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We are delighted to bring you the new edition of our monthly newsletter including our latest news, events, offers as well as news and features from the Early Music world.

The Early Music Shop e-Newsletter - September 2017

Flanders Quartet Weekend at Saltaire; Camac Harp Weekend at Saltaire; Interview with this month's Featured Artist, Tom Beets; New and Featured Products; and a look at the Finalists of the Moeck/Society of Recorder Players Competition 2017 and York Early Music Competition Winners!

Upcoming Events


Flanders Recorder Quartet Weekend

Saltaire Camac Harp Weekend

The Early Music Shop is delighted to bring the fantastic Flanders Recorder Quartet to Saltaire for their 30th Jubilee tour. As the ensemble will be stopping its activities in the summer of 2018, this is a golden opportunity to see them in action one last time. Concert at 7.30pm on Saturday 30th September in Saltaire.


On Sunday 1st October the members of the Flanders Recorder Quartet will be sharing their wisdom and magic with you during a full day of workshops, masterclasses, ensemble lessons and individual tuition.

This popular event is now in its fourth year and if you have ever dreamed of owning and playing a harp then Salts Mill, Victoria Road, Saltaire, on Friday 22nd - Sunday 24 September, is the place to be!


Visitors to the showroom can expect to see a fabulous display of Camac lever and pedal harps and the Camac France team will be present throughout the weekend to offer expert advice on their range of harps. If you are lucky enough to already own a Camac harp, free service and regulation can be arranged over the weekend (reservation required).

For full details on the festival visit the website.


Autumn Tuition

EMS On Tour

Don't forget that tuition is available at the Early Music Shop in lute, harp and viol! Visit us at Medieval Music in the Dales from Friday 8th - Sunday 10th!


Featured Artist - Interview with Tom Beets


Tom Beets is one of the most talented and exciting young recorder players of our time. He is a member of The Flanders Recorder Quartet as well as other established and upcoming performing groups, a teacher at venues across the world and a vice-president of the Society of Recorder Players here in the UK. Since 2015, Tom is one of the directors of the Recorder Summer School that is held in Bishop Burton, near Beverley.

Tom is a teacher in music schools in Belgium. In addition, he leads masterclasses and workshops across Europe, in the Far East, and in the USA and he regularly teaches on residential courses in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, UK and USA. He is director of the largest early music and recorder course in the Dutch language area, Blokfluitdagen and one of the editors of the Dutch recorder magazine, ‘blokfluitist’, which updates enthusiasts, teachers and professional recorder players on what is happening in the world of the recorder. Since 2013, together with Joris Van Goethem, Tom has organized and conducted over 60 recorder orchestra days. This project goes under the name Air-Force and also take place in the UK five times a year.

The Flanders Recorder Quartet will play its last concert at the end of 2018. At the moment they are preparing a week-long UK tour, at the beginning of October 2017, that starts at the Saltaire Early Music shop, calls at Bristol, Woking, Ipswich, Cardiff to reach its final destination, London. This tour includes two brand-new spectacular concert programmes as well as workshops.

The Early Music Shop are very privileged to have caught Tom in his limited free time to ask him some questions about the Flanders Recorder Quartet’s final tour!

What was the most captivating experience in your FRQ career?

I might need to pick two moments from my ten years with the FRQ. I will never forget my first concert with the group. This was in Bornem, where Paul lives. The occasion was the 20th anniversary of the group. It was a concert where many of the group’s music friends joined us and my family were in the audience. A very exciting and nervous baptism of fire that I’ll never forget! Secondly, the 2015 concert tour in Colombia is a memory that will stay with me forever. Large concert halls in super cities, rainforest and house concerts in remote areas - it was an experience never to forget.

And the most negative? (if there is one)

Oh well, I suppose that from time to time the travelling can be hard and can get you down. Sometimes things just don’t seem to work out with the logistics and the travel and all plans fall through, no matter how well the tour has been planned. You miss a flight or a connection, arrive without instruments, or get stuck in traffic to arrive at a less-than-acceptable hotel. Artists’ lives are not always as romantic and comfortable as you might think. Do keep in mind that being on tour means 98% travelling and waiting, and only 2% musical performance. That 2% is what it’s all about, and is bliss for sure!

What do you feel is the most important thing you have realised with the group?

I feel that what the FRQ always did (and still does) best is connecting with the audience. Both in CDs as well as in concert programmes, we aim to tell an immersive story, a dynamic tale with variety, contrast, meditation and fire. As our fans know, we are not artists ‘in an ivory tower’. We connect by talking to our audiences about the music, the instruments and the culture both on and off stage. I rarely see this in the classical music landscape.

