he immortalized the day in this piece, with movements Optometrist, Shoe Store, and Lunch.

Kim played with obvious enjoyment of the swing style of the piece (marked Jazz inegal). The audience had copies of the version she was playing from, which had phrases marked with stage directions like "Waterslide" and "falling down the stairs". Michael asked her if she had made up those characterizations, and when she said she had, he worked on ways to make some of them even better realizations of her ideas.

Posted in BEMF15 | Comments closed
BEMF15

More links to BEMF coverage

If the writers in the more mainstream media aren't as behind in their writing as I am, this may be the last set of links.

There are still posts coming from me.

Posted in BEMF15 | Comments closed
Cantabile

News of the week of June 16, 2015

Meeting report

We played:

Schedule

We will continue meeting on Tuesdays at 7:45pm at 233 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Other events

Movie night

My current Netflix movie is Mr. Turner, a biopic of the life of J.M.W. Turner. Based on the previews and reviews, it's visually quite good, although of course the plot is predictable.

I'll be watching it on Thursday, starting around 8. If people want to come over and watch with me, we'll be organizing a pot luck supper about 7:30. Let me know if you're coming and what you want to bring. I get the giant box of greens from the farm share that day. I don't yet know what's in in, but I'll cook or dress some of it, and that will be my contribution.

Recorder Recital

John Tyson's student recital is this Saturday, June 20, at 5:30pm in the Carr Organ Room at New England Conservatory. If you want to hear lots of recorder playing, this is a good place to do it. I will be playing some of the Lupacchino and Tasso duets from Il Primo Libro a due voci, mostly with John on two recorders, but there will be one on serpent and sackbut.

Pig roast

The homebrew club is having their annual pig roast on Saturday, June 27, starting at 5 pm, with the pig scheduled to be ready at 8 pm. If we want to play anything from printed music, we should plan to do it before dark, but impromptu music without stands and dots on paper is possible at any time. Let me know if you want to come, and I'll sign you up as my guest.

Serpent Publications booth at Amherst Early Music Festival exhibition

On July 11 and 12, Serpent Publications will have a booth at the Amherst Exhibition in New London, Connecticut. The idea is that we'll have lots of music printed, and encourage people to try playing from it. So if you'd like to be a booth babe, let me know. I'll be staying around Saturday evening and going to the concert (not usually a great concert, but a good way to see what early music people are doing these days) and the party (usually pretty good).

Posted in Cantabile | Comments closed