According to the MPRO Bylaws, one of the President’s duties is to contribute articles to the newsletter. My academic background is in biology, and my qualifications to write about music are summarized by Gilbert and Sullivan:

“... I know the scientific names of beings animaliculous:

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I am the very model of a modern Major-General.”

Nevertheless, in matters animal and musical, I would like to share evidence that one of MPRO’s pieces from the last season, Mainerio’s Caro Ortolano, was inspired by a bird’s song. Online research shows that one of several meanings of "ortolano" in modern Italian is the Eurasian songbird Emberiza hortulana, called the "ortolan" in French and the "ortolan bunting" in English.  The bird is now a protected species within the European Union due to historic demand for it as a French gourmet delicacy and concerns about cruelty to animals.  (You really do not want to read about the culinary details.)  There are several recordings of the ortolan's song online. This one reminds me of the phrases in the Mainerio piece that include sixteenth notes followed by two longer notes: http://www.british-birdsongs.uk/ortolan-bunting.  Compare this recording of the piece by a quartet of racketts (the video explains what a rackett is):   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFfXS59UQs4. I haven’t found any concrete information about Mainerio’s inspiration, but this is my theory, and I’m sticking to it!

I am a lifelong collector of useless information, and I enjoy researching the background of the music that MPRO plays. I will try to find appropriate musical trivia to share in future President’s messages.

Judith Unsicker



Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

        Listed below is the music for the next three meetings of the orchestra.  Music can be purchased at these meetings for those who did not download and print it from the PDF files sent to the orchestra’s membership in August.  Please note that there will be sectional seating for the Gabrieli Canzon Noni Toni, with those in Coro Primo on the right as they face the conductor and those in Coro Secondo on the left.  Please observe this seating arrangement when you choose your place at the beginning of the meetings on October 21 and November 4.  Please note as well that sopranino, great bass and contrabass recorders as well as bassoon will be needed at all three meetings and krummhorns will be needed on October 21 and November 4.

October 21

Gabrieli:  Canzon Noni Toni

Anonymous:  El Picardo

Wolkenstein:  Ave Mater, O Maria

Sousa:  The Liberty Bell March

October 28

Bach:  Bourrée I and II

Krieger:  Partie

Wolkenstein:  Ave Mater, O Maria

Sousa:  The Liberty Bell March

November 4

Gabrieli:  Canzon Noni Toni

Anonymous:  El Picardo

Bach:  Bourrée I and II

Wolkenstein:  Ave Mater, O Maria

Sousa:  The Liberty Bell March

        I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming meetings.



Fred Palmer


In three issues of UP BEAT for last year were found the translations from

Italian to English of the sonnets that were written, probably by Vivaldi

himself, to accompany the music for three concertos of Vivaldi’s


Now as we begin the new MPRO year (2015-2016) we complete the

“Vivaldi Project’ by providing the translation for AUTUMN. This concerto

has three movements, as did the others. The Allegro movement is about

peasant boys singing, drinking, and dancing, whereas, the Adagio movement

deals with the drunkards sleeping. The final Allegro movement describes a

hunt that ends with the death of the prey. The music for this autumn season

of the year is certainly more memorable than is this text!


The peasants celebrate with song and dance

their happiness at harvest safely home,

and for many who yield to Bacchus’ charms

their pleasure ends in sleep.


The balmy weather in which men all delight

and the summons of the season to the great

enjoyment of their sweet repose

make everyone forget singing and dancing.


At new day’s dawn the hunters

sally forth with horns and guns and dogs;

the prey takes to its heels and they pursue its trail.

Shocked and half paralyzed

by din of dogs and guns,

and wounded, wearily it attempts to flee

but, stricken, dies.

Transcribed from J. Koolbergen (1996) Vivaldi (1678-1741) by Keith



Bach, Bourees I and II:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsD1HxwefHI

A choral recording of Von Wolkenstein’s Ave Mater, O Maria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=td6Q766RUVU

A “completely different” recording (on recorders) of Sousa’s Liberty Bell March: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQlPHh-p_hk

The Board: President: Judith Unsicker; Treasurer: LouAnn Hofmann; Recording Secretary: Helen Shamble; Membership: Chris Flake; Publicity: vacant; Graphics: Mary Ashley; Newsletter Editor: vacant; Workshop Coordinator: vacant; Hospitality: Judith Unsicker; Music Sales: Laura Gonsalves; Historian: vacant; Webmaster: Dan Chernikoff; Facilities Mgr: Grace Butler; Music Director: Fred Palmer; Assistant Music Director: Greta Haug-Hryciw. MPRO website: http://www.mpro-online.org     


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