Music for Recorder and Percussion

NINA STERN, recorder & chalumeau
GLEN VELEZ, frame drum & percussion



“diversity of the repertoire, Stern’s evocative playing, and the varied contributions made by Velez... This is a modest but lovely disc, and the engineering team has done its part too... intelligent and diverting, and just demanding enough. Stern, a New Yorker who studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, is an expert and imaginative musician, and she is no less imaginatively partnered by Velez. All in all, this is an unusual program in which some risks were taken, and the risks paid off very nicely.”
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare [May/June 2016]
“Nina Stern is an excellent performer on the recorder... over the course of whole recording variety [of expression] is created through Stern’s use of seven different instruments and Velez’s use of seven different drums and a “Sruti Box”... Overall, an interesting introduction to recorder playing.”
Brewer, American Record Guide [March/April 2016]
“[ * * * * * ] a cosmopolitan range of sophisticated composers... The repertoire ranges from the 12th through 18th centuries, and winds up with an exquisitely unique solution to “Greensleeves.” The pleasures are not only gentle and real, they sometimes connect with deep inner feelings... The combination of Nina Stern playing variously six different recorders, and a diverting chalumeau, and Glen Velez playing a shruti box, an Eckermann Turkish drum, a Bruno Spana tamburello, a 20” Cooperman bodhran and a Contemporanea Surdo Frame Drum, for starters, is curiously intimate. The sound, recorded at Mozart Studios in Clifton, New Jersey, is exquisite.”
Laurence Vittes, Audiophile Audition [December 2015]
“There has been something of a recorder revival recently, but it takes a musician with the skill and determination of Nina Stern to attempt something similar for the chalumeau. The MSR Classics release called Amaryllis offers a dozen tracks of almost entirely unfamiliar music (although it does conclude with a Telemann Fantasia and, at the very end, Greensleeves) performed by Stern on recorder (actually various recorders) and chalumeau, with percussionist and frame-drum expert Glen Velez providing not so much backup as full partnership... although individual works here have their own attractions, it is the disc as a whole that is really of aural interest: hearing these woodwind and percussion instruments in these particular combinations in music of such different provenances is, to put it simply, an unusual experience – and a salutary one for ears accustomed to less-varied and more-familiar fare.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [November 2015]
“This a highly personal one, consisting of compositions particularly beloved by recorder player/clarinetist Nina Stern… Choosing the famous and well-regarded Glen Velez as her accompanist was an inspired touch; whether playing a Telemann fantasia, an Armenian sharakan, a recorder miniature by Jacob van Eyck, or the evergreen Greensleeves, Stern and Velez demonstrate both a reverence for tradition and a willingness to bend the rules if that’s what it takes to achieve a particular kind of beauty.”
Rick Anderson, CD Hotlist - New Releases for Libraries [November 2015]
“...flavorful and often strangely beautiful music from the 12th to the 18th centuries. Many of the pieces heard here are transcriptions of vocal music.... We find mystery, sadness, and passion in [the Armenian] tradition, beginning with Siunetsi's hauntingly beautiful Sirt in Sasani, stunningly realized by Stern's tenor recorder and Velez' sruti box... a gracious and happily diverse little recital.”
Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta [November 2015]
Renaissance tenor recorder in C (Thomas Prescott); Virdung” tenor recorder in C (Adrian Brown); Cylindrical alto recorder in G (Bob Marvin); Alto chalumeau in C (Agnès Géroult); Ganassi” alto recorder in G (Frederick Morgan); Ganassi” soprano recorder in C (Shigeharu Hirao-Yamaoka); Alto recorder in F, after Debey (Frederick Morgan)

Sruti Box; Eckermann Turkish Drum / Bruno Spana Tamburello; Strumstick; 20” Cooperman Bodhran; 15” Cooperman Gaval; 8” Cooperman Mediterrasian; Tambourine; 17” Cooperman Tar; Contemporanea Surdo Frame Drum

This disc represents a musical landscape – a personal collection of some of my favorite pieces of music. The range is wide, from the Medieval to the Baroque, from instrumental to vocal, from music originally written for recorder to arrangements and adaptations. The works Sirt im Sasani, Bloubli Hid, Aravod Luso, Diba u Yengidunia, and the theme of Amarilli mia bella were all originally written for voice. It was not uncommon for instrumentalists to perform their own versions of celebrated vocal works. The recorder, according to Silvestro Ganassi - a member of the official wind band of the Venetian state and author of the  important treatise La Fontegara (1535) - is an instrument that can come close to the sound of the human voice. “Only the form of the human body is absent” he writes. “It is possible, with some players to perceive, as it were, words to their music.” The instrumental works range from pieces written specifically for recorder (the four works by Jacob van Eyck and Greensleeves) to those written for an unspecified single melody instrument (Lamento di Tristano / La Rotta and Chominciamento di Gioia) to Telemann’s Fantasia No.8, which was originally composed for flute.

