Day 10 | Recorder31
For today's Recorder31 post we take a look at some soprano and sopranino recorder repertoire!
There are lots of tutor books available for the soprano (or descant) recorder. Usually a teacher will have a preference for a particular series, so if you have a child learning it is worth checking which one to buy. The most popular series are the Recorder from the Beginning, Fun & Games and the Red Hot tutor books. Most of the soprano tutor books are aimed at a younger audience and combine learning the recorder with learning to read music. For an adult beginner we recommend Scoppola's Method for Descant Recorder.
We are not aware of any specific sopranino tutor books (!) - any alto tutor book will work perfectly well. There many different tutors around, but we particularly recommend the Fun & Games series for younger players and Method for the Treble Recorder for more mature players!
Der Fluyten Lust-hof
Jacob van Eyck's Der Fluyten Lust-hof is the biggest collection of music for a single wind instrument ever! It is a collection of themes and modos (variations) where the modos get progressively harder. The themes are a mixture of folk tunes, popular songs of the time, psalms, dance tunes and church works. Popular pieces include Fantasia & Echo (watch Anna Stegmann's performance from earlier this month), Doen Daphne D'over Schoone Maeght, Pavaen Lachrymae and Engels nachtegaeltje. The collection (published in three volumes) is a must for every recorder player. It is a great resource that can be used for technical work as well as used to find a short contrasting piece for a recital programme. Whatever stage you are at in your playing journey, you can enjoy playing and exploring this collection. It is for soprano recorder, though different pieces can be really effective when played on different sizes of recorder.
There are lots of play-along books available with a variety of repertoire. The Schott Anthologies are great and available for the renaissance and baroque periods. There are also the Dowani books with a variety of German, Italian and English baroque music.
The higher pitch recorders were popular choices for concertos as they could project more over the other instruments. There are different views as to whether Vivaldi's Flautino is a soprano or sopranino, and so most of his concertos are published for both (in both C and F fingerings). Vivaldi's recorder concertos are great pieces, and provide recorder players with an opportunity to be very virtuosic. Another famous concerto for the recorder is by Sammartini and this is well worth a learn. The first movement has been on the grade 8 syllabus for a while, but don't miss out on the other movements, especially the second movement. The concertos by Babell are simpler than those by Italian composers, but they are great pieces and add variety to programmes.
As recorder players we tend to play early music and 20th century music, and not much in between unless we play other instruments. The exception to this is csakan music. The csakan is often described as the romantic recorder and its repertoire works perfectly on a soprano recorder. To find out more about the csakan and hear the style of music you can catch up with our Recorder31 episode of PitchPoint. There are lots of theme and variation style pieces which can be very virtuosic, making them perfect encore pieces.
There are lots of pieces for the soprano recorder that have been written over the last 100 years. The annual Wigmore series by Carl Dolmetsch included a newly commissioned work and gave us various works such as Anthony Hopkins' Suite for Descant Recorder. Collections of new pieces by Alan Bullard are particularly popular with younger and older players alike due to the catchy pieces – Hat Box and Recipes. Why not explore modern soprano and sopranino repertoire here!
Our 5 soprano recorder highlights
- Various/Anon: Medieval Songs and Dances
- Jacob van Eyck: Der Fluyten Lust-hof
- Georg Phillip Telemann: Die Kleine Kammermusick
- Ernst Krähmer: Two Original Themes and Variations
- Pete Rose: The Kid from Venezuela
Our 5 sopranino recorder highlights