Day 3 | Recorder31
For today's Recorder31 post we take a look some bass recorder repertoire as well as some other ideas for music to play on basses. Why to tell us your favourite pieces to play on bass in the comments!
We highly recommend Mönkmeyer's Playing the Bass Recorder for beginners to the bass recorder. This book is presented in three languages (English, German & French). It moves at a moderate pace and is aimed at more mature players, in comparison to most recorder tutor books. The extracts of music are varied and keep you interested throughout. It is also perfect for players who may be comfortable with playing a recorder in F but need to brush up on their bass clef reading!
Universal Edition have released a series of tutor books that are perfect for you if you prefer learning in a more interactive style. Their Learn to play bass recorder in ensemble books come in three volumes, and although slightly pricey, are well worth the investment. These books are written in a workshop style and include play along CDs. Playing in ensembles is proven to raise your own playing, and this series will make sure you're prepared to play in any setting!
Edgar Hunt's The Bass Recorder is a concise method for Bass recorders in F and C. This book includes some interesting history on the recorder. This is more a manual that an a tutor book as it assumes you can confidently play other recorders. This is the same for Denis Bloodworth's The Bass Recorder Handbook, which is a reference rather than a note-by-note tutor book. Bloodworth finishes his guide with 14 solos and a duet from baroque composers including Telemann. Both these books are ideal for recorder players that want guidance on the specifics of bass recorder playing, but are familiar with other sizes and reading from the bass clef.
The following books are collections for the bass recorder containing pieces from the renaissance and baroque. The first two include accompaniment whereas the third is for unaccompanied bass.
The bass recorder has enjoyed attention from modern composers since the recorder revival in the early 20th century. Han Martin Linde often uses the bass recorder in his compositions, like in Amarilla mia bella, his homage piece to Jacob van Eyck. Benjamin Thorn's Voice of the Crocodile is a challenging piece where you sing throughout while playing the bass! Composers often use the different sizes of recorders within their work, allowing them to exploit the different characteristics. Isan Yun's Chinese Pictures is the perfect example of this, with the second movement titled coming alive when played on the bass recorder. Don't miss Anna Stegmann's performance of this which we're sharing in the next Recorder31 post.
Some pieces for alto recorder suggest the bass recorder as an alternative, like Staeps' Immortelle. In our opinion this piece works even better on the bass recorder! This leads us on to our next recommendation that you can play any alto repertoire on the bass recorder. Some things will work, some may not work as well, but it will certainly broaden your playing opportunities. If you fancy a challenge, Frans Brüggen's transcription Bach's Violoncello Suites is a great example of this as it is presented in the bass clef to maintain the link to the original suites!
Playing the continuo part is another way to broaden bass repertoire. If you are lucky enough to play with another recorder player but struggle to find duet repertoire, baroque sonatas can work really well as a recorder duet, one playing the solo line on the usual recorder and the other accompanying with the continuo line on a bass!