PROGRAMME

Derzeitige Programme

A Song for all Seasons

A Song for all Seasons, Instrumentalmusik und Lieder der Renaissance

Flanders Recorder Quartet, Blockflöten & Cécile Kempenaers, Sopran

Die vier Jahreszeiten, der Wechsel der Zeiten … Schon immer hat dieser unablässige Wandel die Menschen beschäftigt, und viele Künstler haben das Thema bildlich dargestellt oder vertont. Zweifellos nehmen wir durch unsere angenehm beheizten Wohnungen im Winter, die klimatisierten Räumen im Sommer und den Schutz, den uns Züge und Busse vor Frühjahrsschauern und Herbststürmen bieten, die Jahreszeiten heute anders und weniger extrem wahr als unsere Vorfahren. Für die Menschen der Renaissance war der Wechsel der Jahreszeiten jedoch bis in jedem Aspekt ihres Lebens spürbar, er betraf die Arbeit, die Möglichkeit zu reisen, die Nahrung und die Bräuche. Die bildende Kunst des Mittelalters und der Renaissance führt uns die jahreszeitlichen Unterschiede immer wieder vor Augen – in einer Ästhetik, die damals aber nur einigen Privilegierten zugänglich war.

Der Wechsel der Jahreszeiten übte aber nicht nur auf bildende Künstler eine Faszination aus; auch in der Literatur und Musik sind die Jahreszeiten ein wichtiges Thema. Unser Programm bietet hierfür instrumentale Beispiele aus Italien und Flandern, außerdem Werke, bei denen große englische Renaissance-Gedichte Teil der Musik ist, die so genannten „consort songs“, und wunderschöne zeitgenössische Vertonungen von Shakespeare und Ben Jonson, der zu seiner Zeit berühmter war als der Dichter aus Stratford-upon-Avon.

Musik aus Italien, Flandern und England steht im Mittelpunkt von A Song for All Seasons, einem abwechslungsreichen Programm mit Renaissancemusik für Blockflöten und Sopran mit Werken von unter anderem Richard Nicholson, William Byrd, Robert Parsons, Pierre de la Rue, Guiseppe Giamberti, John Dowland und Thomas Simpson.

Bach

J.S. Bach is without doubt the greatest musical genius that Western culture has produced. Bach composed relatively little for the recorder. This is the only error that we, as recorder fanatics, can perceive in this genius of a composer. In this programme FRQ brings you arrangements of beautifully expressive chorals, lively Italianate concerti, highly inventive preludes and fugues, and a monumental passacaglia.
Four personalities, four individuals melt together, as it were, into one player...

Our Final Favourites

Final Favourites … perhaps the best theme for a concert tour: our audience’s favourites, doubling their applause, coupled with our own favourites. That is the compilation of this concert programme.

As a prelude we have chosen Bach’s Passacaglia. We cannot comprehend that Bach was only 25 years old when he composed this masterpiece. To a beautiful ostinato he invented endless variations, each with its own mood and as if this wasn't enough, he added a fugue to this ostinato theme. On an organ, for which this composition was originally intended, it sounds grandiose and impressive but this work is so strongly conceived that the instrumentation is not all that important. Totally different from an organ version, a recorder quartet sketches the different contrapuntal lines more intimately and makes them crystal-clear. We have been playing this composition for many years and are still making new discoveries.

The popular character, the less complex structure, the remarkable improvisations, the relaxing drones and the suggestive percussion are typical of the medieval section. Each interpretation invites something new and on stage the subtle intercommunication within the quartet encourages risk-taking, enhancing our communication with the audience. This medieval section functions like a wonderful film where you repeatedly see changing scenes: melancholic, exciting, triumphant, colourful, seductive …

Robert Parsons’s Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, one of our own favourites, never doubles the length of an applause. On the contrary, for some music lovers this abstract music is heavy weather. However, when playing it we really enjoy the ingenious architecture and the fascinating contrapuntal texture. Here the consort sounds at its best: transparent, even, compact, suggestive. After a quiet and delicate beginning Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la develops into such a complex rhythmic structure that it ends in an extraordinary apotheosis which could easily be thought impossible in 16th century music.

We like to conclude a concert with Capriccio and Volta from Simpson’s Taffelconsort. One by one we leave the stage whilst the music continues to sound in the audience’s minds. Such a frivolous and energetic conclusion is a tasty dessert after a delicious main course.

Bach had an enormous admiration for Vivaldi. So compelling was it that he reworked five of the twelve concertos from L’Estro Armonico for different instruments. The FRQ takes this further still and has transcribed this concerto for recorders. Vivaldi’s slow movements excel in their melodiousness and simplicity and form a strong contrast with the virtuoso and high-spirited fast movements. Despite these appealing qualities we have opted for Bach’s version with its gracious ornamentation, richer counterpoint and daring chords.

Quite a while ago we discovered the English composer Hugh Ashton, unknown to us at the time. Among his works we found this artfully composed work with particularly rich, frolicsome middle voices to a simple ground. We play it on copies of Virdung recorders (1511), made by Adrian Brown. These recorders have a brilliant tuning to a’ at 520 Hz. The articulation of these instruments is also extraordinary: they click and they spit, with some hiss here and an uneven plop there. Even so, this impurity makes the music attractive and alive, straight from the musician’s heart, head and hands.

The Italian composer Costanzo Festa was enthusiastic for a real tour de force. For this purpose he used La Spagna, a popular 15th century tune in long note values. That is the base for his 125 (!) Contrapuncti and on that cantus firmus he created miniatures full of contrast and atmosphere. In a letter to Filippo Strozzi, Festa described his Contrapuncti as follows: “… these contrapuncti are good for learning to sing in counterpoint, to compose and to play on all kinds of instruments”. This sounds modest but his Contrapuncti deserve much more than being called ‘pedagogical exercises’.

