Ensemble performs old German music for modern museum audience

October 10, 2002|by KATE COLEMAN

The Recorder Consort will perform at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Sunday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m.

The ensemble - Lora Byler, Robert Byler, George Comstock, William Hull, David Styer and Naomi Styer - will play music by German composers. It's old music: 17th century, 19th century.

"We prefer older music," says Lora Byler, who plays recorder with the ensemble.

Consort means a variety of instruments, she says. It also used to mean to be in harmony. Those two meanings stand for the musical group founded more than 23 years ago.

George Comstock has been with the ensemble since its beginning. He also plays with The Elizabeth-towne Recorder Consort, originally founded in 1964 and recently re-activated, and he plays bassoon and also performs with The Frederick Orchestra.


Eighty-seven years old, he has been playing "to amuse himself" for a long time. His parents wanted him to learn piano. In "the only rebellion I ever won," he chose mandolin. He later chose to learn to play flute, a rare instrument at the time in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Comstock bought his first recorder when he was a Harvard medical student in the early 1940s. He had received the $5 the flute-like instrument cost - a lot of money at the time - for performing a blood transfusion, he says.

The beauty of the recorder is that it is a social instrument, Comstock says. The sound is more pleasing when played with other instruments, he explains.

The ensemble performs at the museum four times a year. The programs always are varied and interesting, says Jean Woods, museum director.

The consort also plays at other venues and for other audiences. "Whoever asks us," Byler laughs.

The Recorder Consort will perform Friday, Oct. 11, in Baltimore as part of a celebration of Comstock's 40 years of contributions to public health. A full-time professor for four decades, Comstock continues to teach at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also continues his Hopkins public health research in Hagerstown.

A busy part of an ensemble of busy musicians, Comstock says the Recorder Consort will play the same selections in Baltimore that they will perform at the Hagerstown museum Sunday.

"We haven't got time" to prepare a second concert, Comstock says.

If you go . . .

Recorder Consort performs music by German composers

They will play "Paduana and 2 Galliards" by Valentin Haussmann, published in 1604; "Gigue from Suite 5," by

17th-century composer Johann Wilhelm Furchheim; Sonata

No. 25 from "Hora decima," written in 1670 by Johann Pezel; and "All meine Herzgedanken, Op. 62, No. 5," by 19th-century romantic composer Johannes Brahms.

Sunday, Oct. 13, 3 p.m.

Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

City Park



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