Niel Gow’s Lament – Laura Risk with Voices of Music | Scottish fiddle tune

In this video

Niel Gow’s Lament for the Death of His Second Wife, performed by Laura Risk as part of the Voices of Music “Musical Crossroads” concert, January, 2019. One of Niel Gow’s finest compositions.
This performance echoes the portrait of Niel and his brother, Donald, by David Allan which is in the National Gallery in Scotland (go visit!).
In this painting, Niel is accompanied by his brother on the cello. Both players are using short bows of the earlier type, the violin rests on on the shoulder with no chin rest, and the cello is supported by the legs with no endpin. Both the cello and the violin are in 18th century setup which produces a more transparent sound; note the short fingerboards on both instruments. The first time ’round, the musicians play the tune with just cello and violin, as it is in the painting, on the return the full ensemble improvises an accompaniment. Because of the improvisation, each performance is unique.
Note that Niel’s portraits show a unique chin placement on the opposite bout of the fiddle–we did not try that one for the video 🙂
The painting at the National Gallery:
Voices of Music
Hanneke van Proosdij and David Tayler, directors
Laura Risk, baroque violin
Alana Youssefian, baroque violin
Peter Maund, frame drum
Hanneke van Proosdij, harpsichord
William Skeen, baroque cello
David Tayler, archlute
Niel Gow’s second wife, to whom the lament is dedicated, was Margaret Urquhart of Perth; they were married for more than thirty years.


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