The Four Winds Recorder Consort will be teaming up with the Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble to perform the show “Madrigals, Motets and Merriment” this weekend in Plattsburgh and Saranac Lake. From left are Lynn Waickman of Saranac Lake, Véronique Tétreault of Montreal, Christopher Barry of Rouses Point and Anne Paulson of Bloomingdale.
Forget what you remember about recorders from elementary school.
With the right kind of conductor and the right kind of musicians—and a variety of instruments from the recorder family—the sound is majestic enough to make angels sing.
If you go:
What: The Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble and the Four Winds Recorder Consort
When: Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Saturday: St. Peter’s Church, 114 Cornelia St., Plattsburgh
Sunday: St. Bernard’s Church, 27 St. Bernard St., Saranac Lake
Cost: $10 suggested donation.
Or, at the very least, it’s majestic enough to accompany the Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble (NAVE) for a series of two performances in Plattsburgh and Saranac Lake.
On Saturday and Sunday, NAVE will team up with the Four Winds Recorder Consort to perform two performances of “Madrigals, Motets and Merriment.”
The show draws its inspiration from the Renaissance Period, 1400–1600, when recorders and choirs were all the rage.
“Madrigals were often written for aristocrats, and motets were often commissioned by the churches,” said Hill and Hollow Director Angela Brown. “There are thousands of them to choose from.”
Churches are Brown’s favorite venue to perform in because of the way sounds resonate throughout the structure.
“The Renaissance Period was a period of great creativity,” Brown said. “A lot of beautiful music was written during that time. It was conceived for listening to in these beautiful spaces.”
According to Brown, recorders fit that standard quite nicely.
The instrument comes in many shapes and sizes, which cover a range of pitches, listed from high to low: sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, bass, contra bass and great bass.
Players in the Four Winds will rotate between the different recorders, creating music Wood described as “dulcet tones that are soft and lovely.”
At the helm of “Madrigals, Motets, and Merriment” is conductor Andrew Benware.
Benware grew up in Malone and received both a Bachelor of Music degree in music education and a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the Ithaca College School of Music.
When Benware isn’t serving as a guest lecturer at Ithaca College or giving private piano lessons, he works as the Director of Choral Activities at Saranac Lake High School, where he conducts the Festival Chorus, Concert Choir, Men’s Ensemble, Women’s Ensemble and teaches small group vocal instruction.
Benware is also the founding Artistic Director and Conductor of NAVE, a highly selective chamber choir which operates under the umbrella of Hill and Hollow Music in Saranac.
Hill and Hollow began as a concert series in 1995, but NAVE is much newer.
“Madrigals, Motets and Merriment” is NAVE’s fourth performance and will conclude their second year performing.
The choir is currently comprised of 20 vocalists—six sopranos, six altos, three tenors and five basses.
“If we were to bring anyone new on right now, it would have to be a tenor,” Wood said. “The important thing is balance between treble and bass. Sometimes we sing eight-part harmonies, so we always have to maintain balance.”
The performance will feature the Four Winds ensemble and NAVE performing separately, and will be interspersed with pieces that incorporate winds and voices together.