In Descendit Angelus Domini by Clemens non Papa we present the biggest of all recorders, the renaissance great bass. Such a low sounding recorder consort has a touch of magic, generating peace and quiet and encouraging contemplation. Every time the audience is amazed when these contrabass recorders are introduced, even though these instruments were very common during the renaissance because, according to Praetorius, “they fill the room with their heavenly soft and sweet sound”. Later on in that same 17th century Samuel Pepys also enthused about recorder sounds: “the wind-music when the angel comes down, which is so sweet that it ravished me; and indeed, in a word, did wrap up my soul so that it made me really sick, just as I have formerly been when in love with my wife”.

With Matthew Locke we opt for pure beauty and we are not alone in our appreciation. In 1728 Locke was cheered by Roger North in his Memoires of Musicke: “Mr. Metthew Lock was the most considerable master of musick after Jenkins fell off…until finally giving way to the devine Purcell”. Despite its exceptional nature, Locke’s brilliant repertoire is not often performed. It contains bizarre rhythms, gracious ornamentation and daring harmonies. This was not to everyone’s taste. King Charles II, for example, condemned these pieces because he could not tolerate music to which one couldn’t beat a regular time.

The last three Final Favourites are real encores: pieces that have to sparkle and flatter the ears and which can have totally different musical origins. The only condition is that they conform to Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opinion: “Music is not only an art to pleasure the ears but also counts as one of the greatest ways to move the heart and to evoke feelings

The Final Chapter

The Final Chapter, 30 Jahre Flanders Recorder Quartet

Jubiläum & Abschied

Mit dem Konzertprogramm Final Chapter präsentiert sich das Flanders Recorder Quartet zum letzten Mal. Traditionell stellt das Ensemble jedes Jahr ein neues Programm vor, das nicht nur ein feuriges Plädoyer für die Blockflöte ist, sondern auch dem Ohr der Zuhörer – der Kenner, Liebhaber und zufälligen Besucher – schmeichelt und ihr Herz höher schlagen lässt. Im neuen Programm werden mehrere Jahrhunderte durchschritten, wobei sich Klänge und Stimmungen ergänzen und vervollständigen – oder aber Kontraste bilden. Es erklingen Transkriptionen von Werken für Orgel und Traversflöte, abwechselnd alte und neue Kompositionen sowie zwei die Fantasie beflügelnde Auftragswerke; die unerwartete Note ist der Up-Tempo Swing. Final Chapter feiert die Blockflöte und ist ein krönender Abschluss, ein farbenprächtiges Abschiedsfeuerwerk.

Frühere Programme

A chest of flutes

A feast for four flutes

tba

Banchetto Musicale

Circa 1600

Felicitazione!

For its Silver Jubilee, the Flanders Recorder Quartet is presenting a very special project. We’re not celebrating alone, but with friends in a remarkable configuration of recorder quartet, string quartet and harpsichord. This might seem an unusual assemblage anno 2012, but in the baroque era this combination was the customary fashion. The nobility and sovereigns, who liked to boast with art and music, ensured recorders, strings and harpsichord were present at public feasts and celebrations, to be ardently listened to or in the background as ‘Tafelmusik’.

Our anniversary repertoire consists of top hits from the baroque era. It goes without saying that Johann Sebastian Bach cannot be left out of such a celebration. Bach’s music is the highlight of the contrapuntal tradition. The apotheosis of his oeuvre is his last composition Die Kunst der Fuge, but also the Brandenburg Concertos are carved in the public memories. The only digression we recorder players might accuse Bach of, is having not written anything for our ensemble, the recorder quartet. On the other hand the name of Antonio Vivaldi has a strong connection with our instrument. Vivaldi wrote whirling concerti for the recorder, and was also a potent inspiration to Bach who arranged some of Vivaldi’s works and even improved them. The result of this esteem can be heard in the two concerti in this programme, reworked by the FRQ for recorder quartet, strings and basso continuo.

FRQ has been bitten by the recorder bug, and has been inspiring composers to write for them resulting in more than fifty commissions over the last quarter of a century. The skilful and beautiful music or our friend-composer Piet Swerts cannot be left out of this programme. Swerts’ recorder music is, without a doubt, one of the highlights of the instrument’s modern repertoire. A few years ago he was asked to provide a prescribed piece for the Queen Elizabeth Competition and the FRQ has dedicated a whole cd to him. His magically minimal piece Motion is the alien of this concert programme situated between the baroque works.

Flemish footsteps in Rome

Flanders Recorder Quartet enjoys the hospitality of the Hospitium Flandriae looking for the Fiamminghi who dominated Europe musically during their stay here.

Isabela la Catolica

Jukebox Sunday

Which music are U waiting for?
At the entrance of the concert FRQ asks the audience to cast their vote; U choose the programme yourself from a selection of 100 greatest recorder hits ranging from the Middle Ages until 2009. FRQ’s Jukebox is a plea for the recorder in all its glory!

Bach’s magnificent architectural passacaglia as an evening entertainment? Or do U prefer Eastern improvisation and bluesy songs? No problemo: U vote, we flute!

Lamentationes et contrapuncti

The am'rous flute

The Darke is my Delight

The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Venezia

Zeitlos

Pädagogische Programme

KALENDER

Mechelen, Belgien

26.August 2017

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SHOP

Concerti

Concerti , released 27.Oktober 2014

Encore!

Encore!, released 12.Oktober 2012

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NACHRICHTEN

14.Mai 2017

Updated the Calendar.