Annual Meeting – April 14, 2023
The Annual Meeting of the Seattle Recorder Society was called to order at 7:02pm by President Laura Townsend at Maple Leaf Lutheran Church and on Zoom. Laura and Vicki Boeckman announced upcoming events, the details of which can be found in this newsletter’s Local Recorder Happenings article. The Moss Bay Meet will have met by the time you are reading this; registration for our biannual Port Townsend Workshop is now available.
Laura welcomed three new participants, Anthony, Robi and Steve, who introduced themselves – welcome! …and we hope to see you again next month and at our workshops!
President Elect Dave Gloger is the emcee for Members’ Night in May: eighteen “acts” had signed up already, and there was only room for two more [since then, all slots have filled and Dave is putting new requests on a waiting list]. A video broadcast is planned for audience members not physically present. More information can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.
Laura enthusiastically remarked, “What an incredible organization the SRS is to volunteer for. It’s an amazing community to foster.” Our most official order of business was to elect the next President Elect to succeed Dave Gloger who will then take Laura’s position. The SRS Nominating Committee put forth the name of Nancy Bent as a candidate for election. No further nominations were made from the floor. Hanan Bell made a motion to accept Nancy Bent as President Elect. The motion was seconded and – with 14 members online plus 24 in the room – the motion was unanimously approved.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:11pm.
Wassermusik by George Philip Telemann
The Back Room Gang (with record attendance!) relocated with Laura for their own playing session, while Vicki got the rest of us started with tuning. This past April 6 was the 300th anniversary of the first performance of G. P. Telemann’s Hamburger Ebb’ und Fluth (Hamburg Ebb and Flow) commonly known as Wassermusik (Water Music), our challenge for this evening. With water deities and nautical themes, Telemann wrote this orchestral suite to commemorate 100 years of the Hamburg Admiralty. Coincidentally, I was in Hamburg for the maritime event of the year to celebrate Mother’s Day at the port’s anniversary with my cousins five years ago – a gigantic festival on the Elbe River that has been going on for the past 800 years or so. It’s fun to think that Telemann likely attended this in his day as well!
The Awakening Thetis
In the interest of time, we skipped the overture, and moved right into Die erwachende Thetis (the awakening Thetis, Greek sea nymph/goddess of water). Vicki instructed that we should play it lightly and quickly; it had the single pick-up note with four measure phrases typical to the Bourée form (release/end phrase, breathe, gracefully pick up to next phrase). We imagined Thetis waking up, then looking around, and becoming aware of her surroundings. During the section where Thetis was clearly drowsy, the upper parts were reminded to not lose the tempo. Meanwhile, the tenors were told to feel free to trill on their long notes, while the basses and bassoon started and ended with their own versions of reveille.
Neptune in Love
Next up was Der verliebte Neptunus (Neptune in love, Roman god of the sea). The Loure dance form had a flow like a slow gigue in triple meter. With lots of lifts, there was a sense – as when early in love – that nothing is completely clear (she loves me? she loves me not?!). To further the infatuation emotion, sopranos were encouraged to linger on their appoggiaturas. Vicki instructed us on the shape of the Baroque trill, starting on the appoggiatura (note above the written note, and usually a dissonance; from Italian, literally “to lean on”), and quoted Frances Blaker in reference to alternate fingerings, “Real finger, real finger, cheat, cheat, cheat!” After playing the movement, Vicki crooned, “Aw, so sweet. I love it! The bassoon sounds really cool! Neptune is really in love!”
The Joking Triton
In contrast to Neptune’s love life, Der scherzende Tritonus (the joking Triton, Neptune’s son) had something different up his sleeve for us in this Harlequinade movement. (Trivia: Neptune-the-planet’s largest moon is named after the deity’s son, Triton). Vicki instructed us to play this movement not too quickly, but lightly, and to slur as written. With a rondeau road map of ABACA, the upper three voices were instructed to play quietly in section B so that the basses could be in the spotlight, and by C the basses had a “crazy line” with tricky accidentals. Vicki admonished the people with many measures of repeated notes, “Don’t act bored!” The harmony changed under them, so it wasn’t boring for the listeners. When Vicki asked us all to play a little faster the next time, I think the joke was on us!
The Pleasant Zephyr
Der angenehme Zephyr (the pleasant Zephyr, god of the gentle and pleasant west wind) was in Minuet form: no pick up notes, breathe at the bar lines, four measure phrases made up of a two measure question with a two measure response. With all the voices in rhythmic unison, sopranos were encouraged to trill on any accidentals. After once through, Vicki worked with the lower voices so we could learn to add shape to the phrases, before adding the sopranos to dance on top of the lower voices. After putting it all together again, Vicki exclaimed, “Sweet and pleasant! Very Sweet!”
Ebb and Flow
As the evening waned, we only had time for a quick run through Ebbe und Fluth (Ebb and Flow). This was a Gigue which had notes in parallels and octaves, and a clear pattern of rising up and falling back down – each part in its own time: some parts going up while others were going down, like waves. Altos and basses had many measures of triplets, but with a distinct pattern, so Vicki advised to let our eyes only look at the first note in each set of three, then follow the pattern without looking. If the tonguing was hanging us up, it was acceptable to slur the triplets. For the final eight measures, the sopranos had ebbed, the basses/tenors had a long steady note, and the altos just kept on moving. There was no doubt this movement was painting a tone of wild seas.
The Stormy Aeolus
Our last movement for the evening was Der sturmende Aeolus (the stormy Aeolus, ruler of the winds). This music was written with a slew of sixteenth notes – a fine place to practice our did’l double tonguing. In the tricky measures, Vicki suggested we play any arpeggio – as long as it was in the correct key(!) – and reminded us that’s why we practice our scales and arpeggios. Even though we only played it once, this movement clearly gave the feeling of stormy winds that I believe Telemann intended. “That was really, really fun!” Vicki cheered. She encouraged us to listen to some of the amazing recordings (e.g. on youtube.com) with Telemann’s intended orchestration.
Back Room Gang
After the official business of the SRS meeting concluded, right before Vicki started in on the Telemann, Laura invited all interested to join her in the back room. The Backroom Gang sported a lively group of five players this month, composed of three returning members joined by two new folks. Laura started the session with the medieval (1370) antiphon O Virgo Splendens, in preparation for the tutti performance that will happen at Members’ Night this year, playing it in multiple octaves on SATB recorders.
Then, following up on last month’s Byrd-based session, they looked at the simpler Renaissance polyphony of Jacques Arcadelt in the form of the three madrigals Nous voyons que les hommes, J’ay tant bon credit, and Encontre moy en douceur. Laura used traditional call/response imitation to give everyone the chance to play the groppo semplice division that occurs ubiquitously in Renaissance cadences. The session was delightfully punctuated by lively questions on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from fingerings to the differences of historic musical styles and harmonies. The group developed a more cohesive ensemble sound as the session progressed!
We have one SRS meeting left in May, but this was the final playing session of the season for both the large group and the Back Room Gang — many thanks to all our conductors this year!
Hope to see you all at Members’ Night and at the Port Townsend Workshop!
Wishing you fair winds and following seas,
Evy Dudey, SRS Secretary