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The Flute World

Author(s): J. M. Thomson
Reviewed work(s):
Source: Early Music, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Apr., 1982), pp. 294-295
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: .
Accessed: 15/09/2012 16:04
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and their ability to interpreta drawing.

There will be no formal academic requirements. Financial assistance for
apprenticesin the formof grantsshould
become available this year.
Instruments made in the workshops
will be available initially from the
college, but agencies will be set up in
London and abroad in the future. The
college will be awareof its responsibility
to the trade, as it begins to take a slice
of the market. In return it intends to
promote all aspects of early music
performanceand thus stimulate public
interest so as to bring new people into
the market.Plans for the future include
an early music summer school in 1983
directed by James Tyler, conferences
and seminars, and concerts (especially
during the Chichester Festival).
The school will be housed in the
magnificent country house of West
Dean, near Chichester in West Sussex,
which was until 18 years ago the home
of EdwardJames. When the house was
converted into a residential college
great care was taken to preserve its
character and to retain a countryhouse atmosphere.The originalstabling
for 100 horses has been converted to
provide large, well-lit, centrally heated
workshopsthat will be open seven days
a week.
The EdwardJames Foundation has
made it possible for residents to have a
comfortable, functional and spectacularly beautiful environment, yet the
cost of training is very moderate and
the cost of full board extremely reasonable by any student standards. For
further information about the musical
instrument school, write to:
The Principal
West Dean College
West Dean
West Sussex P018 OQZ.

1981 attemptedto fill this gap. Though

it would clearly be impossible to cover
the vocal techniques of seven centuries
in two days, the organizers sought to
exclude nothing, this being the first
gathering solely on this subject. Their
solution was to offer two concerts and
a few well-chosen papers on specific
issues from the whole spectrum, interspersed with more wide-ranging discussion including all participants.
In 'RenaissanceSinging-A Diversity
of Styles', Ray Nurse, of Vancouver's
Hortulani Musicae, discussed the different styles co-existing then as now
according to time, place and occasion.
'It is a mistake',he advised, 'to think of
singing as "improved"since the Middle
Ages-other cultures had other concepts of beauty.'
Julianne Baird,of New York'sWaverley Consort, read a closely reasoned
paperon 'TheUse of Vibratoin Singing
-A HistoricalPerspective',so concentrated it was impossible to take notes
from, but which, we hope, will soon be
published in its entirety. She cautioned
against misunderstandingof the terms
'vibrato'and 'tremolo', which are not
used in historical texts in the senses we
The problem of the modern voice
singing early music was tackled by
Quentin Quereau, of the Cleveland
Baroque Soloists, himself a modern,
trained singer, in 'The Use of the
TrainedNon-Specialist Voice for Early
Music'.His sympatheticcomprehension
of the difficulties besetting those who,
to earn a living, must sing Verdi one
night and Monteverdi the next, struck
home to many. Andin her presentation
'The Knownsand Unknowns of Singing
Medieval Music', BarbaraThornton,of
Cologne's Sequentia, emphasized there
is no one correct way to sing medieval
The two concerts were superb. Julianne Bairdsang virtuoso vocal works
from the 17th and 18th centuries, with
Earlyvocal practices
In the plethoraof conferences devoted Ray Nurse (lute) and Doris Ornstein
to early music, there has been little (harpsichord). Sequentia limit themfocus on the early voice. The Sym- selves to music before ADI300. They
posium on Early Vocal Practices held gave a sophisticated performance enin Cleveland, Ohio, on 23-5 October titled 'Minstrels and Clerics of the


Medieval North'. Both Julianne Baird

and the members of Sequentia are examples of a recent hybrid,the scholarmusician of technical and artistic
excellence, and both concerts drew
sizeable, enthusiastic audiences.
Farmore questions were raised than
answered by this symposium, but a
beginning was made to define the
outlines of early vocal practice, to coordinate individual researches and
apply them to performance-a step
long overdue. A decision was made to
plan an InternationalSociety for Early
Vocal Practice,and to starta newsletter.
Anyone interested should contact:
Dr Ross W. Duffin
Music Department
Case Western Reserve University
Ohio 44106
Tapes of the presentations and discussions may be orderedfromhim for a
reasonable fee. The symposium was
held with the support of the Music
Department,and it is hoped to hold a
second one next year.

The flute world

At a one-day flute seminar in the
Waterloo Room of the Royal Festival
Hall on 17 January, Tony Bingham
and Alex Weeks gave Stephen Preston
an admirableopportunityto introduce
the Baroque flute to an audience of
non-early music specialists. How stimulating the results can be when early
music is placed in a historical context
and its performers'problemscompared
with those of flautists concentrating
on the 19th- and 20th-century repertoires. William Bennett discussed, for
instance, the English and French
styles earlier this century. He introduced concepts of the different flutemaking traditions of both countries,
and showed how they reflected different artistic approaches. These, as
well as different national temperaments and traditions, and the greater
insularityof England,inevitablybrought
about different styles. The French is
exemplified by Marcel Moyse, while

