Fantasies for a Modern Recorder is an album of unaccompanied music from four centuries, played on the Mollenhauer Helder harmonic tenor. My aim with this album was to showcase the capabilities of this amazing, innovative, and under-appreciated instrument – not only for original contemporary repertoire, but for a huge variety of music written for other instruments that is usually not accessible to the more familiar Baroque recorder because of its more limited range.
The album also includes three new pieces written for this project, specifically for the Helder tenor (although they would also work well on a modern Boehm-system flute) by three different composers: Melika Fitzhugh, Michael O’Brien (my dad), and Janet Peachey (my mom). I am deeply grateful to all of them for their work, and for expanding the original repertoire for modern recorders.
Click here to buy either as a download or as a hardcopy CD.
You can download the album booklet here as a PDF.
Coasting on Daydreams* – Michael O’Brien (b. 1954)
Syrinx – Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Fantasia no. 7 for Violin, TWV 40:20 – Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Divertimento for Solo Flute – William Alwyn (1905-1985)
Sonata in a minor Wq. 132; H. 562 – Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
Respiravisse in Perpetuo* – Melika Fitzhugh (b. 1972)
Fantasie no. 1 from op. 38 – Friedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832)
Three Whimsies* – Janet Peachey (b. 1953)
Soliloquy and Frolic – Edwin York Bowen (1884-1961)
Presto from Violin Sonata BWV 1001 – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
* Piece commissioned for this project
More about the composers:
A native of Stafford, Virginia, Melika M. Fitzhugh (A.B. Harvard-Radcliffe, M.M. Longy School of Music of Bard College) studied conducting and composition with Thomas G. Everett, Beverly Taylor, James Yannatos, Julian Pellicano, Roger Marsh, Jeff Stadelman, and, most recently, John Howell Morrison. Per compositions have been commissioned by John Tyson, Catherine E. Reuben, John and Maria Capello, Laura and Geoffrey Schamu, and the Quilisma Consort, and have been performed by those artists as well as the Radcliffe Choral Society, Berit Strong, Miyuki Tsurutani, Libor Dudas and Aldo Abreu. Mel, who has composed music for film and stage, was a member of Just In Time Composers and Players and is currently a member of world/early music ensemble Urban Myth, in addition to playing bass guitar with acoustic rock singer/songwriter Emmy Cerra, the ambient rock band Rose Cabal and the Balkan folk dance band Balkan Fields. www.melikamfitzhugh.com
Michael O’Brien [Emily’s father] wrote his first piece for a piano recital when he was nine years old and 53 years later seems unable to stop. Michael holds artist diplomas in conducting, composition, and harpsichord, and the conservation of musical instruments. Awards and fellowships have come from the Smithsonian Institution, Fulbright Commission, District of Columbia Commission on the Arts, the American Musicological Society, Annapolis Fine Arts Foundation, and others. He has published numerous articles and papers, written hundreds of pieces of music, and his shop has produced over 50 harpsichords, clavichords, and guitars. He is also the only certified, full-time farrier with a Ph.D in musicology who cleans horse stalls every day. Stimulated by the musical spirit of his daughters Emily and Julie, he is deeply touched and honored to contribute to this marvelous album. www.michaelkentobrien.com
Janet Peachey’s [Emily’s mother] opera, orchestral, ballet, chamber, and piano music has been performed to critical acclaim in North America and Europe. She has received grants for composition from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and others. She was a two-year Fulbright grantee in Vienna, Austria, where she studied at the Hochschule für Musik, receiving diplomas in composition and conducting, and also holds DMA and B.Mus. degrees in composition from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She teaches theory and composition at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. www.janetpeachey.com.