Report of 24th Meeting: 9 December, 2017

Bill Samson chaired the meeting, in Rob MacKillop’s absence, with Philip Lord taking photos and dealing with administrative matters.

First to play was Bill Samson, playing his tiny mandore (mandour, mandurgen, pandurina . . .).  After briefly introducing the instrument and speculating on its use Bill played a Courante and ‘Pantalon’ (a.k.a. The Buffens, Bergamesca . . .) both from the Ulm mandore manuscript.  He finished the set with his own arrangement of ‘Patientia’ – a courante/air and double which appears in several sources.  Panmure 5 was the source that Bill used for his arrangement.  One source names the composer as Gaultier, but there were several Gaultiers.  It was perhaps Jacques Gaultier (a.k.a. ‘English’ Gaultier)

David Bateman (baroque guitar) and Oreste de Tomasso (bass viol) played a lovely Adagio from a suite by Nathaniel Diesel.

Yasuhiro Nakamura brought his French Theorbe de Pieces – a small theorbo in D – and played a stylish Prelude and Allemande by Robert de Visee, with characteristic grace.  It was a real treat to hear the sound of the small theorbo.

Philip Lord brought along a 19th century guitar that he had been given at the age of 20.  It is labelled ‘Keith Prowse’.   In style it is similar to the work of Louis Panormo – also working in London at that time.  It has an unusual scalloped fingerboard and machine heads.  Inside the case were a number of documents, including a receipt for ships’ instruments to a Captain Millman dated 1837.  Intriguingly there was part of a string packet with the address 122 Nethergate, Dundee.  That was the premises occupied by Methven Simpson’s music shop until 1909.  The instrument has recently been extensively restored and repaired.

Chris Jupp played Philip’s guitar – a Minuet and Waltz by Fernando Sor.  This is just the kind of music that the guitar was made for.  It has an excellent sound.

Gloria Lo spoke about Sor and his music and played two Sor studies – Opus 60 nos. 5&6, and Opus 31 no.2 –  and one by Carcassi – Opus 60 No.3 – which she played with great sensitivity on her gut-strung guitar.

Stuart McLuckie played his 8-course lute by James Marriage – ‘Chelsea Reach’ from the Playford book and two pieces by Marco d’Aquila.

Oreste de Tomasso played his baroque cello for us.  It is a 5-string instrument which has an 18th century back and sides and the soundboard of a more recent cello.  He explained the different construction features compared with a modern cello and the various tunings that were used in the time of J.S. Bach.  He played Minuets 1 and 2 from the Suite number 1 in G major, by Bach.

Oreste answered questions about early bowed instruments – particularly the viol and the cello as well as the smaller violoncello da spalla which is played rather like a viola, under the chin.

The meeting continued with chat and discussion.

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