If you are a member of the American Recorder Society, you know that three times a year, you receive a brand new printed edition of music for recorder, enclosed with your issue of American Recorder magazine. How's that for a member benefit! But did you know that members may also freely download and print these editions from our website? (Login to the website on the front page, then click the link for Publications, ARS Members' Library Editions.)
There are currently 50 editions available for download as .pdf files. Some are arrangements of early or classical music, and many are pieces specifically written for recorder by contemporary composers. Voicing ranges from a solo, through duets and larger ensembles, including an 8-voice arrangement for recorder orchestra of Claude Debussy's "Reverie." Difficulty ranges from easy to complex.
Previous editor, Martha Bixler, described the origin of the series in her memoir (pp. 153 - 156), including background information on several of the early editions. She explained that since so many editions of early music were already being published, the editorial focus has moved to favor original compositions for recorder, which may not otherwise be made available.
For some of the music in the library, you may click on a link to listen to an audio file, and one, "S-O-S," even has a link to a live recording on YouTube. This may be helpful in choosing music appropriate for your group or occasion, and in learning the music. In fact, if your group plays or performs one of these pieces, please consider making a video (nothing fancy, your smart phone will work), posting it to YouTube, and sending us a link!
The full library is available only to ARS members (you must login to the website with your username and ID) but here's a link to one of the recent editions, "Song of the Heather," by Robert E. Agnew. This piece was the winner of the ARS is 75! Composition Competition in the Duo/Trio Category. The composer comments, "Song of the Heather" was composed after a visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, England. The melody of the piece came to me as I spent a day walking through the moors, visiting the ruins of the building Emily Brontë had in mind when she wrote Wuthering Heights."
For the significant time and effort involved in making this collection available online, many thanks are due to Win Aldrich, ARS Board member, and Glen Shannon, editor of the Editions since 2002.