Episode 22: 10 inspiring recorder consorts

Episode 22: 10 inspiring recorder consorts

This is Hester and this is Maria. Together we are the CONSORT COUNSELLORS! Today we prepared something very special for you! As you know, we are addicted to consort playing… but apart from playing in consort ourselves, we also like to listen to good consort playing! Therefore, today we would like to present you ten recorder consorts from all over the world that we find inspiring! Before we start, we have some good news and some bad news… Let’s start with the good news: Over the past decades, recorder players have found a strong interest in developing consort playing. As a result, there are many interesting consorts all over the world! And the bad news is: there are so many of them that we cannot possibly fit them all in one video! So, today we present you the first ten and in the future we will bring you further recommendations. In the meantime, if your favourite ensemble is not mentioned today, please leave us a recommendation, because then the list is growing and growing! Let’s get started and go through today’s ten inspiring consorts… …in alphabetical order! The Bassano Quartet is an ensemble from the Netherlands, and there is something really special about them: they play on recorders that are built by one of their members: Adriana Breukink. Adriana is known for her sets of Renaissance consort instruments, ranging from the sopranino to the biggest recorder in the world, the sub-contrabass recorder in b-flat. But besides the Renaissance instruments she also has new projects, like developing the Eagle Recorders and also the Dream Recorders. We admire the wish for innovation of the Bassano Quartet: They arrange their own music, they commission new repertoire especially for these instruments, and sometimes they even compose it themselves. The music you are hearing in the background is actually a piece called “Koraal 1” by Ronald Moelker, who is one of the members of the quartet. It’s written in memory of the victims of the concentration camps in World War II. With the beautiful sound of the Eagle instruments, it really gets a special touch. B-FIVE is an international recorder quintet. They started playing together in 2003 and this means that this year 2018 is
their fifteenth anniversary. Congratulations! Their main focus is the performance of late Renaissance music, but they also combine this with contemporary repertoire, exploring the links between past and present. We love their intelligent programming, their choice of repertoire and their spontaneous and virtuosic diminution playing. The members of Boreas Quartett met while they were studying in Bremen with professor Han Tol. In their first CD they actually worked together with Han Tol to record concert music by Christopher Tye. Boreas is the Greek god of the North wind but this ensemble takes many different directions, presenting programmes with Renaissance music, with Baroque music, with contemporary music… They also present family programs and
even interdisciplinary collaborations. We really like their sound, their control, their expression, their fresh appearance, so we recommend that you check them out! BRISK is a recorder quartet based in Amsterdam. This is a classic recorder quartet in the whole world. Their name, meaning ‘quick’ and ‘lively’ is a tempo indication that you find in English repertoire of the 17th century. The quartet BRISK has been around for 32 years and in that time they have presented lots of different programmes of early and contemporary music. Their latest project is a programme of music from Spain and Portugal or inspired by Spain and Portugal, with the title “Cançao” We are glad to have the members of the BRISK Recorder Quartet as our colleagues and our friends and we admire them for their versatility and their creativity. Consort Brouillamini is a young ensemble formed by former students of the Conservatoire of Lyon, France. They recently released a CD with arrangements of concertos,
chorales and keyboard music by Johann Sebastian Bach, which was very well received! They are certainly an ensemble to watch, also for the future! The Flanders Recorder Quartet needs no
introduction anymore, with more than 30 years of traveling the whole world, recording, teaching and publishing their own arrangements. We had to mention them today because, if you are quick, you may still catch one of their final concerts, as they will stop playing together in the end of 2018. If you miss one of their last concerts, you’ll have to do with one of their CDs, which are really really lovely. Our personal favorites are ‘Nowel, Nowel!’ and ‘Bach’. Flûte Alors! is a very virtuosic Canadian quartet consisting of young players. They feel at home with any sort of of repertoire ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach to Dizzy Gillespie. Indeed! If you like fresh baroque music, jazz and contemporary sounds you should for sure check them out! Although the Quartet New Generation stopped playing together in 2014, we still wanted to mention them today, because they have meant a lot to the generation of new repertoire for recorder quartet. Quartet New Generation commissioned and performed a lot of new repertoire that other quartets took over, and play over and over and over again. For example, we can recommend the composition ‘Airlines’ by Wojtek Blecharz. Our next consort is Quinta Essentia and they come from Brazil. They certainly have contributed to put Brazil in the recorder map. They have toured around the world, they have made recordings of early repertoire and Brazilian music and they have an impressive number of
followers on social media. Besides, the members of Quinta Essentia are really committed teachers and they have a lot of students, so I think we can expect that in the coming years we are going to find a lot of new young consorts coming from Brazil! This trio, based in Vienna, is a very special trio, because they are three excellent recorder players but two of the members are excellent singers too! They approach early and contemporary music in a very personal way. It goes very well with the name they have chosen for themselves: VIVID. It’s really bold, it’s colourful and it’s dynamic. Usually, in our videos we present a couple of exercises and then after that a tip, but today we have given you ten listening tips and now… we’re going to give you a very quick practical exercise. On the video fragments we have shown you today you may have realised that the players were never standing from high to low, but that the lowest instrument was always put in the middle positions of the ensemble. This is exactly what we would encourage you to try: Take a piece that you know very well and try out different ways of standing or sitting, or distributing the players in the space. Like, as mentioned before, putting the bass in the middle, or you can take the first and the second line and situate them on the outside positions. Or you can let voices that tend to team up stand together in the ensemble. When you do this and try different dispositions you may realise that the music feels very different, that a certain position makes the playing much easier and that the piece feels much better than ever before…! And then: keep it! Happy experimenting! Don’t forget to subscribe! And if you have questions or comments for us… contact us HERE. See you next time, bye!

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Funny, the first piece we played when I was in a consort group decades ago was Pastime with Good Company. Not by far on the level of Vivid though. 😀

  2. Just love your videos and this one was especially helpful. I receive so much inspiration and joy from listening to terrific consorts!

  3. About changing positions : the best position might be different for different pieces, and I guess that during a concert you don't want to move too often.

  4. Ben helemaal vereerd! Bij de volgende keer Loeki op de eerst plaats. Zij waren toch de eersten en fantastisch.

  5. Fantastic video, thank you!
    I would like to mention Sirena recorder quartet, the Royal wind Music, and one of the very very best ensembles in the world which is SELDOM SENE 😉

  6. Another vote for the Sirena Quartet, and I also love the Fontanella Recorder Quintet and, from near where I live, Flautando Köln!

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