First Meeting – 1st October, 2011

The first meeting took place in the Laigh Room at St Cecilia’s Hall, and seems to have been a success, with all participants wishing to do more of the same in the future.

In attendance:

Rob MacKillop, Gordon Ferries, Bill Samson, Mario Giardini, Eleanor Smith, Graham Wylie, Susan Rennie and Rhona MacKillop.

After an initial settling-in period, with people chatting, viewing instruments, etc, some playing was to be heard. What follows is a highly critical review – not!

Rob started with some Weiss, a well-known Suite in Dm. As he had not played the lute for three years, and his new 13c Malcolm Prior lute was less than two weeks old, there were the occasional utterances of ‘oops’ when the thumb hit the wrong bass course. Soon, however, the nerves settled, and he really caught some beautiful moments in the Sarabande. Everyone remarked on how beautifully clear the lute sounded.

Bill Samson entertained us with some Vieux Gaultier on his self-made 11c lute. It was a pleasure to watch Bill’s confidence grow, and there were some sublime moments in the famous Tombeau de Mezangeau. Bill’s lute has a delightful bell-like tone.

Graham Wylie played two instruments, a Malcolm Prior 8c and a three-week old Voboam-style guitar by Alexander Batov. I’ve seen Graham play in student recitals before, and I can say that it was a great pleasure to see him play so well and with some confidence in front of other lute and early guitar players. I’m sure the experience will have done him a world of good. He played pieces by Sanz on guitar, and some classic English lute music.

Mario did not play, as he does not yet have a lute. But, being a proficient harpsichord maker, has plans to build his own lute as soon as possible. If anyone has a lute to lend to him in the interim, please get in touch.

Gordon Ferries was on tremendous form with some stunning 4c guitar music by Guillaume Morlaye. It is amazing how much music can be made within the first five frets and four strings. We heard  Arcadelt’s Aux Temps Heureaux twice – once as a guitar solo, and once with Eleanor Smith singing the soprano line beautifully. That was a real treat. Eli will be our resident singer, should anyone want to prepare a song – though please get in touch with Eli first!

Gordon played many more pieces on guitar, and gave some help and guidance to Graham on fingering the campanella section of the famous Sanz Pavanas.

So, slowly the form of this new society began to take shape. We have a relaxed atmosphere where anyone from a complete beginner to a seasoned pro can feel they can contribute something. It would be good to expand the membership, and I know there are other players out there, so steps will be taken in that direction.

We hope to a have workshops and recitals, and need to seek funding to pay for expenses and fees. However, the main focus for the society will be fostering a ”safe space” for players of all levels to try out things with a sympathetic audience.

Bill and Rob have plans to play a duet on 13c and 11c lute at the next meeting, and it is hoped the other players will be preparing something too. The date of the next meeting is Saturday 7th January, 2012. I hope to remember my camera next time! Sorry there are no visuals.

As Bill said,  “I was VERY inspired by today’s event, and will certainly be putting loads of effort into practising before the next get-together.”

Comments welcome below…


  1. I am in Scotland (from Australia) for 3 weeks, just started learning Renaissance Lute, was wondering if there is any lut or early music concerts on between 18/6 to 4/7, regards, Trish

    1. Hi Trish. I have no idea. Keep checking these pages: and good luck! If you want a lute lesson while you are here – maybe learn a Scottish lute piece -, just ask.

  2. Ron & Donna says:

    Congratulations, Rob, we wish you all the best in what sounds like a very worthwhile endeavor.

    As for inviting other artists, we’d love to stop by. There’s just this little ocean that has to be dealt with…

    Ron & Donna

    1. Thanks, guys. You never know…if you are ever in the UK, let us know.

  3. Bill Samson says:

    Quick work getting this blog up and running, Rob. Your critique of my playing was far too kind – you’ll have me resting on my non-existent laurels!

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