Date of Next Meeting: 16th June, 2018

The 26th meeting of SLEGS will take place on Saturday 16th June, 2018.

Visitors are most welcome.

The venue is Chris Elmes’s place – 1F1, 25 Haddington Place, EH7 4AF (the left side of Leith Walk between Annandale St and MacDonald Rd). Parking is unrestricted off Leith Walk on weekends; MacDonald Road or Hopetoun Crescent is the best area.

Time: 1pm for a 1.30pm start. Two or three hours, depending on contributions from members.

There will be a charge of £1 a head for the use of the venue.

If anyone wishes to make a presentation, please contact Rob MacKillop with some details: robmackillop@gmail.com. Otherwise, just turn up at the address stated above. Any questions, ask Rob.

Advertisements

Report of 25th Meeting: 10 March, 2018

Despite the bad weather, there was a decent turnout for our 25th meeting. Thanks as ever to Chris Elmes for use of his excellent venue. Much appreciated.

Bill Samson started off proceedings with a “Show and Tell’ on his newly-made cedar-topped classical guitar, after Manuel Ramirez. Bill gave a potted history of the Torres-Ramirez lineage, and put to bed the myth that it was José Ramirez who was the first to use cedar for the soundboard – the practice dates back to at least the mid 19th century.

Bill then treated us to the sounds of his new instrument, easily the best he has made so far. And it has a twin of sorts: a spruce-topped version, all other things being as equal as possible. Hopefully the spruce version will get an airing at the next meeting. Bill played a waltz by Calatayud, followed by Tárrega’s famous Lágrima – both items sounded beautiful: warm basses and singing trebles, and the guitar is only a week old! Great stuff, Bill!

Stuart McLuckie played a pavan and galliard housed in the library of Cambridge University, yet, considering its difficulty, is curiously present in a book of “Easy Pieces” from The Lute Society. There didn’t seem anything easy here, with divisions running all over the place. That said, Stuart made them look and sound fairly easy. He also got a big sound from his James Marriage lute.

Philip Lord played on a guitar from c.1830, sold by the Keith, Prowse company. I was entertained to learn that Keith is a surname…something I should have known. The guitar was given to him from his mother as a wedding present, some 50 years ago, and has lain untouched for almost as long. It’s good to see that he has finally got around to playing it! Philip has played lutes for many decades, and this is his first guitar. He is learning with a book of Carulli studies, published at the time he was given the guitar, and is therefore in good hands – Carulli wrote some delightful, and technically- and musically-satisfying studies. More next time, Philip!

A new visitor, Elspeth Mcveigh, entertained us by singing two Scottish songs: the beautiful Remember Me My Deir, and the moving Joy To The Personne. Elspeth gave a moving rendition of both songs, and were there more time available, could have sung more.

Ronnie McIntyre performed Bach’s BWV 999 on a modern classical guitar. He was clearly enjoying himself, in this well-known work.

Chris Jupp delivered his finest performance to date on a new Luke Emmet 6c. His all-Francesco programme started with a Ricercar No.4 (Ness numbering), followed by the beautiful ‘de mon triste’, and the fantasia on the same. It could be his new lute, but I’ve never heard Chris sound so good, despite running out of steam for the last four bars – no matter, it was a memorable performance. More of the same next time, Chris!

Yasuhiro Nakashima gave a good rendition of a great chaconne in C (or G for a theorbo in A) on his French theorbo. Robert de Visée’s music is never easy, and Yasuhiro did well for playing in front of an audience. There were some beautiful moments, as well as some technically challenging ones. Bravo.

Rob MacKillop surprised everyone by bringing out his new steel-strung archtop guitar. He calmed the palpitations of the confused gathering by playing and talking about the early repertoire of the instrument, and a short history of archtop guitars in general. Rob has started a website devoted to the acoustic archtop guitar, where you can read about the history of the instrument HERE, and watch a video of items from today’s performance HERE. The early repertoire (i.e. before Swing) was very often classical arrangements, and popular song arrangements. He played Schumann’s Traumerei from Arthur Black’s Modern Method for the Spanish Guitar Plectrum Style of 1933, as well as Black’s own Serenade. Rob’s guitar was made by Frans Elferink of Holland (website), one of Europe’s finest archtop luthiers. The audience enthused about the tone and resonance of this magnificent instrument, and also about the repertoire which Rob is enjoying digging up. Early Music? Certainly!

 

Date of Next Meeting: 10 March, 2018

The 25th meeting of SLEGS will take place on Saturday 9th December, 2017.

