Why the Recorder is not an instrument of the orchestra!

Great social get together at home on 23rd December, 2016. its the end of my fourth year of learning to play a musical instrument from scratch! – the Alto Recorder. In the brief video, captured on an iPhone 5 – an unashamedly way of suggesting that this method may be a contributing factor to any perceived amateurish hiccups – the ensemble comprises Wing on piano, Caryl on Bassoon and Charles and Jonathan on Oboe. If your complaint is that you can’t hear me , that is in truth a good thing. Let me explain – if the Recorder is not sticking out like a sore thumb, it means

  • I am in tune
  • I am playing all the notes correctly
  • I am ‘on time’ … and of course there is a fourth and final explanation
  • I am not really playing it at all but mouthing it.

make sure then volume of your device is set at around 50% as the sound distorts on maximum volume!

 

for those of you who are interested , it is part of the First Movement – Larghetto- of The Sonata No 4 in F major for Treble Recorder and basso continuo.

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Yasmin and me

 

NO …I have become a grandfather again….OR perish the thought, a GREAT grandfather. This is Yasmin, the daughter of Charles the oboe player! The moist spot on my trousers is nothing to worry about.

Finally this is our dessert and what must it be for an Australian Christmas?  Made by Margaret with 10 eggs…. she did not disclose the volume of cream.

 

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The Christmas Musical event.

Practice makes perfect! Sonjia Bradtke and I run through one of our numbers for the Xmas Soiree on the 23rd December. The rather amazing open mouth of the pianist at the end, is NOT an indication of pain, but rather the mouthing of the final high note of the chorus!!  Trust me!

Vivienne and Gracie the Collie are the audience. My playing can’t be THAT bad as Gracie is sleeping peacefully.

So what happened by 9pm?

Sadly the evening had deteriorated. The music had increased by a factor of several hundred decibels, so had the ambience,  if that is the correct description, of a melding between the local RSL club and a gay disco….. Not that I have been inside either establishments, I won’t say “never”.  I would say that at least one difference of the Saturday night dance at the Waldhotel Sommerberg, was a fair amount of thigh slapping as opposed to buttock slapping in a gay disco. I have no idea what would be slapped in a RSL club.

However there were redeeming features of the German music – it was amplified through high quality Bose speakers, hence without distortion and the music in general had a recognisable melody! 

Both of these characteristics of course would immediately disqualify a potential gay  disco DJ who must play distorted deafening sound of a genre to which  my daughter is unashamedly attracted, its known as “beat, bass and bang” I think? Why she is drawn to such a cacophony is beyound me – thank god it is either autosomal recessive  or passed on via maternal mitochondrial DNA. 

this hund slept contently oblivious to the constant stream of waiting staff who adroitly side stepped the whole night.

the poodle checks out

delightful! the breakfast tables are set up for families with a reindeer for the children !


A Deafening Silence 

Where am I? Have my creative juices dried up? Let me reassure you that is not the case! The reason is quite simply summarised in the two pictures. Firstly the Congress, which, being a very ethical human being as the reader will immediately acknowledge, I am attending with religious ferver. 

Secondly was the excited anticipation of my repaired Alto Recorder waiting for me at the Hotel Brandies the day of my arrival. In true Germanic style is was indeed handed to me as I checked in. I have been practicing with gay abandon every spare minute.

Berlin A musical day

The opening morning of the conference was excellent value and was clinically relevant at least to me, the afternoon offering less so. I excused myself at lunch and walked to the Museum of Musical Instruments (Musikinstrumenten-Museum) via The Tiergarten. 

This is an huge Park in central Berlin. Surely I was dreaming when from the lush tropical forest beside the track I heard the by now familiar tones of a Treble Recorder. It was moreover being played by an expert. I cautiously left the path and as quietly as possible navigated towards the music. There he was : an old man dressed in black and happily playing a baroque piece with trills and ornamentations worthy of any professional. He finished the piece with a flourish. I spontaneously applauded, he laughed with surprise and we chatted, confirming he had being playing since a child. I confessed that I was an old man playing like a child. 

Thence to the Museum and its well worth a visit. Harpsichords and pianoforte abound. Invest in the audio guide and you will hear musical examples on the actual instruments.

Finally as my iPhone confirmed i had walked 37km, i went to the nearby Italian Trattoria and had s pizza which the menu boasts are 34 cm tall. 

Am I getting better?

Two weeks ago our swimming group had a Christmas barbecue with some added fun making music. It is a little more than three years ago since I began to play the Recorder. I remember that upon my return from long service leave travelling to Europe, America and finally to Brazil, I decided to venture into the foreign language of Music and to learn an instrument.

 

I am truly fortunate to have friends who are musically gifted including our swimming coach Kathy and more recently I have become friends with Charles who has a scholarship with the Adelaide symphony orchestra as a cadet oboe player. However I don’t think that I will ever become as proficient or relaxed about playing the Alto Recorder as I am with my swimming!

 

But to give you some idea of the fun that I’m having below are a couple of video clips, including a rather bright Italian folk song and that perennial well recognised tune, Greensleeves.