The River Sings can be performed using a standard recorder quartet of Alto, Tenor, Bass, and Great Bass; it was originally written for a quartet of modern recorders with unique headpieces designed and built by my friend in Switzerland, Geri Bollinger. They are a G Alto, Tenor, G Bass and a Great Bass. You can find and listen to Geri’s instruments here: www.geri-bollinger.ch
This music took me a long time to write: first came the harmonic ideas and voicings after which the melodies started to seep their way in. After that it became like a big jigsaw puzzle that you only have a very blurry photo of and some crucial pieces are missing: eventually I found more of the missing jigsaw pieces and cobbled together a few of my own to fill in some crucial gaps.
When I first conceived this music the main feeling was of serenity with movement. When my partner and Geri both heard a first sketch for the quartet both of their responses were exactly the same: “But nothing is happening.” I was pretty happy with this comment (which kind of scared them), because that was the exact idea – movement within the quiet, like a river that looks still and makes very little sound but is always moving, always changing.
Thank you Geri for making these great instruments that are pushing the boundaries of my recorder playing and writing: they open up so many musical timbres, textures, dynamics and possibilities.
You can listen to Geri and I playing The River Sings here:https://soundcloud.com/racheal-cogan/the-river-sings