Visitors are most welcome.

The venue is Chris Elmes’s place – 1F1, 25 Haddington Place, EH7 4AF (the left side of Leith Walk between Annandale St and MacDonald Rd). Parking is unrestricted off Leith Walk on weekends; MacDonald Road or Hopetoun Crescent is the best area.

Time: 1pm for a 1.30pm start. Two or three hours, depending on contributions from members.

There will be a charge of £1 a head for the use of the venue.

If anyone wishes to make a presentation, please contact Rob MacKillop with some details: robmackillop@gmail.com. Otherwise, just turn up at the address stated above. Any questions, ask Rob.

Report of 24th Meeting: 9 December, 2017

Bill Samson chaired the meeting, in Rob MacKillop’s absence, with Philip Lord taking photos and dealing with administrative matters.

First to play was Bill Samson, playing his tiny mandore (mandour, mandurgen, pandurina . . .).  After briefly introducing the instrument and speculating on its use Bill played a Courante and ‘Pantalon’ (a.k.a. The Buffens, Bergamesca . . .) both from the Ulm mandore manuscript.  He finished the set with his own arrangement of ‘Patientia’ – a courante/air and double which appears in several sources.  Panmure 5 was the source that Bill used for his arrangement.  One source names the composer as Gaultier, but there were several Gaultiers.  It was perhaps Jacques Gaultier (a.k.a. ‘English’ Gaultier)

David Bateman (baroque guitar) and Oreste de Tomasso (bass viol) played a lovely Adagio from a suite by Nathaniel Diesel.

Yasuhiro Nakamura brought his French Theorbe de Pieces – a small theorbo in D – and played a stylish Prelude and Allemande by Robert de Visee, with characteristic grace.  It was a real treat to hear the sound of the small theorbo.

Philip Lord brought along a 19th century guitar that he had been given at the age of 20.  It is labelled ‘Keith Prowse’.   In style it is similar to the work of Louis Panormo – also working in London at that time.  It has an unusual scalloped fingerboard and machine heads.  Inside the case were a number of documents, including a receipt for ships’ instruments to a Captain Millman dated 1837.  Intriguingly there was part of a string packet with the address 122 Nethergate, Dundee.  That was the premises occupied by Methven Simpson’s music shop until 1909.  The instrument has recently been extensively restored and repaired.

Chris Jupp played Philip’s guitar – a Minuet and Waltz by Fernando Sor.  This is just the kind of music that the guitar was made for.  It has an excellent sound.

Gloria Lo spoke about Sor and his music and played two Sor studies – Opus 60 nos. 5&6, and Opus 31 no.2 –  and one by Carcassi – Opus 60 No.3 – which she played with great sensitivity on her gut-strung guitar.

Stuart McLuckie played his 8-course lute by James Marriage – ‘Chelsea Reach’ from the Playford book and two pieces by Marco d’Aquila.

Oreste de Tomasso played his baroque cello for us.  It is a 5-string instrument which has an 18th century back and sides and the soundboard of a more recent cello.  He explained the different construction features compared with a modern cello and the various tunings that were used in the time of J.S. Bach.  He played Minuets 1 and 2 from the Suite number 1 in G major, by Bach.

Oreste answered questions about early bowed instruments – particularly the viol and the cello as well as the smaller violoncello da spalla which is played rather like a viola, under the chin.

The meeting continued with chat and discussion.

Date of Next Meeting: Saturday 9th December, 2017

The 24th meeting of SLEGS will take place on Saturday 9th December, 2017.

Visitors are most welcome.

The venue is Chris Elmes’s place – 1F1, 25 Haddington Place, EH7 4AF (the left side of Leith Walk between Annandale St and MacDonald Rd). Parking is unrestricted off Leith Walk on weekends; MacDonald Road or Hopetoun Crescent is the best area.

Time: 1pm for a 1.30pm start. Two or three hours, depending on contributions from members.

There will be a charge of £1 a head for the use of the venue.

IMPORTANT NEWS: Following on from the contribution made by Oreste De Tomasso, who played some viola da gamba music at the last meeting, we have decided to open up our doors to the Scottish viol community. This is long overdue, as the viola da mano and viola d’arco are sister instruments. It is our hope that more viol players come and join our quarterly meetings. You could perform one very short piece, or a longer set; play solo or ensemble; give an illustrated talk about an aspect of viola technique, history, publication, manuscript – anything that you feel is of interest. Our society encourages performances from complete beginners through to seasoned performers, all are equal.

