24 May 2023

Sweep of history

I associate the recorder with mediaeval, pre-baroque music and small chamber playing and there was definitely some of that when Robyn Mellor played her sweep-of-history at Wesley.  The earliest was Giovanni Bassano from 1685 and then Frescobaldi and Jacob van Eyck (blind from birth so not doubling as a painter) and she still hadn't got to 1700s.  That's early music.  But then a jump to mid-C18th with de Boismortier and Couperin and JS Bach.  The Bach was written for the transverse flute, which is essentially what we have now, although it would have been a wooden flute in those days, I guess.  But the final two numbers were the surprises.  First some jazz (?) played on a modern square-tubed marine play bass flute, Pete Rose I'd rather be in Philadelphia.  Not modern jazz so much as bluesy-traddie but with rhythmic plays and unexpected vocalisations.  Nice one.  Then Australia represented by Ross Edwards Ulpirra and using an Australian-made descant by a female instrument maker in Australian timber.  So the recorder continues to evolve.  Robyn mostly played solo, but were variously accompanied by Arianna O and Rachel W on harpsichord and viola da gamba.  Both of that pre-piano era and deliciously sweetly toned if a cad to tune.  An unexpected but informative trip through recorder history from one of our local masters.

Robyn Mellor (recorders) performed a history of the recorder with accompaniment by Ariana Odermatt (harpsichord) and Rachel Walker (viola da gamba) at Wesley.

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