Notes from the Director


Notes from October 27th Rehearsal

Thanks again to Aldo for another excellent, focused Tuning session.  I hope you all will incorporate Aldo’s exercises into your basic warm up practice.  I love doing this!  I’m playing a lot of unisons, octaves, 5ths and major 3rds as Long Tones and melodies over drones every day.  Enjoy the improvement in your tuning, in your hearing and a more consistent tone that comes from this practice.


Be sure to include playing the lowest note on your instrument many times as both short and very long tones.  Tongue this note clearly every time.  Sometimes play lots of different articulations on this note during a very Long Tone.

Our big SPRING CONCERT will be Friday, May 22 at First Church in Cambridge.  We will rehearse at 5:00pm and the performance will begin at 7:30pm.


In our next rehearsal on Sunday, November 17, we will rehearse:


- Canto, Canto (including the handwritten tuning sheet)  

- Dormendo un giorno —  practice by listening to the recording and singing your voice.  

- Sweet Suffolk Owl —  know the words!  We will play from the annotated parts.

- Mother I will have a husband —  be able to speak/sing the words in rhythm at tempo.

- Scaldava il sol  (Marenzio) —  please know the text & translation —  We will play this from Annotated parts, which will be posted soon on our website. 

- Wakati njema (Sieg), all three movements — Good work last !  Next rehearsal we will try all three moments at tempo!   Be sure that you have listened to your part enough so that you know the rhythms by sight!

- Galliarde (Praetorius)


  Thank you All!




Notes from October 5th Rehearsal

Hey BRO,


    We had a great session with Aldo Abreu at our last rehearsal.  We spent a wonderful hour and a half listening with excellent focus to everyone’s tuning.  It was great to hear so many comments on how illuminating it was to take the time to listen together with such clarity.  We all benefited from this!  

    We are looking forward to another session with Aldo at our next rehearsal on October 27 and to an especially satisfying season!

    We hope you are all enjoying practicing Aldo’s system of matching each note of a major scale three times with a unison note (Drone).  Of course you know that this practice will also make your tone more centered and even.  


    For our October 27 rehearsal:   

        -  Do long tones especially on the lowest note of your instrument. LiVirghi voices his Renaissance instruments so that the lowest note can be played with a very full tone. To stay loose and to breathe well, walk around playing your lowest note many times.  Also play your lowest note using a variety of articulations.  


        -  We will rehearse these pieces.  Read these practice suggestions so that we will be able to run through these pieces quickly.  


-  Canto Canto Festa Festa - be sure to know the phrasing and breaths.


-  Dormendo un giorno  - After you know the words and translation(!) check out this recording.  Sing your part along with the recording.


-  Sieg  -  Listen to and practice your part with the recording on our website.


-  Mother I will have a husband - This is not a difficult piece but it requires that we really know the text and rhythms.  

    Please practice this way:

    1. Read the words as normal, spoken language.

    2. Listen to this recording while watching your part.

    3. Sing/Speak your part with the recording. 

    4. Play your part hearing the words as you play.


    Compliments to you all on your excellent work.  We are looking forward to listening and playing together next time!



John & Miyuki


Notes from September 15th Rehearsal

Hi Everyone,

    It was wonderful to begin the new season together!  

    At our first rehearsal we started these three quick warm up exercises. We hope you will enjoy these!  


1.  As a simple and very helpful warmup do some panting without the recorder (fast, slow, lots of air or little air).  This is a very natural way to improve your breath control.  Enjoy especially how this makes it easy to be aware of and therefore relax your throat.  Do this for a minute or so from time to time during the day.  


2.  Tuning

    Play long notes and simple phrases over a Drone note.  Be sure that the Drone is louder than your recorder volume so that you can easily hear when you are perfectly in tune with the Drone.  First play unisons then octaves.  Check a tuner visually to confirm what you’re hearing but don’t watch the tuner when you are playing-you’ll hear when you are in tune.  It’s a good idea to listen to the Drone with earphones.  When you’re good with unisons and octaves add perfect 5th and 3rds.  