If anyone wishes to make a presentation, please contact Rob MacKillop with some details: robmackillop@gmail.com. Otherwise, just turn up at the address stated above. Any questions, ask Rob.

 

 

 

 

 

Report on 23rd Meeting, 16 September, 2017

Our usual Master of Ceremonies, Rob MacKillop, was unable to make it to this meeting, so Bill Samson and Philip Lord did what was needed. Words by Bill, photography by Philip.

After an initial chat and introductions of new attendees, the playing began.  All of us had pieces to play, which is just how it should be.

First to play was Stuart McLuckey.  Stuart played two pieces by Marco d’Aquila – one called ‘Casa Cossa’ – essentially the same music as that to which Thomas Wyatt’s song ‘Blame not my Lute’ is set.  Next came a Ricercare which was played beautifully with all its subtleties brought out.  Finally Stuart played an arrangement by Linda Sayce of ‘Kensington Court’ from Playford.

New member Oreste De Tomasso brought along his lyra viol.  The instrument was made for him by Alexander Batov and as well as the six stopped strings it has six metal sympathetic strings that pass under the main bridge and the fingerboard.  Lyra Viol employs a style of playing that uses chords and shows off the capabilities of the viol as a solo instrument.

Oreste played two pieces from the Manchester Gamba Book, published in tablature between 1660-1680. He displayed rare sensitivity for the style of music from this period.  First was a setting of ‘Monsieur’s Almaine’ by Richard Sumarte (15?? – after 1630).  Next came a Courante by Stephen Goodhall (fl 1600). Plans are afoot for more viol activity at future SLEGS meetings. 

 

Ronnie McIntyre attended our last meeting without an instrument.  This time he brought his guitar and played two pieces by Tarrega – the mazurka ‘Adelita’ and ‘Capriccio Arabe’.  Both were played with great skill and gusto.

It was a great pleasure to welcome back our occasional visitor Yasuhiro Nakashima.  He was playing his exquisite van der Waals lute.  He played his own fine arrangements of two untitled Irish pieces.  His excellent technique and feeling for the music shone through in his performance.

Chris Jupp brought along his recently acquired Ramirez guitar, which he played with flesh technique, bringing out an excellent tone quality.  He played Coste’s arrangement of Waltz number 6, by Strauss.  Next came Tarrega’s arrangement of the habanera ‘La Paloma’.  He finished with another, technically demanding Tarrega piece – Waltz in D-major.

Philip Lord played his beautiful Michael Lowe baroque lute.  He started with an arrangement by Wilfred Foxe of an Irish Air by o’Neill, which employs the right hand thumb only!  This was followed by an intriguing ‘Cappricce’ from the manuscript D-Rou. Mus. Saec. XVII.18-52, AKA the Lute Book of Luise Friederike von Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He finished with a performance of ‘I love my love in secret’ from the Balcarres lute book.  Like many of the pieces from this collection it has a fiendishly tricky bass line.

Then David Bateman played his new 5c guitar.  He started with the first movement of a sonata (‘For a Princess’) from the Danish ‘Diesel’ guitar book and then played a Folia from the same book.  It was very pleasant to hear the bright sound of the baroque guitar once again. He also showed a wire-strung charango.

Finally, Bill Samson played his 1988 guitar based loosely on one of the smaller guitars by Manuel Ramirez, from around 1900.  The trebles are of gut and Bill plays with flesh.  He played Tarrega’s ‘Lagrima’ and then ‘Adelita’.  He spoke briefly about the insights a player can get by studying original sources of music.  Many pieces are now more familiar to us as arrangements by relatively modern guitarists and it’s instructive to see how these differ from the composer’s intentions.

Following the performances there was an opportunity for attendees to chat to each other, compare instruments and so on – by no means the least important part of a SLEGS meeting!

Date Of Next Meeting: Saturday 16th September, 2017

The 23rd meeting will take place on Saturday 16th September, 2017.

Visitors are most welcome.

The venue is Chris Elmes’s place – 1F1, 25 Haddington Place, EH7 4AF (the left side of Leith Walk between Annandale St and MacDonald Rd). Parking is unrestricted off Leith Walk on weekends; MacDonald Road or Hopetoun Crescent is the best area.

Time: 1pm for a 1.30pm start. Two or three hours, depending on contributions from members.

There will be a charge of £1 a head for the use of the venue.

If anyone wishes to make a presentation, please contact Rob MacKillop: robmackillopATgmailDOTCOM