Recorder Music Nothing in life falls precisely into neat boxes,
but the following groupings will perhaps enable
you to make sense of the vast amount of music
available for the recorder.
  • music for voice or unspecified instruments that can be played on recorder:
    14th century dance music of the troubadours, church music of  Machaut, 15th century Dufay, 16th century Palestrina, Lassus, Victoria
  • The Baroque period c.1600:
    sonatas and canzonas by Castello, Fontana, Ricio, Frescolbaldi, through Jacob van Eyck’s solo variations on well known tunes to the heart of the recorder repertoire at the beginning of 18th century: solo an trio sonatas, concertos, parts in operas, cantatas by Handel, Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi et al
  • 20th Century  1930s, 40s, 50s:
    Berkeley, Britten, Tippet, Genzmer, Hindemith, Jacob, Leigh, Milford, Murrill, Reizenstein, Rubbra, Staeps 
  • 1960s, 70s, 80s – experimentation & extended techniques, microtonal,  2 recorders (one player), recorder and percussion (one player): 
    Andriessen, Berio, Geysen, Hirose, Ishii, Linde, St George Tucker, Serocki,  Shinohara
  • electro-accoustical: Bank, Dickinson, Hannan, de Mann, Thorn, Vetter
  • Experimentation continues with performers like Susanna Borsch and Julien Feltrin.  In October 2012, Susanna Borsch performed Ned McGowan’s iPad Concerto with the Rotterdam Sinfonia.   
  • music for education: Bonsor, Staeps
  • Jazz influence: David Gordon, Pete Rose
  • Over the last 20 years a substantial body of music has been written or arranged for the recorder orchestra
  • The recorder on CD and on stage can be heard in many guises: for example the folk music band Spark, the pop group the Rolling Stones, the prog rock band Gryphon,  in soft jazz with the Spinnaker Band, and the early music/jazz Respectable Groove.
  • The internet now provides recorder players with a considerable repertoire of original compositions from all over the world, arrangements and early music often in facsimile. Several sources including  are listed on the Music Suppliers page.

The Recorder Today by Eve O’Kelly published by Cambridge University Press is a comprehensive guide to contemporary recorder techniques and repertoire up to 1990.

Last updated March 3, 2015