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!