Musician of the Month: Flautotonic
Flautotonic was formed in 2009 by Lauren Brant and David Beaney. Originally conceived as a recorder duo, they expanded their repertoire to work with their favourite harpsichordist Claire Williams. They play repertoire from the medieval period through to the high Baroque and beyond.
What recorders do the members of Flautotonic play?
Flautotonic have a large collection of recorders to match their repertoire. For performing genres such as medieval and folk music they perform on their ganassi recorders, and for Baroque music they perform at Baroque pitch on modern reproductions of Baroque models. Some of their repertoire requires their large bass recorder or at the other end of the scale, their petit sopranino recorder.
Is there much repertoire for recorders? And if so, is it predominantly European?
There is a wide and varied repertoire for our recorder ensemble and Flautotonic are excited that they feel that they still have more music to explore and perform. We particularly enjoy playing French music by composers such as Marais and Blavet, Italian virtuosic music by Vivaldi and of course German Baroque music by Handel and Telemann. Recorder players have often created their own repertoire, exploring music from other repertoires and genres. Flautotonic also enjoy creating their own arrangements to enhance their Baroque repertoire. They have explored and arranged Andean music for their ‘Baroque Journeys’ programme; transformed into Irish folk musicians as a link to Handel in Dublin and arranged Eastern European melodies for their ‘Telemann Treats’ programme.
Handel wrote some solo recorder sonatas, do you enjoy playing them?
I really enjoy playing the Handel sonatas, its repertoire I’ve played since I was little and it’s always lovely to return to them. I love the opening of the C major sonata, the rapid finger work in the D minor sonata and of course the beautiful Siciliana in the F major sonata. It is thought that Handel played the harpsichord for these sonatas. This always makes me smile, as the harpsichord part is very demanding, but clearly something that Handel would have enjoyed playing – and played very well!
What comes to mind when performing in Handel’s Rehearsal and Performance room?
Rehearsing and performing in Handel’s Music room is always a great privilege and treat. Performing in such a historic place really brings the music alive in my mind, and I do sometimes wonder if Handel is listening. If he is, I hope he enjoys Flautotonic’s performance of his music.