the English, stemming from Charles

Nicholson, came down through Robert
Murchie and John Amadeo. (I once
heardAmadeoplay 19th-centurybravura
pieces on his Radcliffe flute at a ship's
concert, his forceful, direct tone being
a survivalof the type of playingadmired
before the Frenchapproachtook over.)
Stephen Preston demonstrated the
qualities of various Baroqueflutes. He
gave young performersa clear,practical
introduction to embellishment and the
subleties of tonguing, and incidentally
opened up the fascinating relationship
between language structure and articulation, linking Baroque treatises on
these to some of the 19th century,
including Nicholson on finger and
chest vibrato. Albert Cooper, whose
backyard workshop has become a
Mecca for flautists the world over, has
such an engaging mannerthat even the
most technical discussion was enlivened with earthyobservations:'Mind
you, I don't play the flute: I just blow it'.
In his view silver and 9-caratgold make
the best modern flutes. 'Wood is not
permanent somehow'. There was a
shocked pause. 'Come on now, who's
going to argue with me?' 'In the winter
gold is warmto the lip,' he said, 'silveris
cold.' The spirit of cross-fertilization
received a final buoyant boost when
Tim Wheater burst upon the proceedings with his Pipe Dream: electronic
techniques, lighting, voice and mime,

tube stations, as well as easy evening

parking, has lead to an increase in the
number of amateur students.
This year the Early Music Centre is
presenting an even greater variety of
courses, including seminars for professional 'conventional' violinists to
convert to the Baroqueinstrument and
weekend courses on Monteverdi and
Renaissance dance. Full-time courses
in lute and singingandchildren'sclasses
are also offered. Details from:
Early Music Centre
137 Goswell Road
London EC1V7ET.

they speak for themselves, a testimony

borne out by those who have returned
for their second or third instrument.
Bob's 50th harpsichord was played by
Zuzana Ruizikova in a concert dedicated to him at Levens Hall on 14
November and the following day at
Levens Parish Church at a service in
his memory. The loss of RobertDavies
is deeply felt by all those who were part
of his happy workshop.

The death of Elizabeth Goble on 23

December1981brokean old and valued
link with the early music revival in its
earlydays. She was a protegee of Marco
Pallis, who did so much for so many of
Thefollowing tributeto RobertDavies, a us at that time, when he was a
supporter and we were hopeful pupils
who diedsuddenlyin October1981,comes of Arnold Dolmetsch. Her talent was
froma fellow instrumentmakerand close amazing,and variously employed as we
all had to be in that pioneering estabBob died after a sailing trip from Gib- lishment. She seemed to prefer the
raltar to Port Hamble. He was 55. gamba,though by natural bent I doubt
Alwaysa keen sailor, he had at one time if she was quite so much a stringplayer
taught navigation. He had recently as she was a harpsichordist. She infinished his I115thinstrument and in a herited from Dolmetsch a touch of rare
way had written his own obituary in and sonorous quality, and she had a
John Paul's recently published Modem sense of line and phrasing particularly
HarpsichordMakers. I worked for Bob memorable in Bach and Couperin and
six of the eleven years I knew him and in the English virginalists as she rewill never forget his kindness when I cordedthem for Decca on some historic
lived in a small room in Lancaster discs. But there was something in her
building my first harpsichord. From personalitywhich kept her back from a
sailing and building small dinghies, his soloist's career, and eventually she
expertise and feeling for timber took made her main impact through the
all in one.
work of that gifted craftsman, Robert
J. M. THOMSON Bob into harpsichord making when he
met Robin Bagot of Levens Hall, who Goble, whom she married, inspired,
Early Music Centre
suggested they make a pair of instru- guided and sustained throughout his
The London EarlyMusic Centre,foun- ments. Made in Tom Goffs style, they long career as a brilliant maker of
ded in 1976 by Anthony Rooley, has are still in Levens. Robin'sencouraging modern harpsichords, first in descent
moved premises to the top floor of an enthusiasm eventually stimulated Bob from Dolmetsch and latervery much in
Edwardian warehouse near London's into beginning the business full time. his own right. Her gamba playing conBarbican.The premises, which consist He assembled for the organist Geraint tinued in chamber music with that
of four teaching rooms, a library,two Jones the first Hubbardkit to be built dedicated ensemble, the English Conoffices, and a small rehearsal hall in the UK,and it was Jones who largely sort of Viols, whose importance during
capable of accommodating a chamber set Bob on his feet. Bob broke away the lean years between the vintage
orchestra,house all the activities of the from the Goff-inspired instruments, Haslemereseasons andthe widergrowth
centre, including the EarlyMusic Net- and by the time I had been with him of subsequent consorts lay in preserving
work. The new location is provingto be three years or so, in 1975, we were and expanding a pioneering vision. Her
far more convenient than the centre's making the usual range of traditionally characterhad always something of the
former cottages in Holland Park.There based instruments.
majestic, to which she later added a
is sufficient space for many evening
The world of early music performers fine tranquility. A splendid woman
classes to be held in comfort, and the and listeners need hardly be reminded both in her gifts and in her vivid
proximity to both Angel and Barbican of the sound of Davies harpsichords: person.