Our Inaugural Meeting
We met Friday 30th November St. Andrews Day
For our inaugural meeting Madeline introduced us to the Scottish composer William Marshall (1748 - 1833)
He was born in Fochabers and entered the service of the Duke of Gordon at the age of twelve. James Hunter's "The Fiddle Music of Scotland" credits Marshall with writing 257 tunes.
Robert Burns called Marshall
"The first composer of Strathspeys of the age."
William Marshall was also a clockmaker, he built both a water clock and an astronomical clock and both are still in existence today.
His innate intelligence and native physical strength served him well, coupled with discipline and a curiosity for the world around him, and he strove to master the basics of astronomy,mechanics,horology, architecture and falconry,taking advantage of the opportunities for learning he found at Castle Gordon. He was a fine athlete, and applied his mechanical and intellectual skills to his hobby of clock-making, aquiring a reputation for fashioning instruments precision, three of which still survive (including a highly regarded astronomical clock).
He became a Factor to the Duke of Gordon overseeing estates in Banff and Aberdeenshire, a post he continued until 1817.
He died in 1833 and is buried in Bellie Churchyard, near his birthplace of Fochabers.
We then enjoyed listening to some of Marshall's music.
The live music was Alex playing a couple of Strathspeys, (one of them, Lady Madeline Sinclair by Marshall) to demonstrate that particularly Scottish tempo with the long dotted note. Madeline and Alex then played together a couple of slow airs (listening rather than dancing tunes) and they were Marshall’s “Mrs Hamilton of Wishaw” – to which Burns put “My love is like a red red rose” and “Miss Admiral Gordon’s Strathspey” – Burns song “O a’ the airts the wind can blaw” followed by a jig called “Miss Gordon of Park”.
Then on CD we had Douglas Lawrence on fiddle with Marshall’s music as follows (sorry about the long cumbersome titles!) “Lament for Sir Harry Lumsden of Auchindoir”, “The Duchess of Manchester’s Farewell to the Highlands of Scotland”, “Mrs Major L Stewart of the Island of Java”, the well known “Marquis of Huntly’s Farewell” and “Lady Niven Lumsden of Auchindoir”. These forelock tugging titles certainly exemplify the patronage situation but remember the Duke was supposedly very good to Marshall and they both played fiddle together.
A really excellent first get together for our Music Group.