Report of 28th Meeting: 8th December, 2018

A well-attended meeting, save for the first ever absence of Bill Samson, who was scheduled to present a talk about his memories of the early days of the Lute Society in the UK. That talk has been postponed until the next meeting. In the meantime, we wish Bill a quick recovery from the flu bug that has him in its grip!

New face to the society, Joanna Allsop performed from 58 Easy Pieces (a Lute Society publication) “The Old Man” and a Buffins, on a lute made by her old man, with the CD-Rom by David Van Edwards. It was immediately clear that, although a beginner lute player, Joanna is an experienced musician – violin and school teaching. Once she gets her lute kitted out with the correct strings, I’m sure she’ll be giving us all a run for our money before long. I look forward to her subsequent visits. Welcome aboard, Joanna!

Chris Jupp followed with his Bill Samson-made 4c guitar, which has a very projecting quality. Chris stood with a strap, and played selections from Christopher Page’s “Guitar In Tudor England” book: 2 variations on a Passey Measure (originally from the Osborne Commonplace Book); “To my pains and boredom”, and a branle de poictou, both by Le Roy from mid-16th-century France. I’m happy to report that the rhythmical articulation by Chris was excellent, just how these pieces should be performed. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the guitar at all, as it was completely obscured by a rather large music stand. Let’s see the instrument next time, Chris!

SLEGS stalwart, Stuart McLuckie, came an other good rhythmical interpretation of some French music, this time a tourdion on his 8c lute. This was an unusual piece, which I for one wouldn’t mind hearing again. Good stuff, Stuart!

Another new face, this one going by the name of Andrew Atkinson, made the trip from Newcastle, to share his 1930s and 40s Gibson archtop guitars. It was fascinating to hear and play these historical instruments, one with parallel bracing, the other with X bracing, and the sound difference was appreciated.

Rob MacKillop, who rarely seems to play the same instrument twice in a row at SLEGS, entertained with some 19th-century Russian guitar music, on a decidedly 21st-century guitar by local Russian luthier, Roman Kuznetsov. The Russian guitar is tuned DGBdgbd’, and Rob’s enthusiasm for it has resulted in a dedicated website, constructed within three weeks of getting hold of a 7-string Russian guitar: Rob played “As from Beyond a Forest” by Andrei Sychra, the patriarch of the Russian guitar. It’s a beautiful piece, which the audience appreciated. Roman pulled out a six-string guitar in Russian style, but tuned with EADGBE strings, upon which Rob played Tárrega’s “Lagrima”.

Here is a video Rob made a week before, of the same piece by Sychra:

Guest of honour (for the third time) was Jelma van Amersfoort from Amsterdam, who brought with her a beautiful reconstruction of a rare six-course guitar by Pages, made by Sebastian Nunez of Utrecht. Such guitars form the link between the five-course baroque guitar and the six single strings of the classical guitar. There is not exactly a mountain of surviving repertoire, but what does survive is often worth hearing, and Jelma played …..

It is always great to hear Jelma perform, and we are so pleased she travels from the Netherlands to play for us. The repertoire was fascinating, especially the “El Laberinto ó Circulo Armonico (Harmonic Labyrinth) by Fernando Ferandiere, which almost defies analysis. There followed the Fandango by Mathias Jose Maestro, a semi-improvised dance piece from Peru, and the Folias by Salvador Castro – friend, compatriot and publisher of Fernando Sor – which was brilliantly played by Jelma.

Jelma was joined by Rob for the final two pieces, Duo 3 by Ferandiere, which was played with aplomb. Great stuff!

There followed a scrum, as people got their hands on various instruments. At one point Rob was seen singing Saint James’ Infirmary Blues, while strumming on a 1930s Gibson archtop, while Chris wailed a few blues licks. Guitarists!

Thanks to Glo for the foties.








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