A word about recitatives, and “Simandl says”

Wenzl Hause seems to have been the first bass player to talk about the use of the bass in recitatives, at the end of Volume 1 of his Complete Method. But he was by no means the only one: Franz Simandl’s New Method, first published in 1874, also has a whole volume dedicated to this practice (Part 1, Volume 5). Simandl basically says the same things that Hause does – one particular thing they both emphasize is for bass players not to hold out long notes in secco recitatives. (more…)

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Making up your own history …

I just came across a book about playing the bass in fifths C-G-D-A … ok, if you want to make your life unnecessarily difficult, on purpose, go right ahead. What really got me going, though, was a phrase in a letter enclosed with the book. The author gave a copy of the book, with the letter, to a famous early-music conductor (who in turn passed it on to me). If you want to know what the book is and who the author and the conductor in question are, send me a message. (more…)

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