Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Report from 3rd Catacoustic Scholarship Winner, Michael Zaret

Many years ago (like back in the late 1970s), I was deeply involved in Early Music performance. Five students at CCM formed an ensemble, Musica Camerata. During our five years as a group we performed numerous concerts from New York to Florida, and Philadelphia west to Texas, including a stop in St. Paul to play on “Prairie Home Companion” and “Baroque and Beyond.” Unfortunately, our members eventually dispersed to various new locations around the country. That and increasing family responsibilities drew me away from Early Music performance. A couple of years ago, I heard Annalisa and Elizabeth Motter perform at a local library, and my interest was rekindled. However, my set of almost 40-year-old Baroque Moeck Rottenburgh recorders were in dire need of repair and revoicing.

Thanks to the Catacoustic Scholarship, I was awarded a grant to make them playable. So off they went to Boston and the Von Huehne Workshop, where they were revoiced and a key was added to the tenor recorder to compensate for my aging, shrinking fingers. In addition, a thumbhole ring was installed on my well-worn alto.
Fipple, with block removed
the block(curved side)- is inserted into fipple

What is revoicing, you might ask? Revoicing a recorder involves removing the block (the wooden piece that fits into the mouthpiece and shapes and steers the airstream) and ensuring that all the surfaces of the windway are clean and smooth and properly shaped to ensure the air from the windway is arriving at the edge (which sets it into vibration) correctly. The chambers at the exit end of the windway may be re-angled if necessary, and if the edge is damaged or swollen, re-cut.The end result is that revoicing makes a recorder play prettier! In the future, I hope to be able to send my Hopf Renaissance recorders in to also be repaired.
Block partially inserted into fipple
Recorder mouthpiece. Block fully inserted into fipple

I have had a busy year, playing with a variety of groups, both formal and informal. I’ve done some performing, and lots of practicing! I’ve also been practicing Baroque flute, but at this point, am not quite ready for prime time.

Again, I sincerely thank Catacoustic Consort for providing the spark to get me back into Early Music, and their generous grant to help make that happen!

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