The foul weather nearly scuppered the meeting yesterday, but six hardie souls braved the blizzard, and were rewarded with some excellent playing and a good blether.
Dorothee O’Sullivan Burchard fought through nerves to play her first full-length piece at a SLEGS meeting. What a triumph for her! La Roque by Pierre Attaingnant is not a very easy piece, so congratulations to Dorothee for getting to the finish line unharmed, and with the crowd yelping their approval. There’s no holding you back now, Dorothee. We’re already looking forward to your next performance.
Another beginner lute player is David Bateman, testing the waters after years of guitar playing. He performed his own intabulation of the Coventry Carol, followed by a version of The King of Denmark’s Galliard. David employs the clever ploy of first informing his audience of how awful his playing is, leaving us highly impressed with what does transpire. Being an “Early” dancer, his rhythm is always good (a rare thing among lute players) and he gets most of the notes! With a little more thought towards tone production and position shifts, all the parts will start coming together, the stars will align, and all will be well with the universe. Keep it up, David!
Stuart McLuckie always entertains, this time with two of the Tunes Of Old London, a Lynda Sayce edition: Lost is my Liberty, and Lincoln’s Inn. These are excellent pieces, and Stuart performed them very well indeed.
Chris Jupp gave his first performance on an 11c lute (made by Bill Samson). We are used to hearing Chris on an 8c student lute, but this was quite different. Bill’s thirty-year old gut-strung lute sounded magnificent, and although Chris has yet to feel at home on the instrument, he is certainly on the way to doing so. A prelude from the Bohush manuscript (a new one to me) was short but sweet, as preludes often are. It was followed by a sarabande, La Mignone, from the Saizenay manuscript, which was very beautiful. His encore was the rhythmically delightful, Sweet Willie from the Balcarres manuscript. My feeling is that Chris sounds more himself on the 11c, and I definitely look forward to hearing more from him on it.
Bill Samson played the Caprice Op.60 No.4 by Carcassi on his 28-year old guitar, after Manuel Ramirez. This guitar makes a beautiful sound, and has a good range of dynamics. Bill was playing brilliantly until unintentionally skipping a line towards the end, which almost derailed his dashing train. Much applause followed as he hirpled into the station
Rob MacKillop played his beautiful Simon Ambridge guitar, after Torres and Manuel Ramirez. The gut and silk-strung guitar was the perfect mach for the arrangement of El Noi de la Mare, a Catalan Christmas Carol, arranged for once not by Miguel Llobet, but by one of his students, Graciano Tarragó.
Both guitarists put their Manuel Ramirez-inspired guitars together for two duets, arranged by Len Williams from his Spanish And South American collection: De Blanca Tierra (one could almost hear the pan pipes) and El Paño Moruno. Encore lads!
Stuart McLuckie took the duo photograph. All others above were by Bill Samson. All the photos below are by Rob MacKillop.