The Renaissance Recorder

In the spring of 2004 maple wood started arriving in Finland by the kilogram: Eight renaissance recorders of different size built by Adriana Breukink arrived from the Netherlands to their new home in Finland. The smallest member of Bravade’s recorder family is the sopranino and the biggest one is the nearly two meter long subbass. In the autumn of 2006 the family grew acquiring a second f-bass. The largest recorders in the family are made from Canadian Maple and the smallest ones from Dutch.

The recorders used in Bravade are modeled after the Bassano Recorders in the collections of the Viennese History of Art Museum, which date back to the beginning of the 1500s. These recorders have registers of an octave and a sixth using the so called Ganassi fingerings (Opera Intitulata Fontegara, Venice, 1535). The bore of a Renaissance recorder is larger than that of a Baroque recorder. For this reason the Renaissance instruments have stronger low tones and resonation, which is well adapted for playing in an ensemble.

In the 1500s Renaissance recorder ensembles became an important part of European court life: In England Henry the Eighth was an adamant recorder player and in 1540 he employed five members of the renowned Venetian Bassano family to play in court. They played in a recorder ensemble, and the instruments they constructed were used in the court of England for over 90 years. Recorder ensembles played an essential role in both court dances and events of the church.