Monday, March 04, 2013

The New Division: New Music for Recorder

I'm very pleased to announce an online publication, The New Division, a collection of works by a large and international group of composers for solo alto recorder with or without accompaniment, based on ground basses found in the The Division Flute of 1706.

The Division Flute, published by John Walsh, was a collection of pieces for solo treble/alto recorder, mostly with accompaniment by continuo bass playing repeated grounds.  (The collection also included a number of unaccompanied preludes, chaconnes, and Cibells (a gavotte-like dance based on a hit tune by Lully.))  Like similarly-named collections for the viol (which has been lost) and violin, it provides one of the best insights into the state of the art of instrumental music-making — from amateur to virtuoso — in its time. The art of playing divisions — or, if you like, diminutions or variations — to an existing piece of music or over a repeating bass line and/or harmony was a central part of Baroque musical practice by both by composers and improvising performers. Sophisticated bodies of solo divisions survive for violin and viol, lute and keyboards and, among wind instruments, principally the recorder, cornett, and, somewhat later, transverse flute.

The basses used in The Division Flute includes a number which were so long and widely used that their origins are lost — like La Follia, one of the greatest hits of the 17th, 18th, and also much of the 20th century —, some are associated with particular tunes — here Green Sleeves or Johney Cock thy Beavor, and others are associated with particular musicians, including Godfrey Finger, John Banister, and Solomon Eccles (one of the most interesting personalities in English musical history.)

The New Division includes pieces offering a wide variety of styles and solutions to the elaboration of a bass as well as a Cibell for our time, with composers including (in alphabetical order) Jon Brenner, Steed Cowart, Elaine Fine, Christopher Fox, Danyel Franke, Jeffrey Harrington, Anne La Berge, Mary Jane Leach, Scott Mc Laughlin, Christopher Molla, Lloyd Rodgers, Conal Ryan, Jonathan Segel, and myself, with at least two additional items in prepation.  This includes music playable by virtuosi as well as, in some cases, very good amateurs and both music comfortably within conventions and traditions and music that cheerfully challenges those conventions. And it's all online, here.


Acuvox said...

Fabulous! My wife is hard core Baroque Harpsichord and I am immersed in New Music. At last something we can play together and use my 415 Alto.

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