Recorders, crumhorns, and shawms
Well, the only singing I did when I was a younger was, you know, essentially whatever we sang in the classroom. That was it.
[Not at home?]
Not at home. My mother, every weekend we always had the Metropolitan Opera broadcast on. Every weekend. And you know, usually dad chose what we were going to listen to, but when the Metropolitan broadcast was on, we listened to the Metro broadcast. My parents were both born in Sweden and they were members of the Vasa Order of America, so from a fairly young age I got dressed up in this monkey suit-type traditional garb and did some folk dances. Actually, for about five years when I was a kid, up until about the age eleven or something like that, I played steel guitar. Would you believe? That was about it until my second year of grad school, I was working on my PhD in physical chemistry and we went over to the professor’s house and he was actually a pretty good piano player. Pretty good, so one of the other grad students, we called him Nick the Great, he played first oboe in the Northside Symphony Orchestra as well as being in physical chemistry you know. Anyhow, so they did a piano oboe duet and then Roger, a post-doc, came out and he had two of these funny looking things and so they did two duets. They were, in retrospect, it was a soprano and alto recorder. So they did two recorder piano duets. I said Roger, what is that thing? Okay, a recorder. So how does it work? Oh, okay. How much do they cost? Oh they’re that cheap? So I mail ordered a soprano recorder from England as well as some sheet music, and I bought some sheet music in the states as well and started teaching myself to play recorders. And then it sort of, I guess I would say I learned slowly. But deliberately. I was in the Collegium Musicum in the late seventies when Ed Cotteck was director. Before I got in I actually took some private lessons for the various funny woodwinds. In the Collegium, in various concerts in the Collegium, for about two years I played soprano Cortijo Garklein, not sopranino, but soprano, alto, tenor, and bass recorders. Including Garklein, which is mainly useful for frightening cats, I believe. Let’s see, soprano, alto, and bass crumhorns, alto shawm, cornetto, otherwise known as the Zink. It’s, okay, it’s got a mouthpiece like a brass instrument, but a small one. It’s about yea long. It’s got six holes on top and a thumb hole, so it fingers very much like a recorder. And the lowest note is a D because it doesn’t have the bottom note… and then I never got the chops to play in the upper, to play much beyond an octave, but I did play in the concert.