"truly a benchmark of what the recorder can be"

Duo Programs with Bill Taylor

 

Greensleeves: Music for Recorder and Harp (also available on CD!)

Guy PensonFrom the late 14th- through the 17th century, the slender, gut-strung renaissance, or "Gothic harp," with its distinctive buzzing bray pins, was heard all over Europe. Tiny L-shaped crooked pegs known as bray pins held the strings into the sound box and also lightly touched them, causing the strings to buzz as they were plucked. Bray harps are frequently depicted in period paintings, often played by musician angels. Research has shown that the Gothic bray harp was THE most common harp for several hundred years, until the development of the large multirow baroque harps--which makes it all the more striking that bray harps are almost never heard today! William Taylor has played a key role in bringing the unique sound of this ancient harp to modern audiences. Another little-known historical harp featured in concerts of the Duo Van Gele - Taylor is the resonant wire-strung "clarsach" -- the ancient Irish harp.

The recorder is a wind instrument with a history almost as long as that of the harp. It has a natural singing quality which makes it perfect for the medieval and renaissance repertoire (that was often vocal in origin). During the baroque period, many works were composed specifically for the recorder, which was particularly beloved as a solo instrument, capable of brilliant, fast passagework, as well as stirringly beautiful melodies.

The intimate character of recorder and harp together is ideal for bringing out the delicacy and liveliness of this early chamber music repertoire. The duo Van Gele/Taylor performs on a unique collection of copies of historical harps and recorders made by the world's leading builders. Performances are accompanied by engaging, historically-informed commentary.

 

 

 

 


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