Sunday, March 12, 2006

Music Musings

March is Play the Recorder month and I have been performing with friends and colleagues all along the Front Range. It is the 13th year The American Recorder Society has encouraged its members to play in public forums and show the recorders full musical range and versatility. Over the years we've played at schools, churches, libraries , museums, and coffee shops, almost anyplace that will have us.

Sunday, I participated in a Recorder Faire at Tamarac Square, a small shopping mall in south Denver. There were singers, and players and kids of all ages, big groups, small groups, mixed consorts and even a crumhorn band. I was part of a quartet, with a 15 minute program. We played pieces by Palestrina, Guami, Praetorius, Soderini and Bach, all of it wonderfully pleasing, especially if you like Renaissance and Baroque music.

The previous night, I played with The Colorado Recorder Orchestra. It is a group of 20 musicians, mostly amateurs, but we have some teachers and music majors. Despite the name, I play the recorder (bass) for only one piece. Mostly I play the viola da gamba and I'm the only gambist but there is a lady who plays the sackbut occasionally.

We've only given 3 concerts since my participation but each performance has been well received. In fact, our little group has been invited to tour Japan this November. I was excited and flattered but I also had major reservations. The thought of hauling around a bass viol (the size of a cello) in a small congested, busy country (as well as my personal luggage) has no appeal. I'm not talking rock star or diva status here. I won't have sherpas or handlers. But, I am willing to try so I've decided to go. Rehearsals begin in April.

Besides, the orchestra and my recorder quartet, I play in a viols group once a week and another strings group once a month. A beautiful, small harpsichord that a friend and fellow musician leaves at my house provides lovely basso continuo for trio sonatas. Include my bass viol, a couple of recorders, flutes or violins, and we can make heavenly music (not that we always achieve that lofty goal).

I am anxiously waiting for the completion of a bass viol I commissioned over 2 years ago. The process has taken too long and my excitement and anticipation has been overtaken by frustration and disappointment. I feel I have been penalized for being a reasonable person, that my patience and kindness has been unduly tested. I'm hoping my increasing resentment will not influence my overall appraisal and acceptance of the instrument when it finally arrives. The maker has assured me that I am not obligated to accept the instrument unless I am 100% satisfied. Of course he also estimated a delivery date of 1 year, hmmm over 2 years ago.