    Always feel relaxed but often play very long notes.  This helps you hear the steadiness of your tone and tuning.  Often play the same long tone 4 or 5 times in a row.


3.  An easy way to become more sensitive to tuning is to hear the difference between a standard fingering and an alternate fingering on the same note.

    Play the fingering 02 (the note C on C-instruments, the note F on F-instruments, the note G on G-instruments).  Then play the same note with the fingering 0346.  You may need to adjust this fingering for every instrument. Try 034 or 0346  or 03467, etc.

    Find an alternate fingering that is very slightly sharper than the standard fingering.  

    First blow the same for both fingerings. You will hear a slight but very perceptible higher pitch on the alternate fingering.  

Finally, alternate the two fingerings playing the same pitch on each.  Enjoy the different color and volume of each fingering.  


    Please practice all the pieces on our website.  There will be more Music and Orchestrations on the website before long. 

       We will also be in touch with more specifics about the Winter and Spring Schedule.


       Remember, at our next two rehearsals we will have the pleasure of doing a Tuning Workshop with Aldo Abreu!  (in addition to  rehearsing our pieces) 


    Thank you all!  It’s going to be a great year!



John & Miyuki

BRO Notes for 1/27/19 rehearsal


Hi Everyone,

Looking forward to getting together this Sunday in Medford.

Rehearsals have been going very well and we are really a much more sensitive and polished ensemble than we were in September. Compliments!  



Last rehearsal we talked more about working on tone and tuning.  Try these suggestions for fun ways to improve your playing:


- Enjoy playing over a loud drone note.  Concentrate on the tuning of the perfect intervals-Unisons, Major 3rds, Perfect 5ths and Octaves but play anything you want.

- Walk around calmly playing melodies by ear.  This is truly the best musical and technical practice I know!  It is easy to hear and control your tone, tuning, dynamics/shading, etc.

- Also, walk around playing long tones.  Enjoy your tones, sense of movement, expression and tuning.  If you let yourself feel calm, it is easier to maintain a steady tone and tuning.


This Sunday we will try to run these pieces.  Please look over these and know your parts.  Be sure to know the words of the Marenzio and Bennet madrigals.  I hope we are familiar enough with these to be able to run these at tempo!  Please practice your parts, especially Celebration.


Amor Vittorioso

La Bellezza

Caccia d’Amore

Puta Nera Ballo Furlano

Ohime - Marenzio

All creatures - Bennet

Celebration - Sieg

Adon Olam


We will also post one new piece (our encore) on the website.  Please bring this with you Sunday.  


At the end of Sunday’s rehearsal we will take about the last 45 minutes to rehearse the upcoming School Concerts.  If you are playing in any of the School Concerts please bring all the instruments and music you need for those concerts.

Thank you All!




Dear All:

Regarding the upcoming concert to the International School of Boston on Monday January 28th



- Please come for 9:30 AM on Monday, January 28th, at the main entrance 

- Concert will start at 10:30AM

Address: 45 Matignon Road, Cambridge MA 02140. The Main Entrance is in the "Middle & Upper Schools" building, behind the round area with the large tree (see picture). 





The Concert will take place in the Gymnasium.

Please bring:

- your instrument and instrument stands
- your music and music stands (and stand lights)

Dress code: black bottom, colorful top - casual but colorful/party clothes

Please review:

- the concert program is included. All the music for the concert is on the website.


Please feel free to contact with any questions or concerns. 


Hi Everyone,

Very Happy New Year!  We hope you had joyous holidays and are refreshed and energized for a new year of BRO!

We’re looking forward to getting together this Sunday the 13th in Medford.

Last rehearsal we tallied about some technical practice.  These are all fun and don’t take much time but will make a real difference in the ease and facility with which you play.


-  Be sure to play lots of easy, beautiful long tones on the lowest note of your   instrument, also with various articulations.

-  As always, simply enjoy playing lovely, easy melodies by ear—record yourselves.      Walk around casually when you do this.

-  Try singing and playing at the same time.  Let this be a fun game.  You’ll make wonderfully weird sounds and discover some very cool effects.  You’ll also take a big step in being able to blow with a very open throat and therefore a more resonant, supported sound.



