September 2021
Collections Every Recorder Player Should Know:
Part II - Ensemble Music
by Eric Haas
While there is a core repertoire of solo and duet literature for recorder, once the forces expand to three or more players, there is a much wider range of music for a variety of different voicings, and less obvious ‘standard’ repertoire. Most of this article will focus not on historical publications, but on some of the most popular and useful anthologies and collections that have been compiled for recorder ensemble. 
Trio Collections
There is a great deal of vocal music from the Renaissance that works well on recorders, but no single trio publication available in a modern edition stands out. However, there are a few baroque collections that alto players should know. The Six Sonates en trio, op. 7 of Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (originally for three flutes) are delightful pieces, very rewarding to play, and not terribly difficult. Dolce (London Pro Musica, now Zefiro) publishes a transcription for three alto recorders of the two beautiful sonatas by Italian trained Parisian organist and composer Louis-Antoine Dornel, which are absolutely luscious. And finally, Johann Mattheson’s op. 1 consists of twelve sonatas for alto recorders, four duets and eight fine trios with interesting contrapuntal writing.
Heinrichshofen has published numerous wonderful recorder transcriptions of baroque works by the German composer and musicologist Ulrich Herrmann. His Trio Spielbuch (vols. I & II) presents shorter (but still substantial) works that can be laid out in score across a two page spread (to avoid page turns), mostly Renaissance and baroque, though volume I includes music by Brahms, Bruckner, and Rimsky-Korsakov as well. Vol. II has two gate-folds to incorporate longer works by Jenkins and Dussek. The works are for various instrumentations, mostly ATB (there isn’t much for soprano players in these volumes).
The Alto Recorder Trio Book (full disclosure: the author edited and publishes this collection) contains 33 pieces (4 have multiple movements) from the 13th to 21st centuries arranged for three alto recorders. There are some wonderful treasures, including music of Machaut, Landini, DuFay, Binchois, Willaert, Lupo, Hotteterre, Boismortier, Quantz, Hook, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Ibert and others. All vocal works include text underlay and translations. The music is spiral-bound to lay flat on the stand and there are no page turns.
When You Need to Be Flexible: Consort Music for Two to Six Players
The four volumes of Steve Rosenberg’s Recorder Consorts (published by Boosey & Hawkes) and his Recorder Book (Schott) have been popular since the publication of the first collection in 1978. Each volume contains at least 40 selections: solos, duets, trios, quartets, quintets (and a few sextets as well), laid out to avoid page turns. Most of the music is from the Renaissance, but there are a few medieval, baroque, and even 20th century selections. The editor indicates the appropriate recorder for each line, but the music has been carefully chosen so that in many cases parts may be played on more than one size (e.g., SA or AT), to allow for maximum flexibility. These are extremely useful collections to have on hand if you don’t know how many players to expect or what instruments they will have.
In the same vein as the Trio Spielbuch, Herrmann has collected three volumes of Quartett Spielbuch and two of Quintetts. Like the Rosenberg Recorder Consort volumes, Herrmann’s anthologies include music from the 15th to 20th centuries (though mostly Renaissance and baroque) with a range of skill levels, some quite easy, but mostly intermediate. 
Finally, the Schott Recorder Anthology series edited by Bernard Thomas consists of six volumes of pieces in two to five parts grouped by genre/style: Volume One is Fifteenth-Century Music, Volume Two French & Spanish Music, Volume Three Italian Music, Volume Four Dance Music, Volume Five German & Dutch Music, and Volume Six English Music. Most selections are accessible to intermediate to upper intermediate players. Thomas provides excellent notes on the sources and background of the music as well.
Publisher Information for Editions Referenced in this article
Boismortier: Six Sonates en trio, op. 7, Amadeus BP 2040 ($27)
Dornel: Two Sonatas, DOL 0322 ($14)
Mattheson: 8 Sonatas, op. 1, Amadeus BP 1600 ($30), Baerenreiter BA 6406 ($20). Schott (2 volumes) OFB 1009/1010 (each $17.95)
Herrmann: Trio Spielbuch I, N 3963*, Trio Spielbuch II, N3976*
AAA Trio Book, VHWA3 ($30)

Rosenberg: Recorder Consort 1 HL 48009338, Recorder Consort 2 48009339, Recorder Consort 3 HL48010909, Recorder Consort 4 48011602 (each $25); The Recorder Book HL 49002780 ($14)
Herrmann: Quartett Spielbuch I, N3964*, Quartett Spielbuch II, N3962*, Quartett Spielbuch III, N4764*, Quintett Spielbuch I, N3965*, Quintett Spielbuch II, N3965*
* US prices depend on exchange rate and shipping costs and vary widely

Schott Recorder Anthologies: Vol. 1 ED 12387, Vol. 2 ED 12388, Vol. ED 12389, Vol. 4 ED 12390, Vol. 5 ED 12391, Vol. 6 ED 12392 (each $20.95)
The editions described in this article may be ordered from Honeysuckle Music, the von Huene Workshop, Inc., Boulder Early Music Shop, Courtly Music Unlimited and other sheet music retailers. London Pro Musica editions are also available directly from the publisher’s new web site
Eric Haas is an ARS Board member who manages the Early Music Shop of New England in Brookline, MA. His many arrangements and transcriptions for recorders are played worldwide. He has recently published the “Bass Recorder Solo Book.”
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