Last semester, Ihad the good fortune and pleasure to perform the Tenor recorder with the Elizabethtown College Early Music Consort. Aside from providing incidental music for numerous events on campus, we played in the college's performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It was a lot of fun up in the stage's balcony. In the play, the actors interact with the musicians; while we didn't have speaking parts, we were truly part of the production.
One of our signature pieces was "Pastyme with Good Companie," reputed to be written by England's King Henry VIII himself. Last night, on a whim, I opened up Garageband, and recorded it on my trumpet: Pastyme with Good Companie.
I think I am in love. And I do not think it ill befits my good mistress Trumpet to have so cordially welcomed such a noble Recorder as the Tenor into our cheerful company, to take a place akin to that most beloved friend Guitar in service to my occasional fancies.
In regards to that instrument, I present the following links to recordings and ensembles which I have thoroughly enjoyed."Suite William". You can listen online.
I also like the Flanders Recorder Quartet. They exhibit a sense of talent and musical professionalism which isn't often ascribed to such ensembles in the US. Their samples show the quality of their cohesive musical performances. They have some great vocalists. And they play equally with clear, sweet vim and strong feeling. Truly beautiful.
The Flautadors strike a strong impression, and people seem to love them, but I can't find any audio samples.
The Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia is a massive group of 20-30 recorder musicians. They manage to stir up a full sound not found in smaller ensembles, while still staying rather tight. Their extensive Recordings page lists equally-extensive music, from Sousa to Mussorgsky to Elgar to Handel.to someone more expected, like William Byrd.
England has a National Recorder Youth Orchestra. I wish I could hear them online.
Royal Wind Music, based in the Netherlands, looks very smart, young, and modern. They have a true sense of flair, and their vocals are said to be as astounding as the rest of their music. Unfortunately, I can find no excerpts online.
Denmark also seems to be the home of many good recorder artists. Sirena is amazing. They perform stunning, cutting edge music on recorder, but they also excel at more traditional pieces. And sometimes, they tie the two together. As one writer remarked, "How artistic they are, these four girls, and with a vengeance!"
Of course, I should mention the artists of Magnatune, my favorite music label. There's the fabulous Farallon Recorder Quartet, and make sure you don't miss Da Camera, which is new to me. Remember to run a search for "Recorder." DaCamera performs spirited renditions of Carolan's Concerto, John Come Kiss Me Now, and other works of recorder, harpsichord, and strings. I have, of course, always enjoyed Farallon's faithful, fun renditions of Renaissance and Baroque music.
Magnatune is the original download-and-buy music label. They treat their artists fairly. They are not evil, to artists or to customers.
I could hardly mention Magnatune without mentioning Edward Martin, Lutenist extraordinaire. His album, "Virtues and Vices," is a lot of fun. Tracks like "Can She Excuse May Wrongs with Virtue's Cloak?" are oh so Renaissance. I much prefer his rendition of "Tobacco is Like Love," by Tobias Hume.
And while I'm linking to outstanding musical groups, make sure you check out The Gentlemen of St. John's. "Nine out of ten angels recommend it."
And I can't believe I didn't go through a post on Renaissance music without actually linking to any. Here's the SCA's marvelous resource and also a link to the folk music transcriptions of retired computer music pioneer Eric Foxley.