Editor’s note: On Saturday, February 1, Judith Linsenberg will be presenting a workshop for the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra entitled “Kindred Spirits:  Comparing the music of interesting pairs of composers from the Renaissance to the present.”  MPRO members have already received the registration flyer by email. The flyer can also be downloaded and printed from our website at The following article by Frederic Palmer explores the theme of the workshop.


Finding something that two composers have in common can lead to some interesting and, at times, surprising comparisons.  For example, Telemann and Mozart were contemporaries.  Yet, despite the fact that they were composing music at the same time, they seem to belong to totally different historical periods.  Telemann, while making an occasional foray into the newer Rococo idiom, is really firmly planted in the Baroque, while Mozart is already beyond the Rococo and into the final stages of the Classical period that would eventually pave the way for the Romantic period that followed.  However, the music of both composers clearly reflects the ideals of the Enlightenment, and both had an ability to write music with impressive speed and facility.

A common nationality can also lead to some unexpected pairs of composers.  For example, François Couperin (1668-1733) and Maurice Ravel (1875-1937).  Although separated by centuries, the music of the two composers reflects certain common traits that have been characteristic of French music since the Renaissance.  These include clarity of form as well as an overall lightness of texture and easy-going elegance.  This is most obvious in Le Tombeau de Couperin, in which Ravel seems

naturally drawn to the music of the French Baroque as he explores the modern possibilities inherent in the vocabulary and style of late 17th- and early 18th- century music.  

Other pairs of composers can lead to fascinating comparison as well, including fathers and sons, such as Johann Sebastian and C.P.E Bach, Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti and Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  And it is always intellectually challenging to explore the works of composers are who are leaders of warring musical camps, such as Brahms and Wagner, and see what they might have in common after all.

Comparing two composers who have something in common not only gives us greater insight into the compositions of each and what influences they may share but also a greater understanding of the musical, cultural and philosophical influences that shaped their music.



Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

Here are some of the highlights for the second half of the orchestra's 2019-2020 season:  MPRO’s spring concert has been tentatively set for the first weekend in May.  The exact date and location will be announced in January.  On Saturday, February 1, Judith Linsenberg will be directing a workshop for MPRO.  Judith Linsenberg, who holds a doctorate degree in early music from Stanford University, is an internationally known performer of the recorder as well as artistic director and member of the San Francisco Bay Area Baroque ensemble, Musica Pacifica. Further information is available in the workshop registration flyer, which can be downloaded and printed from the MPRO website. I encourage all MPRO members to take advantage of this opportunity to work under the leadership of one of today’s truly great recorder superstars.  


Music for the second half of the orchestra’s 2019-20 season will include a hymn from ancient Rome by the early 2nd- century composer, Mesomedes.  This is

certainly the oldest selection the orchestra has ever attempted and one that promises to be very interesting to work up to a performance level.  In addition to this hymn, the following music from the first half of the current season will be repeated at the orchestra’s spring concert: Quel fronte signorille by Dufay, Ave Verum by Mozart, the anonymous Polish court dance, Rex and the Sonata Op. 4 by Corelli.  We will also be working on some selections that I plan to program for next season.  These include a suite by the 17th-century German composer, Johann Hermann Schien, The Last Spring from Two Elegiac Melodies by the Late- Romantic Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg, and a pavan based on the famous Renaissance melody, Mille regretz, from Tielman Susato’s Danserye published in 1551.  I am also pleased to announce that Irene Beardsley will be playing keyboard with the orchestra at its upcoming spring concert.

Listed below is the music for the orchestra's first three meetings of the New Year.  Please note that sopranino recorder as well as bass viola da gamba will be needed at all three meetings and that great bass recorders and krummhorns will be needed on January 8 and 15.

January 8

Mesomedes:  Hymn to the Sun

Susato: Pavane Bittre Reue

Schein:  Suite No. 15


January 15

Mesomedes:  Hymn to the Sun

Grieg:  The Last Spring

Anonymous:  Rex

Corelli:  Sonata Op. 4

January 29

Mesomedes:  Hymn to the Sun

Dufay:  Quel fronte signorille

Mozart:  Ave Verum

Corelli:  Sonata Op. 4

I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings and working on this music with you.  Please let any of your friends who play early instruments know about the

orchestra's varied activities and invite them to attend an MPRO meeting, workshop or concert.   -Sincerely, Fred Palmer


In January MPRO will begin rehearsing Hymn to the Sun by Mesomedes of Crete. This recording of the hymn includes the vocal part in Greek:  MPRO’s sheet music has a part for the hydraulis, the oldest known keyboard instrument, invented in the third century B.C.  This article includes photos of an archaeological find and an ancient illustration:  The hydraulis used water pressure to compress air which was then routed through organ pipes. This animated video gives a technical explanation:  Still another video includes a demonstration of a modern reconstruction of the hydraulis. See:  -Judith Unsicker

The Board: President: Judith Unsicker; Treasurers: Chantal Moser and Mary Ashley; Recording Secretary: vacant; Membership: Chris Flake and Tom Granvold; Publicity: vacant; Graphics: Mary Ashley; Newsletter Editor: vacant; Workshop Coordinator: vacant; Hospitality: vacant; Music Sales: Laura Gonsalves; Historian: vacant; Webmaster: Dan Chernikoff;  Music Director: Fred Palmer.  MPRO website:      

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