24. 10. – 26. 10. 2008
Encounters: International recorder festival at the HfK
Under the title “Encounters” the fourth ERPS Biennial took place at the University of the Arts in Bremen from 24-26 October 2008. Artistic directors were Dörte Nienstedt and Annette John.
A report by Johanna Schönbeck for the university magazine VIER.
Bremen is the centre of Europe! At least that was true for many recorder players on the weekend of 24 – 26 October. The “European Recorder Players Society e.V.” (short ERPS) had invited to the 4th Biennale at the HfK under the motto “Encounters – Encounters with the recorder”. The ERPS is an association of players, instrument makers, publishers and supporting members and sees itself as an interactive network of instrumentalists. The European-wide cooperation and the exchange among musicians shall be promoted in this way.
Since April 2008 Dörte Nienstedt, lecturer at the HfK, has been the president of the ERPS. Vice president is Annette John, who also teaches at the HfK. So it was an obvious step to bring the Biennale – which has so far taken place in Essen, Amsterdam and Vienna – to Bremen this time.
With its mixture of workshops, lectures and concerts, the festival offered an exciting forum not only for recorder players and “insiders”. A broad audience, students, musicologists and instrument makers were also addressed.
The students of recorder were involved in the preparation and supervision of the festival. They gave two concerts at a very high level of playing, in the preparation they were very well supervised by Prof. Han Tol. In addition, events of the Biennale were combined with lessons. A lecture by the instrument maker and musicologist Adrian Brown referred to contents of the subject literature. Following on from the lecture by Ulrike Volkhardt (“Music Manuscripts in Medieval Heath Monasteries”), the students of the HfK played music from the Middle Ages in their programme “Autumn Time”.
In a total of 7 concerts the recorder was presented from very different sides. The double concert on Saturday evening alone showed the musical spectrum of the event: First Erik Bosgraaf played works from Jacob van Eyck’s “Fluyten Lust-Hof” in a solo recital. A rather pure, yet extremely sonorous and virtuoso performance in front of a breathlessly silent audience that thought along with every note of the well-known pieces. Afterwards the young band “Spark” offered new compositions between “Balkan beats, minimal music and jazzy grooves”. The musicians in the unusual instrumentation of two recorders, violin, violoncello and piano embedded their pieces in a stage show oriented towards pop concerts, which inspired the audience to controversial discussions about the role of the recorder.
In other concerts, consort music was combined with poem recitations (the ensemble “Come Parlato” showed a talent for acting) or recorder playing was combined with live electronics (Tobias Reisige played with himself in the ensemble).
An instrument and music exhibition with flute makers from Germany, France and Italy, as well as the general meeting of the association completed the program.
The guests from Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland enjoyed the inspiring festival atmosphere as much as the students and the numerous Bremen audience. When do you ever get to enjoy so many excellent concerts with recorder music or can you compare the instruments of different manufacturers in the circle of experienced players?
Dörte Nienstedt and Annette John were very satisfied with the course of the Biennale, the good audience response and the extensive presentation in the media (press, radio, television). Their thanks went to the musicians of the concerts and the exhibitors, as well as to the audience and last but not least to the university management and the staff of the university. All of them contributed to the great success of the festival through their good cooperation and active support.
Many ERPS members also shared this conviction: Bremen was something special.