Recorder Orchestra Praetorius
Praetorius was founded in 1963 when Piet Kunst, recorder teacher at the music school in Leiden, formed a double quartet with eight advanced recorder students. Over time, this double quartet expanded to an ensemble of approximately twenty-five recorder players. Since 1989, the ensemble is an independent organization and is led by Piet’s son Norbert Kunst since 1996.
Recorder Orchestra Praetorius Leiden plays music from all eras. Compositions from the twentieth century,works from the Renaissance and Baroque, but also music from the romantic period. Many of these works have been especially arranged for Praetorius. Praetorius makes use of an array of different recorders, from sopranino to double bass. These instruments can be played in different occupation: high, called the 4' register (soprano - alto - tenor - bass) and low, the 8' register (tenor - bass - greatbas – double bass). By using these registers separately or together, a large variety of timbres is possible.
Over time Praetorius has executed many entertaining, exciting and innovative concerts and musical performances. This includes the programme 'Fandango', played in 2008, in which various collections of music from the courts of the Spanish Dukes played a role and which ended by the smashing ‘Tre Fontane’. In 2007, Praetorius literally occupied a large space for the programme ‘Ruimte’ (‘Space’) , for a festive Vesper in honor of John the Baptist. The audience was sitting in the middle of the music hall in between three choirs of recorder players, the ‘Cori Spezzati ’, which were playing a good distance apart.
Apart from these somewhat daring music choices, Praetorius is not afraid to perform the classics. So, in 2009, the famous composers Bach and Buxtehude were placed opposite each other in a collaboration with organist Stephen Taylor. In the programme ‘Countering Handel’ in January 2009, Praetorius had a beautiful musical theatre performance with singer Jan Kullman and mimeplayer Hakim Traïdia. The programme consisted of music from the famous operas of Handel: ‘Agrippina’ and ‘Rinaldo’.
Finally, it was a long cherished wish of the ensemble to have a collaboration with recorder player Marion Verbruggen. In 2010 she played the solo of the famous A-minor Suite by Telemann, while Praetorius played in the role of the orchestra.