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Recorders

With the rise in popularity of the transverse flute, the recorder experienced something of a demise; this coincided with the latter days of the orchestras of Handel and Bach. The recorder, once called the flute, had then to find another name as the transverse instrument took over the name. The recorder then became known as the flute a bec, a reference to the beak like mouthpiece, before settling on the name it currently uses today.

Arnold Dolmetsh was instrumental in reviving the recorder's popularity in the 1920s and his workshops in Haslemere, Surrey have been responsible for some of the finest recorders in recent times. It is thought that the recorder dates from possibly as early as the thirteenth century. In the renaissance period the instrument experienced something of a heyday with Henry VIII introducing to England the fashionable French and Italian practice of the consort; a series of instruments (recorders, violins, flutes etc) playing in harmony using instruments of differing sizes. Furthermore, there is evidence for consorts of recorders being used by the waits of London, Exeter, Norwich, Chester and Norwich in the sixteenth century. These instruments would have been bought in a set of soprano, alto, tenor and bass from the maker at the same time to make for consistency in tuning. They would also have had a wider bore to ensure fullness of sound especially on the lower notes. The baroque recorders have narrower bores which result in a greater range of notes, essential for the solo passages in the sonatas and concertos of Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Telemann etc. Mike's soprano, alto and tenor renaissance recorders (in stained sycamore) are by Peter Kobliczek of Germany and his bass is by Hopf of Germany. His baroque recorders are of the Rottenburg ebony range by Moeck of Germany (soprano, alto and tenor) with the bass by Adler. The sopranino pictured is a plastic model by Aulos.