Last summer (June 15, to be precise) I had the pleasure to do a quick recording session for Enrike Solinís’ latest record for the Glossa label, Colores del Sur, along with a group of really great musicians. Everything happened pretty quickly: I got Enrike’s invitation to collaborate (via SMS) just a few weeks before, but I only put my hands on the music score upon entering the studio, and only then was I finally told what it was all about (to be fair, Enrike told me the name of the piece and sung it a little bit over the phone the day before). The piece happened to be Aga Riza, a makam“as compiled by the Moldavian prince-philosopher Dimitrie Cantemir”, with Enrike playing the Turkish lavta. It was a rather intense experience, since I had to mentally transpose the piece while sight reading it, and the resulting fingerings were pretty difficult both on the tenor and g alto recorders (I recorded it with both flutes, so that we could have both low and high pitch versions). The thing is I can’t really tell much more about the CD, which is a bit weird considering that it has been available since November — I’m still waiting to get it from Enrike, but I enjoyed a lot the few audio excerpts I could listen to (and watch the video below!). Only for recorder players: after considering a few options, I chose a Schnitzer tenor by Monika Musch (my favorite tenor —by far— when I have to play at 440Hz) and a Ganassi g alto by Morgan/Ronimus (which sounds amazing) for the recording.
Enrike Solinís – Euskal Barrokensemble – Colores del Sur
COLORES DEL SUR
Baroque dances for guitar Enrike Solinís, baroque guitar, theorbo & lavta Euskal Barrokensemble:
Dieter remarks that recorder maker Fred Morgan’s “emphasis was always on the quality and never on the speed of production”. A couple of amazing things here: first, Fred would never deliver an instrument without a playing in ⟷ adjusting process that was repeated no less than five times for each instrument: “Not one would leave the workshop unless he had “played it in”, agonised over its voicing, and was convinced that this was the best he could possibly achieve” (p. 45); “Many hours were also spent playing and adjusting the recorders.” (Joanne Saunders, p. 41). This allowed his recorders “to begin life as complete singing instruments; ready to play for an hour at a time; ready for practice, rehearsal or performance from the first breath” (Alexandra Williams, p. 36); and second, the fact that he employed three people as blowers for the daily playing in sessions: recorder players Alex Williams, Rodney Waterman, and Natasha Anderson.
Not really, but certainly one of the few makers who used to do it, and with a passion.
On a similar note, Bob Marvin told me he uses to play his own instruments for about two years before delivery, and I must say every instrument I’ve ever got from him beared a serial number mark from two years before…
Next Friday August 16, I’ll premiere a new program consisting of written music1 with lutenist Miguel Rincón at Noches en los Jardines del Real Alcázar, Sevilla —an event I’m really looking forward to, due both to the music’s great quality and the tremendous difficulty of the pieces. Besides, playing with Miguel is a pleasure and a privilege (his continuo version of Bach’s E minor sonata BWV 1034 for solo theorbo is worth attending the concert just by itself.)
Vicente Parrilla & Miguel Rincón — Photo: David Soto @ Red House
INSTRUMENTAL BAROQUE MUSIC, MORGAN & MEYER
Believe it or not, this is the first time ever in my 20-years long professional career that I’ve deliberately chosen to perform a program of 18th century music2. But neither a lack of familiarity nor interest in this repertory should be inferred from this fact (I’ve been performing baroque music since I started playing the recorder): the main reason, I suspect, has to do with the quality of currently available baroque recorders. I’ve always appreciated modern reconstructions of Renaissance flutes way more than baroque ones, a fact that has recently changed (almost to the point of enjoying them as much as the earlier flutes) since I had the chance3 to finally get top quality baroque instruments: both the state-of-the-art recorders Swiss luthierErnst Meyer has been making in the last years, and the extraordinary, unearthly recorders by Australian maker Fred Morgan (1940-1999)4, exclusively owned today by the lucky professional players who could get them in the past decades, during Fred’s life — Finally, great instruments for a great repertory.
Frederick G. Morgan (1940-1999)
—To Fred, in memoriam
Concert tickets are available from today. Get yours here:
Yes, I’ll be reading the music from a music score, on a music stand. Not that it’s an uncommon practice, but since I’ve devoted myself to improvisation during the last years, it’s a bit of a novelty for me… ↩