Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sounds from the Baroque

Easter Sunday provided music lovers where I live with a rare treat when Georg Corall visited with his Ruckers replica for a recital. Georg is my musician mate Avril's recorder teacher at the University of WA where she is lucky enough to be studying currently.
Georg was born in Westfalia, Germany. His interest in music began at age 15 when he decided to learn how to play the recorder. He subsequently took lessons in piano at age 17, in harpsichord at age 18 and in Baroque oboe at age 20. At the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, he began his tertiary studies in recorder and harpsichord, and concluded studies of historical oboe instruments and recorder with Renate Hildebrand (Hamburg) at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy”, Leipzig. He also holds a teaching degree in historical woodwinds from the Hochschule für Musik, Hamburg. He completed his practical education at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Switzerland) from 1996 to 1998 in Baroque oboe with Michel Piguet, Baroque bassoon with Claude Wassmer and harpsichord with Massimiliano Rasschietti. Permanently resident in Perth (Australia), he recently finished his studies for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Western Australia in order to formalise the conclusions reached during twenty-five years of performing research and to develop his professional life as a scholar. His academic research focuses on “Hautboisten” (wind bands in the 18th century), playing techniques (articulation, eloquence, historical reed design) and questions of balance of instrumentation within a Baroque orchestra. Georg was awarded the  John Hind Scholarship in his first year of study in Perth, and was UWA’s inaugural recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s ‘Harpsichord Scholarship’.
With that background, I am sure you can imagine what a wonderful recital we were lucky enough to be presented with especially as Georg had the Ruckers pitched appropriately at 415 and used a well-tempered tuning. We heard music from Frescobaldi, Froberger, Couperin and Bohm including this Praeludium and Fugue in G minor by Bohm played here by Georg,


before the recital finished with his own wonderful period style composition.

There must be some truth to the story that harpsichordists spend more time tuning their instruments than actually playing them as this image shows Georg retuning the Ruckers during the interval to the delight of some interested audience members including myself. Avril informed me he had spent an hour tuning it before the recital!

Georg added to the ambience of the recital by wearing a beautiful below knee length, black sequinned, high-collared frock coat for the recital held in our quite gorgeous cedar lined local Anglican Church. I have presented recitals here myself in the past and I can vouch for it's suitability as a recital venue with a very forgiving acoustic only spoiled by extraordinarily uncomfortable pews resulting in a slightly penance like experience if the concert is lengthy. This is the first time I have ever heard a harpsichord in the flesh and it was an experience I am unlikely to forget and I look forward to Georg's promised next visit!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Friday's Beckoning Seas

Completed another tune for piano recently. Another tricky one in 7/4 so I am going to have to put a bit of work in to this one too before I can play it. The score is available here.