Flûtes à Bec: Flutes with a beak

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I have performed at the Kansas City, Renaissance Festival since 1999 with Madrigalia Bar Nonne, one of the performing musical groups there. In that time I have interacted with the court and various members of other performing groups.

Most of those exchanges have been passing acquaintances. But one of the fortunate circumstances was when I struck up a conversation a few years ago with Channing Horner of Flûtes à Bec, a recorder quartet.

The conversation, revolving around our music, and some of the vagaries of the Renaissance garb we do our performances in, has led to exchanges about wider musical discussions.

This year I managed to attend and record two of their sets at Hunter’s Glen, one of the stages at the festival. I took those sets and edited them into the almost hour of video that you will see embedded in this blog.

These performance segments were recorded during live rehearsal, with crowds passing by, people talking, the royal court declaiming, drums and bagpipes going off in the distance. A gypsy is hawking pickles not 10 yards from the stage. And yet with all that ambient noise, the recorder music comes through quite well. The acoustic instruments have great projection. You will notice how clearly there are heard, compared to the spoken commentary.

So enjoy the music, and imagine you are there amidst the fair, strolling, and stopping for a moment to appreciate one of the performing groups. Better yet, after you get done listening, come out and see musicians live at the festival (Flûtes à Bec was only scheduled the first weekend, so you won’t see them until next year, but there are plenty of others, for many musical tastes).

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