A lower turnout than usual due to the Easter holiday weekend, but certainly enough people to create a lively and interesting meeting.
Importantly, the decision was made to have an agreed pitch of A=440 , with Renaissance lutes tuned to g on the first string, where possible. The reason being: we are going to attempt some ensemble playing. Rob MacKillop will be arranging some four-part music for members to play at the next meeting. Keep looking at this website, as the parts will appear in tab soon. The music will be in four parts. Choose the part which suits your playing, and let Rob know – robmackillop AT gmail dot com. Any parts not selected will be covered by Rob.
To today’s meeting…
Stuart Mcluckie (on the left, above) started proceedings with two items from the Lute Society’s curiously named, 58 Very Easy Pieces – very easy they are not! Stuart gave a good account of numbers 34, the Spanish pavin, and 52, the Pars A Measures Pavion by Lodge. I liked these pieces, and always look forward to Stuart’s contributions.
Rob MacKillop played some vihuela music on a 7c lute made by Bill Samson: the Fantasia del quatro tono, from Narvaez’s Book Two; then two “duo”s by Miguel de Fuenllana, one composed by Fuenllana, the other taken from a Fecit Potentiam by Josquin. This is great music, which the performer enjoyed playing, and everyone appeared to enjoy hearing.
Eric Thomas (above) played Arthur’s Dump – one of the one’s from the Marsh lute book. It is a long and interesting work, with some harmonic twists and a good driving rhythm. Eric seems to be the only dedicated thumb-inside player in the membership, but the tone he produces is bound to get others thinking about it. Fine playing.
Bill Samson played his “new” 5c lute – some bits of the lute were made in the 1970s, some in the 1980s, and some just last month! It was originally made as a 6c, but Bill felt it might be more comfortable as a 5c. It was really interesting to hear late medieval/early Renaissance polyphony, with pieces by Richard Loqueville (? – 1418), the teacher of the great Guillaume Dufay. Some really interesting rhythms and ear-tingling harmony. Good stuff! Bill also brought along his one-day old 6c lute – a fine wee beastie!
Philip Lord played Robert Johnson‘s Princes Almaine, and despite a faltering start, gave a good account of it. Philip played a vihuela de mano by Paul Thomson, and it sounded magnificent.
Reyyan Ozer performed a very interesting soundtrack to a poem called 33 Bullets . Her saz playing is delicate, and haunting, with it’s microtones really sounding beautiful, if unusual among the other music we had been hearing. But I wonder how much of what we had played might originally have sounded closer to the saz interval placements? Anyway, it was a very welcome, and beautiful performance.
After the playing, Rob MacKillop gave a demonstration on how to play grounds, and all participants created a cacophony of different pitches and temperaments, strumming the buffins, and la Romanesca. We might try this again when we are all at the same pitch!
NB Our venue, St Cecilia’s Hall, will be closing for almost a year, and we are on the hunt for an alternative venue. Watch this space for news of where that will be. A million Thanks to Darryl Martin and the gang at St Cecilia’s for helping us out thus far.
Looking forward to the next meeting!
Colour photos by Bill Samson. Black and White photos by Rob MacKillop.