Tom's comment on my blog yesterday (about my playing the recorder at the party) made me smile, but it also made me think. Children are taught recorder in junior school and are usually taught on cheap descant instruments - shrill, out of tune and quite unbearable to listen to. Sadly, this gets the recorder a bad name and that is a shame.
The recorder was at one time a serious instrument. Early music uses it a lot and I played, along with my first husband in an Early Music Group. I played Harpsichord and between us we played all the recorders - descant, treble, tenor, bass and great bass - crumhorns, gemshorns, tabors - anything we could afford. It is quite possible to pay hundreds of pounds for a recorder - many of the good ones are made of woods like grenadilla. I had a Moeck Grenadilla treble recorder which cost several hundred pounds thirty years ago. We had a great bass specially made - I think the wood was sycamore - and the cost was certainly more than a month's salary.
So before you shudder at the very name recorder I do suggest that you listen to some early music played by some of the virtuoso recorder players - I think you will be surprised at its beauty as an instrument in its own right. Good listening!