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About my recorder practice

My teachers in Strasbourg
My current tastes
More about that


I discovered classical music with a gift - a record of Monteverdi Vespers which were (and still are) a great shock. After that, I wanted to understand why it was so beautiful : I bought a solfege booklet! For several weeks I've been hitting my kitchen table with a pencil to learn basic rythms. Then a friend of mine gave me an old soprano recorder to make this practice more interesting.

I'm still this kind of guy who wants to know why (this behaviour may have its drawbacks too), and this is probably the reason why I'm writing small pieces for fun: I tend to think that we don't know how things are made till we've made them by ourselves. For instance, I had some fun to make crosswords grids sometimes, though I don't like so much to solve them...

Of course I was soon adviced to play alto recorder, and like everybody it still happens that I mix up both fingerings in some places or some days. Three years ago, I began to play bass, that is F key which I was afraid of. But, you know, you can get used to everything, and recently I've even tried G alto, without any great problem. As stated by one of my recent teachers: the more you accept to learn (new fingerings, new keys), the easier it becomes to learn even more.


My teachers in Strasbourg

I won't give you the boring list of pieces that I've been studying like anybody. For those knowing my town Strasbourg in the east of France, here are the names of several teachers whom I remember with great pleasure: Alain Sobczak, Agnès Lacornerie, Anne Crabe, Nicolas Stroesser, Elisabeth Gros.

This last person has greatly improved my playing by insisting on sound quality and detailed articulation which, according to me, make the recorder a rather difficult instrument! This approach is an important insight, after I was used to practice many technical exercises adviced by other teachers. But I wouldn't say I'm unhappy to have practiced them: they make me less frightened when I read a score with two or three sharps or flats. By the way, I think that an amateur can easily learn good things from several teachers, and not necessarly agree with the whole approach of just one of them. For instance, those who pretend that technical work is not so important have worked very hard this kind of stuff to get their own degree!

Now that I'm 53, I realize that I'll never be a virtuoso, however I begin to put some musicality in the simplest diminutions of the Ortiz treatise (I'll study the Ganassi later on, perhaps in my next life: it's much more difficult).


My current tastes

I say current, because, as you'll see, these tastes may change with time, depending on which music I discover or re-discover.

After many baroque pieces and studies, I discovered ensemble practice (mentionned in more detail on another page), and thus the renaissance repertoire which is for me the golden age of the recorder. These are some names which make me very impatient to play when I hear them: Josquin, Willaert, Mouton, Isaac, Obrecht, Lassus, Bassano, Byrd, Dowland, both Gabrieli, Sermisy, Marini, Castello, Frescobaldi...

From time to time I switch back to baroque, specially French music that I had found so difficult (facing again the same problem: detailed articulation and sound quality!). For a while I've thought that I'll be happy with my play some day, but as a matter of fact hearing and musical maturity grow with technical skill, so that the gap remains between what you'd like to do and what you're able to. This gap is showing in life too, and this is what makes you go further: walking toward the horizon makes you go ahead for ever.


More about that

You might like to know more about feelings and souvenirs I've got from courses I've attended to. For recorder fans only!
However, I hope everyone will wish to have a look at photos of my renaissance recorders got at the end of May 2000!