The dodo was really a phoenix: the renaissance and revival of the recorder in England 1879-1941
AuthorWILLIAMS, ALEXANDRA MARY
AffiliationFaculty of Music
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsWilliams, A. M. (2005). The dodo was really a phoenix: the renaissance and revival of the recorder in England 1879-1941. PhD thesis, Faculty of Music, The University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
Deposited with permission of the author. © 2005 Dr. Alexandra Mary Williams
This study provides a critical analysis of the modern renaissance and popularization of the recorder in England, examining the phenomena and placing them within their broader musical and cultural contexts. It explores the roles of the principal protagonists and institutions, arguing that a confluence of different agendas—musical, educational and social—within an environment of changing conditions, was crucial to the successful revival of an instrument, which in Victorian England had no living tradition at all. There was a clear relationship between the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century scholarship on the recorder and the desire to learn more about England’s ‘golden age’ of music during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Even before the 1870s, scholars represented the recorder as an obsolete instrument. By the 1890s and particularly from 1900, there were a few people playing the instrument in public, most notably Canon Galpin and Arnold Dolmetsch. Unquestionably, Dolmetsch’s work with the recorder between 1900 and the late 1920s was crucial to the subsequent mass revival. Changes in educational ideas and doctrine between the World Wars led to children’s music classes including active instrumental music making, in part to stimulate a sense of cultural identity. From 1926 the bamboo pipe gradually became the melodic instrument most commonly used in English schools, until Edgar Hunt, inspired by Arnold Dolmetsch’s Haslemere concerts, conceived of a popular recorder revival. Hunt began to import inexpensive German recorders, and to research and publish pre-Classical recorder music. From 1935 the recorder began to usurp the place of the bamboo pipe in English elementary schools. Concurrently, musical and educational authorities were encouraging domestic music making, for social and musically nationalistic reasons, often linking it with Elizabethan music making. The idea that a strong musical knowledge across all demographics could enable the nation to become ‘a land with music’ once more was invoked in many of the activities undertaken between the Wars. The work of The Society of Recorder Players, established in 1937, was significant and had long-term consequences for the success of the popular revival, as well as for the relative status of the recorder. At the same time, classes established by Edgar Hunt at Trinity College of Music as well as new compositions for the recorder helped to legitimize the instrument. This thesis addresses a number of gaps in previous research, by exploring thoroughly the history of the recorder in England between 1879 and 1941, utilizing extensive primary source materials—many hitherto overlooked—; by examining linkages between the recorder’s increasing usage and the various strands of the English musical renaissance; and by determining why the recorder was so highly popular when other instruments—notably the bamboo pipe—appeared to have similar attributes.
Keywordsrecorder; English flute; flauto dolce; Blockflöte; flûte douce; flûte-à-bec; Chester recorders; fipple flute; flageolet; Schulflöte; czakan; bamboo pipe; percussion band; viol; lute; harpsichord; music; history; early music; musical renaissance; England; composers; repertoire; organology; music education; school music; Arts and Crafts movement; home music; Hausmusik; folk music revival; Arnold Dolmetsch; Carl Dolmetsch; Mabel Dolmetsch; Rudolph Dolmetsch; Edgar Hunt; Enid Hunt; Elizabeth Hunt; Elizabeth Voss; Walter Bergmann; Oskar Dawson; Miles Tomalin; Marco Pallis; Robert Goble; Joseph Saxby; Francis Galpin; A. J. Hipkins; Max Champion; Stephanie Champion; William Morris; Percy Grainger; Christopher Welch; Frederick Bridge; Joseph Bridge; J. C. Bridge; J. A. Fuller Maitland; John Manifold; George Bernard Shaw; Gerald Hayes; Geoffrey Rendall; Robert Donington; Ralph Vaughan Williams; Percy Scholes; Violet Gordon Woodhouse; John Warriner; Edmund van der Straeten; Cecil Sharp; T. H. Yorke Trotter; Arthur Somervell; Arthur Mee; Cyril Winn; Edmund Priestley; Frederick Fowler; Emil Brauer; Wilhelm Herwig; Hermann Moeck; Major G. H. Benton Fletcher; Manuel Jacobs; Paul Hindemith; Margaret James; Louie de Rusette; William Poel; Shakespeare; Hamlet; Bressan; Society of Recorder Players; SRP; Recorder Society; Bamboo Pipers' Guild; The German Singers; Recorder News; Piping Times; Dolmetsch Foundation; Haslemere Festival; Schott; Trinity College of Music; Royal Musical Association; Proceedings of the Musical Association; Musical Times; Handbook of Suggestions for Teachers; Haslemere; Jesses; Old Devonshire House; Downe House; Mary Ward Centre
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