This Sunday we will try to play all these pieces concentrating on:


-  Gastoldi  - tuning and keeping the tempo

-  Mainerio  - keeping the tempo.  Practice Puta Nera Ballo Furlano with the metronome. 

-  Marenzio  - Of course the first work is to know the text and translation.

-  Bennet,  All creatures now. - Words.

-  Sieg, Celebration   - Your best practice for Celebration is to simply sing/speak the tricky passages of your part with the articulations you will use when playing.  This should be easy within a day or two so then speak/sing with the metronome.  Of course the point is to hear the rhythms and be able to play completely comfortably so vary the metronome speed as helpful.  Don’t hesitate to play as slowly as needed!  Speed will not be a problem if you really know/hear the rhythms and have always played them with ease.

-  Italian, Donna Lombarda & Young Girl Who Comes to the Fountain  -   For ease and   being fluent with the notes.

-  Rossi, Adom Olam

-  Gabrieli, Canzon Septimi Toni


   It will be wonderful to get started again!





Dear BRO Members
Here is the review of 11/11 rehearsal.


Amor vittorioso
m.17 sweeter, less detached


Tu pauperum
m.53, m.55 Enjoy the dramatic silences precisely together.
After the triple section, the first phrase, “in te spero”, should be legato.
m.92 We take a big breath together.


Putta Nera Ballo Furlano
Ignore the bar lines and feel the first 6 notes like a pick up to the half note.
   Practice this easy, pretty piece with metronome. half note=120+


Play with clean T tonguing on the accented notes.
Before letter I, everyone has 2 measures of silence.  John will cue letter I. 


All creatures
“At Oriannas presence” majestic, flowing, lots of vowels.
The second time “Musicke the time beguileth” is played, Cantus, Altus and Tenor begin together.
Entrance of “Queene of all”, Quintus, Altus and Bassus start together. After a Dotted Quarter note and an Eighth note (“Queen of”) the Superius enters. After a Dotted quarter note and an Eighth note (“Queen of”) theTenor enters.
   After the last G.P. play “Then sang the Shepherds” with a very round, full tone.  

Our next rehearsal is scheduled for 11/25.  We might expect small attendance again since this is Thanksgiving weekend.
Please let us know whether you can make it or not.

Thank you very much!
Happy Thanksgiving!

John & Miyuki


General Considerations:


-           Please be sure that you know what instrument and what voice you are playing for all pieces.  There is more repertoire to come.


-           We hope you find the tuning work we are doing as simply enjoying hearing more beautiful sounds all the time.  Playing lovely notes over a drone, playing scales with the recording, enjoying the purity of your tuning, all of this is musically satisfying.  

-           As you know, an important part of your practice is listening to the recordings.


-           It is vitally important that you keep the LiVirghi instruments humidified!  They are very sensitive to the dryness when you turn on your heat!  If you have a room humidifier that’s great.  Barring that, you can keep the instruments in a well-humidified closed space like a closet, chest, drawer, etc.  You will have to be sure that a lot of humidity is getting into the air.  In a very small space like a box or drawer or plastic bag, you may be able to get enough evaporation from wet sponges, rags, etc.  Keep the instruments close to but not in direct contact to the moisture source.  I’ll gladly lend my humidity gauge for you to check!


-           Please let us know if you can attend the November 11 rehearsal.  Depending on how many can attend we may do the rehearsal at our place in Cambridge.


-           Next rehearsal we will try to run the three Gastoldi pieces so have them concert ready in a binder/folder.  The order is: Amor Vittorioso—La Bellezza—La Caccia.

            We will also play (depending on who can come):

                        Tu paperum refugium

                        Mainerio-Puta Nera and Passamezzo 

                        All creatures now are merry minded

                        Marenzio-Ohime dov’e il mio ben— know the translation!


                        Donna Leggiardra, Young Girl who goes to the fountain

                        Gabrieli-Canzon Septimi Toni 


La bellezza - Gastoldi

            The voice names are 1-Cantus, 2-Quintus, 3-Altus, 4-Tenor, 5-Bassus, high to low.

n.b.  At the first second ending (m.5) the Tenor voice begins before the other voices.


