SBRS News and Announcements


Newsletter of the South Bay Recorder Society

A Chapter of the American Recorder Society

An Affiliate of the San Francisco Early Music Society


November 2014

November Meeting
Andrew Levy will be returning to South Bay to direct our chapter meeting at 7:30 PM on November 14th in the Choir Room of San Jose Congregational Church. Andrew grew up in Berkeley, CA and has played recorder since he was 11. He studied music at the University of California at Berkeley (with Hanneke van Proosdij) and the Royal Conservatory of the Hague (with Daniël
Brüggen). He has performed in the US, the Netherlands, and Germany with ensembles including UC Berkeley's Baroque Ensemble, Ensemble Mirabile, Voices of Music, the Royal Wind Music, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; and he enjoys singing in a cappella group for beginners. He has taught recorder at the Music Discovery Workshop, the Marin Headlands Workshop, and the Recorder Workshop.

For his program on the 14th, Andrew writes:
Although his name is no longer familiar to us (and many details of his life are unknown), Wolfgang Grefinger (b? 1470–1480; d after 1515) was a German or Austrian composer and organist of high reputation whose works continued to be published well after his death. He was chiefly based in Vienna (although it is possible that in 1525 he was employed as a court organist in Hungary), and his most important compositional output consisted of hymn settings in 4 parts and a mass; but this mass, and many of his hymn settings, have been lost. Our selection (Ich stell leicht ab) appeared in a 1535 set of songs called Gassenhaverlin und Reutterliedlin zu Franckenfurt am Meyn --- roughly, 'street songs of Frankfurt.' It features transparent harmonies and independent voices, each with their own melodic interest.

William Brade (1560–1630), an English violinist and composer known on the continent as Wilhelm, primarily wrote dance music for stringed instruments. Working mostly in Germany and Denmark, he was one of the earlier composers to arrange his dances in suites; we will play a matched Paduana and Galliard of his, with melodic material shared between the two dances but organized in different meters. The addition of a second soprano part, in close coordination with the first, and the great inventiveness of the bass part, lend a special richness to these dances.

It is possible that Spanish-born organist and Catholic priest Tomás Luis de Victoria (c. 1548–1611) learned counterpoint under Palestrina (20 years his senior) in addition to his other musical and religious studies in Rome; whether or not he did, he is considered a stylistic successor to the older master, and one of the few composers to have achieved a similar degree of expertise in counterpoint. Victoria's first publication, a set of motets from 1572 that includes our selection (O magnum mysterium), already demonstrates this expertise --- the composer was only in his early or mid-20s and enjoying his first teaching position in Rome, but this collection paved the way for swift advances in his career in Italy. Today Victoria's music has a reputation for solemnity bordering on mysticism, but as Robert Stevenson describes in the Grove Dictionary, "his contemporaries and immediate successors certainly saw a different side of his artistic nature"; and Joăo IV of Portugal, writing in 1649 in his capacity as an artistic patron and composer, characterized Victoria's disposition as "naturally sunny" and his music as "never stay[ing] downcast for long". In O magnum mysterium, this side of Victoria is shown in a joyful and vibrant concluding Alleluia.

We will finish with a light-hearted love song, Pase el agoa, ma Julieta, which comes from a songbook known as the Cancionero de Palacio that was first assembled in the late 15th century and then expanded many times in the early 1500s. This songbook was re-published in 1890 by composer and musicologist Francisco Asenjo Barbieri, who describes his first encounter with it in a charming introduction: In 1870, his friend (art historian Gregorio Cruzada Villaamil) brought him to the library of the Royal Palace of Madrid, and ascending a ladder, pulled from a high shelf a volume "completely full of old Spanish music". The two friends, as well as the librarians present, were astonished to discover a trove of compositions by musicians both familiar and unfamiliar. Barbieri hypothesizes that the songbook was compiled for the court of the Dukes of Alba or the Catholic Monarchs of Spain. "Pase el agoa", like more than half of the works in the songbook, is of anonymous authorship, and its text is described by Barbieri as a 'strange mixture of words in various languages.'

President’s Message
Hi all. Sorry to have missed the September meeting, but look forward to bringing Rick in a wheel chair in November. No other special news from here. We just returned from attending a Met Opera HD performance at a local movie theatre. If you haven't attended one, it is a great experience. You feel you are at the performance and during the intermission, they interview the singers and show you the backstage activities. It’s certainly the best way to see opera at a reasonable price ($22.) I look forward to seeing you at the November meeting.
Liz Brownell, President

Many thanks to Michele, Marcia, George, and Bob for all the wonderful snacks you brought for the break at the October meeting. Fidele and Jean, this is a reminder that you volunteered to bring something for the November meeting. Phone: (408)246-0771
Jean Ridley, Hospitality. (

Music Opportunities
Saturday, December 6th at 2:00 PM. MPRO’s Holiday Concert will take place at Grace Lutheran Church, 3149 Waverly Street, Palo Alto. Concert selections include: Bach’s Passapied I & II and Telemann’s Concerto in B flat Major.

San Jose Symphonic Choir presents Handel’s Messiah – directed by Leroy Kromm and accompanied by the San Jose Baroque Orchestra. Tickets: General $30; Students/Seniors $25.
Schedule of SBRS DIRECTORS for 2014 - 2015
12 September -Shira Kamen             
3 October – Claudia Gantivar            
14 November - Andrew Levy         
9 January - Joyce Johnson-Hamilton   
13 February - David Hogan-Smith

13 March – Members’ Night
28 March – Workshop – Glen Shannon
April – Judy Linsenberg
May – Greta Haug-Hyrciw

Newsletter Editor: Laura Gonsalves
4946 Manitoba Drive, San Jose, CA 95130
website: //