Report of 21st Meeting: 25 February, 2017
A good turnout, with some new faces, which is always good to see. Thanks once more to Chris Elmes for use of his rooms.
After a good chin wag, the music started. [Most photos can be enlarged with a click.]
Rob MacKillop: Vieux Gaultier: Tombeau de Mesangeau and Carillon, followed by a Robert de Visée Allemende in Dm from the Saizenay MS.
Rob introduced his selection by showing us two books and one lute. The first book was Rob’s own, “Introduction To The Lute – for lute and guitar players“, which is published by Mel Bay. More info HERE. The other book was by Peter Croton, “Performing Baroque Music on the Lute & Theorbo“. More info HERE.
Rob then discussed “The Weiss Lute” from Le Luth Doré, the company set up by Miguel Serdoura to provide Chinese-made student and professional lutes of high quality at good prices. The reaction seemed unanimous, in that the lute sounded excellent, and was very-well made. Rob had strung the lute with gut trebles by Bow Brand, and loaded-nylgut bass fundamentals from Aquila, which also led to enquiries from other players.
The music had some beautiful moments, and we look forward to hearing Rob play more baroque music at future meetings.
Bill Samson played on his self-made replica Torres FE18, which sounded full and rounded. Sor’s beautiful studies (Op35 no 2, Op 60 numbers 4 and 5) were played very sensitively in a memorable performance. Give us an encore next time, Bill!
Stuart McLuckie was up next, with two rather contrasting pieces on his James marriage 8c lute: Tielman Susato’s “Mille Regrez”, and Carolan’s “Separation of body and soul” – an intriguing title, not quite matched but the composition itself. But Stuart, as ever, gave a good performance, never failing to entertain us with some decent lute playing.
Stuart also entertained us by getting into a fankle with his new strap:
Glo Lo gave her SLEGS debut. Despite a few nerves (not uncommon, even for seasoned performers!) Glo played beautifully and sensitively, two pieces from Fred Noad’s “Solo Guitar Playing” book: Carulli’s Andantino, and a Robert De Visée Sarabande.
Although fairly new to the classical guitar, she enjoys playing without the use of fingernails on her right hand, and on gut treble strings. She also plays at a very low pitch of C#, which sounded really full and beautiful on her Ricardo Sanchis 2A guitar from 1988. After the recitals, Glo was seen playing Bill Samson’s guitar. According to Bill, “It was great hearing her with my Torres playing a Sor study when she thought nobody was listening!” Go Glo!
Chris Jupp gave his 11c debut, after a few years of performances as a Renaissance-lute player. The Minuet, Chaconne and Aria from the Berlin MS, were performed with style and grace on his 11c Lute by Bill Samson, strung largely in gut by Damian Dlugolecki. It was great to hear Chris tackle the baroque instrument and repertoire. His right-hand placement seemed perfect, close to the bridge, which is the best way to pluck gut strings. So, more please, Chris!
Philip Lord performed on his excellent 13c lute by Michael Lowe, a Folia from the Berlin MS which Chris had just played from. Philip’s performance started a little shakily, but really developed confidence as the variations increased. It was a relatively long piece, with each variation making different demands from the performer, who did a very good job overall.
So, we heard three baroque lutes from three different luthiers, and with three different types of bass strings: gut, loaded-nylgut, and copper-wound nylon silk. Quite an education! Each string gave a different quality and timbre of sound, yet all seemed to sound appropriate for the player and the instrument.
The final performance (another SLEGS debut) was by Alex McCartney, who played Fantasias by Mudarra and Paladin. The sound from his Luke Emmet 6c lute was magnificent, really warm, rounded and loud. Alex is a front-rank player, playing extended fantasias with assurance and apparent ease. It was only just that his applause was also warm, rounded and loud! I was familiar with the Mudarra, but not at all familiar with the fantasias by Lyons-based Paladin. There was one chromatic cadence which really raised this reviewer’s eyebrows, and a slight smile from the performer. I hope Alex goes on to record a Paladin program. We were all delighted to see and hear Alex, and hope that he can make the journey from Glasgow again for future meetings. Alex has an online lute class, which comes highly recommended.
B&W photos by Rob MacKillop, colour photos and photo of Rob MacKillop, by Bill Samson.