Nina Stern has carved a unique and diverse career for herself as a recorder player and classical clarinetist. A native New Yorker, Stern studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, where she received a Soloist’s Degree. From Basel, she moved to Milan, where she was offered a teaching position at the Civica Scuola di Musica. Stern performs widely on recorders, chalumeaux and historical clarinets. She has appeared as a soloist or principal with notable orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, American Classical Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque, Clarion Orchestra, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, I Solisti Veneti, Hesperion XX and Tafelmusik. Her numerous festival and concert series appearances have included performances under leading conductors, including Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Christopher Hogwood, Trevor Pinnock, Claudio Scimone, Kent Tritle, Bruno Weil, Ton Koopman, Andrew Parrot and Jordi Savall. She has recorded for Erato, Harmonia Mundi, Sony Classical, Newport Classics, Telarc and Smithsonian labels. Recent projects include performances and recordings of traditional music of Eastern Europe, Armenia and the Middle East, both as a soloist and with her ensembles East of the River (Daphna Mor, co- director) and Rose of the Compass. With the latter, she collaborates with the Choir of St. John the Divine under Kent Tritle in creating programs for the Great Music in a Great Space series at the Cathedral. Stern was appointed to the faculty of Juilliard’s Historical Performance program in 2012, and has served on the faculties of the Mannes College of Music where from 1989 to 1996 she directed the Historical Performance Program, the Civica Scuola di Musica in Milan, Oberlin Conservatory (Visiting Professor), and the Five Colleges in Massachusetts. A notable music educator, Nina Stern is an innovative teacher of school-age children, and a founder of S’Cool Sounds, a hands-on music education project in inner city public schools. For this important work, Stern was awarded an Endicott Fellowship in 2003 and Early Music America’s Early Music Brings History Alive award in 2005. Stern, who served as Director of Education for the New York Collegium from 2002-2007, has also consulted for Midori & Friends and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Institute, helping them to develop and expand their recorder curriculum. She is the author of Recorders Without Borders, two books for  beginning recorder players and percussion. Stern has shared her teaching methods with students and teachers throughout the United States and in the Netherlands, and has worked to establish recorder programs in Kenya, and at Village Health Works in Burundi. [ ]

Four-time Grammy award winner and “founding father” of the modern frame drum movement, Glen Velez is a central figure among musicians and audiences worldwide. Velez brought a new genre of drumming to contemporary music by creating a unique performance style inspired by years of percussion and frame drumming studies of various cultures. Velez’s virtuosic combinations of hand movements and finger techniques, along with his original compositional style, which incorporates stepping, drum language and Central Asian overtone singing, has opened new possibilities for musicians around the globe, resulting in a shift in modern percussion. The first to gain international recognition as a frame drum soloist, Velez has conducted research on the history of the instrument that has inspired a host of his protégé to continue the quest to uncover the mystery surrounding the frame drum’s origins. In 1989, Velez’s mastery caught the attention of John Cage, who composed Improvisation for One-Sided Drum with or without Jingles especially for Velez. His array of frame drum innovations and sounds has inspired collaborations with composers and artists including Steve Reich, Suzanne Vega, Maya Beiser, Tan Dun, Pat Metheny, David Darling, Howard Levy, Eugene Friesen and Coleman Barks and Sonny Fortune. He has also collaborated with the Paul Winter Consort, Stuttgart Ballet Orchestra, Israel Philharmonia, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, and in New York with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Brooklyn Philharmonia, Opera Orchestra of New York and New York City Ballet. Live performances and interviews have been heard on Austrian, German, Italian and Spanish radio. Velez maintains an active international touring schedule, and continues to collaborate with prominent artists in many styles. His Ta Ka Di Mi Duo with virtuoso rhythm vocalist Lori Cotler has garnered worldwide acclaim. As a recording artist, Velez can be heard on numerous labels, including ECM, CBS-Sony, RCA, GRP, Warner Brothers, Deutsche Grammophon, Geffen, Nonesuch, Capitol, Daftof, and others. In addition, he has released numerous recordings of his own music, the most recent being Glen Velez Solo and Breathing Rhythms Duo with Lori Cotler. Velez is master teacher who conducts workshops worldwide. In this role, he developed The Handance Method, a teaching method incorporating voice and body movement into the process of learning to play the frame drum that has been presented in dozens of universities and conservatories. An adjunct professor at Mannes School of Music in New York, Velez also conducts master classes at The Juilliard School and in Tanglewood’s summer music program.
ARAKEL SIUNETSI (ca.1355-1425)
Sirt Im Sasani (My Heart Trembles)

ANONYMOUS (Italian, 14th century)
Lamento di Tristano (Tristan’s Lament) / La Rotta

NERSES SHNORHALI (12th century)
Aravod Luso (Bright Morning)

ANONYMOUS (Italian, 14th century)
Chominciamento di Gioia (Joy’s Beginning)

SAYAT NOVA (1712-95)
Bloubli Hid (With the Nightingale)
Diba u Yengidunia (Silk and Muslin)

JACOB VAN EYCK (c.1590-1657)
Amarilli mia bella (Amaryllis, my lovely one)
Praeludium of Voorspel (Preludium or Prelude)
Prins Robberts Masco (Prince Robert’s Masque)
De Frans Courant (The French Courante)

Fantasia No.8 in G minor, TWV 40:9

ANONYMOUS (The Division Flute, 1706)

MSR Classics