What's in your personal recorder collection and what is your favourite?

I’m not a fan of loud instruments. Some of the instruments that I think of as being the most delightful recorders in my collection would be the dolcimelo family by Adrian Brown (see his website for more information) and the Van Eyck handfluyt by Fred Morgan. Versatile, full of character and with a great range of colours. For consort playing I’m a huge fan of Tom Prescott’s instruments. The big bass in F that he recently developed is absolutely marvellous, and the overall tuning and ‘mix’ of the consorts is fantastic. Makers that are in my collection that I have not mentioned yet are Patrick and Friedrich Von Huene and Bob Marvin. I also closely follow the developments of the Square recorders by Kunath. There is great potential there, and the recent developments are mindblowing!

I have the deepest respect for the craftsmen who make the instruments, we musicians owe so much to them!

The Moeck competition finalists have just been announced. What would be your advice to anyone embarking on a career in the recorder?

Develop yourself not only as a specialised musician, but broaden your horizon. Get acquainted with other instruments, with other musical styles. Commit not only to concerti and sonatas but also to ensemble playing and consort playing. Teach yourself the basics of music management and of accountancy. Fully develop yourself as a PR-person and get into social media. I’m an advocate of a broad definition of the word ‘musician’. Music alone is not enough!

What will the future bring for you?

I can only speak for myself here. I’ll be enjoying some time off in 2019 to develop some dreams and to realise some unique projects. The Air-Force recorder orchestra project is something I’d like to develop further as conducting recorder orchestras has become one of my passions in the last ten years. There is a project coming up with a symphonic orchestra in 2019 which is new and exciting to me. You might hear of me having written a book on recorder repertoire, and for sure I’ll be around teaching workshops and masterclasses all over the world. Oh yes,… and I’ve been neglecting my nice set of viols lately. I’d love to find the time to play more viol consort – sigh! Or take up the lute. Too many things to do *smile*. As a matter of fact, it’s too busy now to think ahead too much. About 100 concerts left in the Flanders Recorder Quartet’s final tour. We’re already looking forward to meeting the fans in Saltaire, Bristol, Woking, Ipswich, Cardiff and London!

More information about the UK tour and about the Flanders Recorder Quartet can be found on or email


New and Featured Products


*NEW* Sorel Sopranino at a=415

Publications now in stock

We were excited to receive our latest delivery from Dutch recorder maker Jacqueline Sorel last week. Included in this delivery is her brand new sopranino at baroque pitch. Sorel has made these after Aardenberg's sopranino in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. Abraham van Aardenberg (Amsterdam, 1677-1717) was a woodwind maker who studied under Richard Haka. He made recorders, flutes, oboes and bassoons. 


These sopraninos are available to try in the London shop. We have one in European boxwood and one in grenadilla.

 Ganassi: Regola Rubertina

 Play the Pan Flute - A Method

 Solo Lute Book

Thomann: Back to Basics

Featured Product - Camac Electro Harps

Harps have become increasingly popular over the past few years with more children being able to learn harp in school. This month's instrument feature is on the Electric Harp, which opens up a whole new way of playing and hearing the harp.

Electric Harps were first designed and made in the late 1970s/early '80s, but had been dreamed of long before that. The possibilities of an electric harp would bring the harp to a new generation, in a similar fashion to the electric guitar. Since then many different models of electric harp have been built, but the leading makers have always been Camac Harpes in Paris.

At the forefront of electric harps is Deborah Henson-Conant, a Grammy-nominated electric harp virtuoso with a wicked sense of humor, a gutsy set of vocal chords and a theatrical flair. Her signature instrument is an carbon-fibre electric harp, designed specifically for her by the CAMAC Harp Company in France, it’s now one of the fastest-selling new harp models in the world and carries her name, the “DHC Light.

You can view Deborah Henson-Conant demonstrating the Camac DHC Light and a few of the possibilities of playing on an electric harp here.

The learn more about electric harps view the Camac Electro DHC range of harps. There will also be the opportunity to try these at the Saltaire Camac Harp Weekend. Even if you don't play the harp, attend the Come and Play sessions and have a go!


News from the Early Music World

Finalists announced for the Moeck/Society of Recorder Players Competition 2017


The finalists of the Moeck/Society of Recorder Players Competition 2017 have been selected from the many impressive applications. Guillaume Beaulieu, Silvia Berchtold and Mirjam-Luise Münzel will be competing in November for the £1500 prize and a Solo Recital at the 2018 Greenwich Early Music Festival.

You can read about the 2017 finalists here.