Tu pauperum refugium

            We will post the text and translation of the Josquin motet Tu pauperum refugium.   Have fun getting to know this.  It really makes the playing much more interesting.  He is so brilliant at natural but wonderful text setting.  

              Play the word spes (hope) like an “ah”, sadder on exulum (exiles), strong on fortitudo (strength)—but be sure to hear the pitch on every note!  On the word adoro (I adoro) make a long, singing phrase.  Make each entrance of the word anima (soul) clear.     


Putta nera

After you are comfortable with the reading (see each phrase as a unit), then play with the metronome—at several comfortable speeds.


All creatures now are merry minded

-         The voice names are 1-Cantus, 2-Quintus, 3-Altus, 4-Tenor, 5-Bassus, high to low.  

-         The voice names (Cantus, Quintus, Altus, Tenor, Bassus) are correct.  Ignore the circled numbers, they are incorrect. 


Big breath before “Yond” and “At Oriana”


We will work on the entrance timings at “Queen”.

Thanks and compliments to you all on your dedication and lovely playing!  This is going to be our most impressive season!



John & Miyuki


Hi Everyone,

We had a lovely first rehearsal on September 16 in Medford.  We were especially pleased with everyone’s focus.


Our Tuning Goal this season is to be aware of your tuning so regularly that you start to hear the correct pitches before you play them.  

You will accomplish this if you simply take a few minutes every day to play notes, scales and easy melodies by ear and listen confidently to your tone and tuning.  



An important assignment for everyone:  Listen to at least one of the Tuning Scales every day (on the BRO website). Even when you don’t have a recorder with you, it is helpful to listen to a scale and sing with it.  

When you play, the first time through the scale listen to the note and then play your note in the silence—don’t overlap.  The second time through, listen to the recorded note and then join it.

Be sure to tongue every note very clearly.  



Next rehearsal, October 7, will be in Medford (as you know from the website). We will try to play all the pieces on the website:

Gastoldi - Amor Vittorioso, La bellezza, Caccia d’Amore

Mainerio - Puta Nera Ballo Fulano, Ballo Milanese and Passamezzo 

Josquin - Adieu mes amours and Tu pauperum refugium (n.b. The file has two motets.   The first is Magnus es tu. We will not play this motet, we will play only Tu pauperum refugium.)

Gabrieli - Canzon Septimi Toni 


We will also play  Sieg - Celebration.  Those of you who were not at the last rehearsal and do not have your parts yet please listen to this piece on YouTube. 

We will bring parts on the 7th.


We hope to have more repertoire on the website soon!

Looking forward to playing together on the 7th!


Miyuki & John


Hi All,

Thanks to Nouri we have at least a preliminary rehearsal schedule for Sunday afternoons, 3-6pm at the UU Church in Medford.  We hope all these dates work and will confirm asap.  


September 16

October 7, 21

November 11, 25

December 2, 16

January 13, 27

February 10, 24

March 10, 17, 31

April 7, 28

May 5, 19


We are scheduling more rehearsals this season for several reasons.  Every season we have made great strides and this season we’re looking forward to lots of work and even more wonderful music!  Of course we understand that not everyone can make every rehearsal.  Also, we’d just love to play together more!

We will probably do some smaller rehearsal on Monday evenings.  We’ll talk about this as the season progresses.  


Thinking about our Spring Concert, we could perform in the lovely, big sanctuary of First Church in Cambridge on any of these evenings:


Monday, May 20

Tuesday, May 21 

Thursday, May 23

Friday, May 24

Friday, May 31


Thank you all so much!  Please let us know your availabilities for this concert dates ASAP.   We’d also love to talk with any of you who cannot do regular rehearsals; we would love to involve as many as possible for at least a few sets in the concert!

We will also be doing at least the American Recorder Society event at BEMF the week of June 9-16.  There is the possibility that Francesco LiVirghi may come to BEMF and give a talk about his instruments—of course BRO will play for him!!!


Looking forward to getting together Sunday, September 16!



John & Miyuki

Boston Recorder Orchestra  -  Cambridge MA - USA