Saturday, 3 July 2010

Ron Gonnella: Scottish Violin Music (1966)

Ron Gonnella: Scottish Violin Music (Scots Disc SDL-001, 1966)

I don't know as much as I'd like about the late Ron Gonnella. He taught at Morrison's Academy in Crieff, Perthshire, but I haven't met anyone who knew him. What little I know is here is gleaned from record sleeves.

Ron Gonnella's great grandfather was a Robert Dewar from Perthshire, who was a shepherd near Tulliemet in Perthshire. Gonnella was from Dundee originally, and played in the Scottish Dance Band circuit with the bands of Jim Johnstone and Anrew Rankine. He had his own band for a while - featuring Iain MacPhail on accordion - but it was as a solo artist that he toured all over the world promoting Scots fiddle music. He recorded many albums (I have twelve different records) and I think this one was his first solo recording.

The instrument Gonella played was a 1722 Italian violin made by Carlo Antonio Tanegia. I have been told that after his death there were a number of fiddlers desperate to try it to achieve the same wonderful tone that Gonella produced; in the end it turned out to be a mediocre fiddle, and it was the musician who was special, not the instrument.

01) The Braes o' Auchtertyre (Crockat)/The Miller o' Dervil (Barnett)/Jamie Shearer (Duncan)
02) Hard Is My Fate/Mrs Greig's Strathspey/The Perth Assembly (Duncan)
03) Miss Graham of Inchbrakie (Nath Gow)/Glen Rinnes (D Grant)/Loch Leven Castle
04) The Fallen Chief (J Scott Skinner)
05) Scott Skinner's Compliments to Dr MacDonald (J Scott Skinner)/J F MacKenzie, Stornoway (Ross)/Bleaton Gardens
06) Cluny Castle (Troup)/The Duke of Montrose/The Duke of Montrose
07) The House of Skene (Davie)/Kilwinning Archers/Pretty Peggy
08) Niel Gow's Lament for James Moray of Abercairney (Niel Gow)/The Weavers of Newly/The Flowers of Edinburgh
09) The Rover (J Scott Skinner)
10) The Highland Society of Scotland/Lady Madeline Sinclair/The High Road to Linton
11) Coilsfield House (Nath Gow)
12) The Fallen Hero (Nath Gow)
13) The 'Bonnie Ann' (J Scott Skinner)/Mrs Reid of Kilcalmkill (D Grant)/ The Earl of Seafield (D Grant)

Ron Gonnella (fiddle),
Robert Campbell (piano)

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