The final for this year’s competition takes place at 1pm on Friday 10th November at St. Margaret’s Church, Blackheath, with the adjudicators for this year: Daniël Brüggen, Chris Orton and Andy Watts. The final is open to the public and is part of the Royal Greenwich International Early Music Festival at Blackheath so do come along to hear some outstanding recorder playing from these young performers. For more information on the Festival, click here


York Early Music International Young Artists Competition Winners

BarrocoTout from Belgium beat off strong competition from nine other high flying international ensembles, to win the highly respected biennial York Early Music International Young Artists Competition, organised by the National Centre for Early Music, in a day-long series of performances in York, on Saturday 15 July. 

The winning ensemble will receive a professional recording contract from Linn Records, £1,000 and opportunities to work with BBC Radio 3 and the NCEM, amongst other prizes that are set to kickstart their careers further. 

BarrocoTout will Open the 2017 York Early Music Christmas Festival, performing Bach’s ‘unique gift to Frederick the Great’ – a set of fugues, canons and an elegant trio sonata on Friday 8 December at 1pm, NCEM, St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York. Tickets are now on sale and available on / * *


Archived Newsletters

The Early Music Shop e-Newsletter - July 2017 

Camac Harp Weekend at Saltaire; The Early Music Shop Tour; Interview with this month's Featured Artist, Palisander; New and Featured Products; and a look at the *NEW* ABRSM Recorder Exam Syllabus!

Upcoming Events


Saltaire Camac Harp Weekend

 Early Music Shop on Tour

This popular event is now in its fourth year and if you have ever dreamed of owning and playing a harp then Salts Mill, Victoria Road, Saltaire, on Friday 22nd - Sunday 24 September, is the place to be!


Visitors to the showroom can expect to see a fabulous display of Camac lever and pedal harps and the Camac France team will be present throughout the weekend to offer expert advice on their range of harps. If you are lucky enough to already own a Camac harp, free service and regulation can be arranged over the weekend (reservation required).

We will be embarking on our Early Music Shop tour as usual this summer and autumn. Even if you're not attending the festivals or courses it may be an opportunity to try out some instruments closer to home at one of our pop-up shops!


Featured Artists - Interview with Palisander


 Recorder Quartet, Palisander, are a vibrant young ensemble made up of graduates from Guildhall School of Music and Drama that are taking the recorder world by storm. Hannah, Lydia, Miriam and Caoimhe pride themselves on presenting imaginative, historical programmes with a wide range of repertoire; performing largely from memory, on recorders up to 6 feet tall. The group were selected for the prestigious St John's Smith Square Young Artists' Scheme 2016-2017 and have have been chosen as Making Music UK Selected Artists 2017-2018.


What was the inspiration behind your debut CD 'Beware the Spider!' released earlier this year? Whilst we were on BREMFS Early Music Live! scheme we were given the opportunity to perform a short programme as part of a showcase of young artists on Halloween, and after looking for an appropriately spooky theme we settled on Tarantism (the phenomena of spider bite victims who could only be cured by music.) As a group we became fascinated by this topic and the wealth of music it inspired, so it grew first into a full length concert programme and then, based on audience reactions, became the base of our first CD. You can watch a short video on our website explaining a bit more about the basis of the of 'Beware the Spider!' here.  

What's in your recorder collection? At the last count, we own nearly 50 recorders between us! Some of our favourites include our consort by Tom Prescott, and the recorders at each end of the spectrum by Kung, our Contrabass and tiny Garklein. But as every recorder player knows, the shopping list is ever growing and we're always on the look out for new instruments! 

What's been your favourite reaction to people seeing your recorder collection? Often when we reveal the Contrabass, the spectacle of standing up a 6-foot recorder can prompt gasps from the audience, and in one memorable workshop the garklein was met with a shout of 'No way!' For us it is such a buzz when the audience are as excited about our instruments as we are. 

As a fundraising event you recently did a 24-hour recoderthon - How did you survive?! A lot of caffeine and friendship- we were lucky not to drive each other round the bend I think! We were overwhelmed by the response to this event, and the generosity of everyone who supported us certainly powered us through the early hours! You can see first hand how we survived the experience here.

You've commission several new pieces as St. John's Smith Square Artists - What are the key points you discuss with composers? Whilst as SJSS Young Artists we commissioned 3 pieces by the amazing Toby Young. As an ensemble, we are extremely passionate about our instrument, and that was what we asked Toby to reflect in his writing: exploring the wide variety of recorders at our disposal and experimenting with timbres and styles. We also ask that the composition is reflective of our style of performance, and Toby's mix of Purcell and Pop music did that perfectly. 

If you had to, could you pick a favourite? Our favourite is probably the third piece, Recorder Revolution!, which encompasses every size of recorder we own within a seamless 3 minute performance! We feel this will be a great introduction for audiences to the wider recorder family, and look forward to performing it again at Union Chapel on the 25th July!

