4th Meeting – 14 July, 2012

A very good meeting again, with a good turnout, good presentations and performances. Well done to all. We have no shortage of photographs, with three snap-happy photographers – Bill Samson, Rob MacKillop and Stuart Goldie.

Thanks to Elly Smith for booking the Laigh Room of St Cecilia’s Hall – the perfect venue for our happy gang.

Rob MacKillop began proceedingsĀ  with two studies by Fernando Sor on a Lacote copy by Michael Nalysnyk of www.historicalguitars.co.uk – everyone agreed it was a superb-sounding instrument, gut strung and played with the fingerstips. Rob discussed Sor’s technique as outlined in his Method, before applying that technique to the studies.

Rob then surprised everyone by introducing a gut-strung fretless banjo, a copy of one by Boucher from the 1850s. We heard music by Tom Briggs, allegedly culled from his time on Southern plantations; and two items by James Buckley from the 1860s which used the higher positions of the fretless fingerboard extensively. Rob was clearly enjoying the challenge of playing fretless. A few listeners described the experience as a ‘revelation’.

Chris Jupp played Preludes 9 and 78 by Elias Mertel from Stefan Lundberg’s Lute Calendar – a different piece for every day of the year. Both pieces used high position shifts, which Chris managed without looking at his hands – not an easy task. The music was very interesting. Chris gets a rich sound out of his Early Music Shop 8c lute.

Newcomer, James Jackson, who made the trip all the way from Durham, played the beautiful, ‘I wish I were where Helen lies’ from the Balcarres manuscript. James played a 12c made by students of David Van Edwards’ school, and rented from the Lute Society. His playing was deft and sensitive, while easily negotiating some very awkward shifts. We look forward to his next contribution!

Bill Samson summoned some exquisite tones from his self-made 7c Venere-Hieber lute, playing Dowland’s ‘Mrs Winter’s Jump’, a Ferrabosco Pavan, and Kemps Jig. This was decidely Bill’s most accomplished performance to date. The tempos seemed perfect, and the phrasing in the pavan was very beautiful indeed. Encore!

Graham Wylie played his Martin de Witte swan-necked 13c (sounding magnificent in all registers). We heard an anonymous Fantasia, and two preludes, in Dm and F, by Weiss. There were many excellent moments, and it is gratifying to see Graham grow in confidence and accomplishment with every performance.

Stuart Mcluckie gave a sprightly performance of two passamezze, one by Le Roy, and one from the Dallis lute book – good, rhythmical performances, on a very good sounding James Marriage lute. Looking forward to more from Stuart next time!

David Bateman gave a presentation about extended-range guitars, showing a couple of modern 10 and 11-stringers from Spain, but also a beautiful Schrammel guitar picked up on a recent trip to Vienna. We hope to hear him play some Viennese classics next time :-)

To draw the performances to a close, Gordon Ferries played an astonishing performance of Robert de Visee’s suite in Dm for guitar – the famous one – but with a change of Allemende. Look out for Gordon’s next CD which will contain this suite. His Martin Haycock 5c sounded absolutely magnificent.

The date for the next meeting will appear on this site soon…

Now, a million photos…

From Stuart Goldie:

From Rob MacKillop:

From Bill Samson:

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