You might have early classroom memories of playing the recorder, perhaps Three Blind Mice or Mary Had a Little Lamb but Tabea Debus from the Young Classical Artists Trust travels the world giving recitals as a solo recorder player.
The Recorder - Top Facts:
- Recorders come in a number of sizes. The four most commonly played today – a descant, treble, tenor, and bass.
- The earliest known version of a recorder is a 14th-century instrumen t found in Göttingen, Germany. It is 256 mm in length and made from a single piece of plumwood. The design is conducive to players who are left- or right-handed due to the presence of widely-spaced double holes for the bottom finger.
- During the 16th century, recorders became a staple instrument of professional wind players and were possessions of many upper-class households and palaces in Europe. Some members of the upper class even tried their own hand at the recorder. It then became a popular amateur instrument among the middle class as well.
- During the 17th century, or early Baroque period, recorders were constructed in three parts, called joints: the head, middle, and foot. The middle section had 7 finger-holes while the foot had only one.
- After 1750, the popularity of the recorder declined and it was not often found in the musical repertoire. However, the turn of the 20th century brought a revival of the instrument in a variety of different musical styles ranging from avant-garde and theatrical to minimalist and microtonal.
“The recorder is a very natural instrument, that’s what I love most about it: it directly translates what you do into sound, colour and musical speech, almost like singing - but at the same time it’s a lot more versatile (and also harder) than people think at first glance… Plus, having a large (and growing) collection of different recorders at home is kind of cool!”
To hear the recorder brought to life - come to Tabea’s recital on 3 December, 1-2 pm as part of the YCAT Wigmore Hall Lunchtime Concert Series.
Information for this post was sourced from the “Recorder” entry by David Lasocki in Grove Music Online.
Featured image credit: Kaupo Kikkas