What's been your performing highlight as a group so far? We have really enjoyed performing live on BBC Radio 3 In Tune twice this season- that has definitely been a highlight for us as it is unusual that all our friends and family based in different corners of the world are able to listen to a performance simultaneously! 

You've been performing Dr. Dee's Daughter and the Philosopher's Stone with the theatre and puppetry company Rust and Stardust Productions - has that been a challenge working in a different setting?  Yes- to enable us to interact fully with the other performers almost all of the music has had to be played not just from memory but in a way that means we can be mobile- a bit of a challenge with the larger instruments. We already tend to play from memory quite a bit in more formal concert settings anyway, but it has certainly been an added challenge to also remember what to do with your feet, where you should be on stage and which puppet you're interacting with all whilst playing! As a group we have really enjoyed exploring this new dimension of our performances, and of course we have enjoyed the chance to get stuck into new choreography! Dr Dee has been our first experience of collaborative story telling and we hope it  won't be the last.

What's your favourite piece to perform at the moment? At the moment we love playing the arrangement of The Nightmare Concerto from our CD 'Beware the Spider!' Miriam arranged this piece specifically for Palisander and tailored it to our playing styles- it has quite a diverse sound world featuring a majestic solo adagio from the Contrabass as well as extended techniques and lightening fast semi-quavers in the Allegros. We love the drama of Vivaldi's writing and really enjoy performing this one! 

You do a lot of your own arrangements - what's next on your list to tackle? After a busy year as St John's Smith Square Young Artists we've just finished creating a number of new arrangements, and next on the list really is just to enjoy sharing these with new audiences in the coming season. Of those we most enjoyed giving Tempesta di Mare, another of Vivaldi's programmatic concertos, a recorder make-over! Next we are in the process of brainstorming a brand new programme concept that has inspired a number of ideas for new arrangements- but you'll have to wait and see...

Do you think the recorder is becoming 'cool' again? Of course in our opinion the recorder has always been cool! But yes I think it is- there are more and more fantastic players helping to raise the instruments profile in this country. For us working with young people in our ongoing project Recorder Revolution! has been our effort to help ignite a passion for the instrument in young people- and hope one day they will elevate it to 'cool' status!

Next performances: You can catch Palisander performing Dr Dee's Daughter in Cheltenham on Sunday 16th of July and the Lake District Summer Music festival on August 5th; or learn about curing spider bites with music in Ryedale on the 18th July.


New and Featured Products


*NEW* Moeck Rondo Knick Great Bass

New Publications

We were excited to receive the latest recorder from Moeck earlier this month - Moeck's first Knick Great Bass Recorder! Following on from their Knick Sub Bass released two years ago, they've included the new Great Bass in their ever-popular Flauto Rondo series.

 This attractively designed recorder is available in stained maple, with a leather carrying case and accessories.


Featured Product - Gemshorns

One of the most frequently asked questions in the Early Music Shop is 'What is that?', a question that the gemshorns do not escape! This month we've decided to go a bit more in depth about these instruments as this month's featured product.


Gemshorns date back to the early renaissance period, but most likely earlier. They are first illustrated clearly in Virdung's Musica Getutscht (1511). The gemshorn is a flute-like instrument with a sharply tapering conical bore. Its shape is determined naturally since it is made from the horn of a chamois or ox.  The tone has a sweet color somewhere between a soft recorder and an ocarina. Its haunting delicate sound is even more impressive when one considers the ordinary material from which it is constructed. Shepherds probably used its gentle tones to calm animals. 

As they were primarily a pastoral instrument they were not widely known after the mid-to-late 16th century. With resurgent interest in early music in the 19th and 20th centuries, they have received new attention. Horace Fitzpatrick developed a form of gemshorn which adopted the fingering method of recorders and produced them in consort families, which have proven very popular since the 1960s.

Makes available from the Early Music Shop: Cip and Wiener, as well as various second-hand instruments. 


*NEW* Recorder Syllabus (2018-21) from ABRSM


The New Woodwind Syllabus for 2018-21 was released on Thursday by ABRSM. We've uploaded the new syllabus to our website with recommended title links for quick and pain-free ordering!

The new syllabus is always a welcome change for teachers and the syllabus lists now offer a larger range of pieces with much more variety, making it easier to find pieces for every musical taste. Each list now has 10 pieces with a wider range of musical styles being included, with some more popular tunes and show pieces.

The scales have changed to focus less on repetition, but more on progression. There are fewer scales and arpeggios to learn at each grade. Grades 7 and 8 focuses more on technical development and consolidation than an 'all-key' approach.