Recorders in all Shapes and Sizes
03 Feb 2023

If you’ve ever seen a ‘real’ recorder group in action, you’ll know the instruments come in all sorts of shapes and sizes! Pictured: The Shrewsbury Consort of Recorders, Carol Lyons, Marilyn Parry, Chris Green & Stuart Littlehales. Pictures: Simon Cousins

Don't miss a chance to see The Shrewsbury Consort of Recorders in action on February 11 at Mereside Hall in Shrewsbury (7.30pm, tickets £5 on the door). There are 17 recorder players with instruments in all shapes and sizes. 

Look out for the basses, in particular, with their unusual shape - they are square in cross-section, rather than round, and for the ‘Great Bass’ and ‘ContraBass’.  Very few groups can muster such forces!

The adult group of versatile players can pivot between ‘old school’ recorders called Descants (x4) and the full spectrum of recorders in various sizes: Trebles (x5), Tenors (x4) and Basses (x4). 

The consort in action

They will perform varied pieces of music from the 17th to the 20th century, including works by Handel, Elgar and Gershwin. They will be joined by the Rock Choir ‘Os Rocks’ a community PopRock choir from Oswestry, who will sing pieces for mixed voices from alternative music to pop and rock. 

Director Richard Duncan said: “This concert is a new venture as we have not co-performed with a choir before.  I was looking for a group that would contrast and complement what we as a recorder consort could do.  

“When I listened to OS Rocks on their website and then in their rehearsal I knew that, although our genres were different, their enthusiasm and love for what they produce matched that of the consort in every way but in a very different style. Brilliant!  I think it is important to approach music as something to generate emotion – love, happiness, sadness, loss, fulfilment – and that all generations throughout history have been able to do this whatever the background.”

The Shrewsbury Consort welcomes anyone who can play the recorder with confidence (even if not particularly nimble fingered) and who can read music for either Treble Recorder or Descant Recorder.  Rehearsals are at 7.30pm on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month in St Chad’s Hall, Shrewsbury (parking available). 

In 2019 they celebrated their 50th anniversary as a recorder consort.  The group was founded in 1969 by Fred Averis under the auspices of Shropshire Education (Adult Education). The current director Richard Duncan became interested after attending a week-long summer School in Dartington College with the Early Music Consort in 1972. He moved to Shropshire the following year and has been involved in organising or playing in mixed ensembles ever since, often arranging music himself.