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Concert Preview: Recorders in Consort on Early Music Discovery Series

April 1, 2010

EMG presents : Recorders in Consort on Early Music Discovery Series

Vicki Boeckman and David Ohannesian

Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 1PM

Downstairs at Town Hall, Seneca entrance

$10 general admission, $5 seniors and under 25; tickets available at the door.

Ohannesian & Boeckman with their recorder menagerie

This fipple’s not so simple

We early-music buffs tend to take recorders for granted. A good one’s made of fine woods and precisely machined, but fundamentally it’s a whistle, right? Yes, but: Talk to recorder-maker David Ohannesian and you’ll find that turning a whistle into a musical instrument is as tricky as any other precision craft. The earliest recorder I’ve had a chance to handle was basically a cylindrical wooden tube, but by the end of the renaissance builders had already learned that a tube that narrowed toward the end and then flared out again produced a bigger, stabler sound. Even though a recorder doesn’t resonate to the tones it produces (equally well-made ivory and plastic instruments don’t sound any different) they’d also learned that boxwood somehow lends a particularly rich quality of tone, probably because of the microscopic texture of the machined wood. The wood of choice for the edged plug which produces the sound is cedar, but the crucial determining factor is the shape of “the windway”: “A flat, rectangular windway produces a more solid, centered sound; on where the windway is slightly arched in the center favors higher frequencies in the sound and gives more brilliance,” says Ohannesian. “And the width of the windway is crucial; I can hear a difference if I cut it 12.31 millimeters wide rather than 12.30.”

Join Ohannesian and Vicki Boeckman as they put recorders gigantic and teensy through their paces Sunday April 12 in the last of EMG’s hour-long Discovery matinees of the 2009-10 season.  Take the kids; they’ll learn a lot.  So may you.

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