Comment by Rob MacKillop on May 10, 2019 at 15:32

Joel, even if we find a quotation from Cammeyer saying, "The only way to play this piece is by sticking to a thudding downbeat all the way through, no rubato, no 'interpretive' breathing, no fancy stuff!" I would still reserve the right to do whatever I damn well please with it :-) It's his fault for letting it out into the public domain. 

This brings up the bigger question over historical accuracy versus personal interpretation, something I'm very familiar with having played Early Music for thirty years or so. These days folks in that sphere do not use the word "authenticity", but do refer to HIP - historically-informed performance, meaning you absorb all you can about the time and place, but still express yourself honestly. As you can imagine, arguments rage and heads roll. I hope we don't go there. 

The bottom line is, I have my own voice, take it or leave it. :-)

Comment by Joel Hooks on May 10, 2019 at 16:19

Dude, reread my post.  I was clear the any interpretation is a correct interpretation.  You have no enemies here. Please realize that I support any way  you or anyone wants to play any music, it is all good.

I was just curious if someone had a historical reference.  What we do with that info matters not other than to discuss. 

Comment by Rob MacKillop on May 10, 2019 at 17:56

Oh, I know that, Joel. I was in agreement with you, but maybe talking to someone else. I entirely agree with you. Sorry if my mini rant made you think otherwise. We're good. 

Comment by Rob MacKillop on May 10, 2019 at 18:27

Richard, the Home page says you just added two comments to this thread, but I can't see them. Did you take them off? Or did a gremlin gobble them up?

Comment by Trapdoor2 on May 10, 2019 at 18:34

"As long as the performer plays with conviction, I'll accept most things."

I probably would be convicted of crimes against music if I played it...

I was alluding to how our tastes change for a given piece when I said Lillywhite probably had more time with it than you. I certainly wander about in the woods a lot over time with a given piece. Even over the semester's string-orchestra work, we will often find a different route, a different interpretation before the recital comes off.

I absolutely prefer the romantic style stretch-and-shrink impression over the computer's perfection. I've been asking the guys over at Musescore to come up with a 'rubato' button for some time... ;-)

Comment by Richard William Ineson on May 10, 2019 at 18:36

I don't think that you will find any reference to Cammeyer or his music in the pages of B. M.G. Essex and Cammeyer parted on very bad terms in 1900, and Cammeyer was not mentioned in the pages of B.M.G. until his death in 1949, by which time Essex was also dead. I think that it would be mistake to play the CD No.1 at a strict tempo, I feel that Cammeyer intended this piece to be played with a very free interpretation of tempo and expression, Derek Lillywhite's performance of this piece is very likely based on how Bernard Sheaff (Cammeyer's one time duet partner) played it and is probably as close to how Cammeyer played it as we are likely to hear now. The only living person who might have heard Cammeyer or Sheaff play this piece is Alan Middleton who was a pupil of Sheaff's and played quite a few Cammeyer compositions when i last heard him, which is a few years ago now. I don't think hat I ever heard Alan play the Cornish Dances which is not to say that he never did. Paul Whyman made a fine recording (on a cassette) of this piece with Ian Fretwell playing the piano accompaniment,  some years ago, I will probably still have a copy in the archives. As regards the 'Hawaiinisation' of the last chords, this was something that Cammeyer often did and was approved of by ZB enthusiasts, at the time.

Comment by Rob MacKillop on May 10, 2019 at 19:11

"Stretch and Shrink method" - ha, I like that!

Fretwell on piano? With a name like that he should have been on the banjo...

Comment by carrie horgan on May 11, 2019 at 7:25

I love the warm sound you are getting from the Zither.  It's great to hear actual compositions for the zither banjo played on the instrument (unlike youtube renditions of 'Cripple Creek'!).  

You are right about the 'bitter blood' between Cammeyer and Clifford Essex - there is a funny piece in the BMG 1972 (08) which gives an account of 'Cam' on stage (apparently he was extremely fussy about the position of his chair) but also mentions that Clifford Essex would place 'cod' adverts in the BMG such as 'FOR SALE: cheap Cammeyer zither-banjo; seller has bought a CE Clipper. No reasonable offer refused.'  Ouch.

Comment by Rob MacKillop on May 11, 2019 at 7:55

Haha. Those guys. All too human.

Thanks, Carrie. It was depressing trying to to find well-recorded and appropriate-repertoire videos for the zb, as you say. Jody has a couple which are excellent, and David Wade has a couple, but that's about it. So, you and I have to get to work! I hope you like the Houghton. In my limited experience they are very sensitive instruments, and it might take you a little while to get it set up properly. Good luck with it. I'm excited for you!

Comment by carrie horgan on May 11, 2019 at 8:06

Yes, I am picking it up on Tuesday - however, I won't really be able to set-it up properly until the following week.  I imagine it will take some tinkering!

I have been listening to 'Black-tie Banjo At Home' - it has eight Cammeyer pieces including a lovely piece called 'Serenade'.  Geoff Freed plays a Vega whyte ladie banjo rather than a zither banjo but still sounds nice.  Will you be making another recording, Rob?  

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