Page 1 - With Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald
ISSUE : Issue 46
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/8/1
With Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald (Winston, you're ii'l-'v' as a dance fiddler. But there are home party tapes with you playing slow airs, songs, and waltzes-- things we don't often hear. Would you play a slow air at a dance?) No. Intermission or something, you might. There might be 2 or 3 couples there that would like to hear a slow piece, and they come up and ask you. So you play, you don't care: let the rest of them go outside and have a drink. Dur? ing intermission you would probably play a "pastoral air," we call it. (When you were growing up, were they play? ing more pastoral airs?) No. None whatsoev? er. Only that kind of stuff that I play there--songs, old songs. (Old Irish songs, like "Rose of Tralee.") Yeah, pieces like that. There were no real pastoral airs. (Had there been, in Scottish music?) Yes, but it's a long story. They had it. Like Hector MacAndrews--he's dead now, died since I saw him (in Scot? land) . He told me that they had the same kind of music as I played for him. And he said, "We had that over here. But we lost it." He said, "Skinner"--J. Scott Skinner, the "King of Scottish music"--"J. Scott Skinner came around, and he was a classic player. So he started playing classic. He got the people interested in it, and we lost the old traditional music. And the people that left here and went over to- Cape Breton"--he called it. He said, "They still have it down there. It should be us fellows going over there showing you fel? lows how to play traditional. And it's you fellows coming over here, showing us." ging or anything. He said, "That's the nearest thing to perfection that I heard for years, because," he said, "we lost it. Haven't got it any more." That was includ? ing himself. But he's a beautiful, terri? fic, beautiful player. (How is it that you had that music? Where did you hear it to learn it?) Recordings, the only way that I got it. Until I took a 2 or 2% year of U. S. School of Music, and that got me--I wanted to be a classic, at times--that was in the '30s.. (What's a classic?) Well, Rubinoff--I played his vio? lin, too. You heard of him, I guess. And Heifetz--classic. (Classical music? What we think of as symphonies?) Yeah, well, they play symphonies, but you don't com? pare that as classic. Classic music is so? lo. The violinists get up, and the piano, and they (play) classic music, like "Souve? nirs" and all that stuff, you know. "Hiamor- esque." (Like a violin sonata.) Yeah. (That is not the kind of music that you would ever hear, growing up.) No, no. No, I didn't hear that at all. There were no radios, no television. Someone down in Cape North, where in the hell are you go? ing to hear that? White Point--worse--just as bad. There was no way of contacting the outside music at all. When I finished playing, he said, "That's My father was a violin player--not good, the best music I ever heard"--I'm not brag- but he could play for dances. And he used CAPE BRETON'S MAGAZINE, NUMBER FORTY-SIX WRECK COVE, CAPE BRETON, NOVA SCOTIA q) SECOND CLASS MAIL -- REGISTRATION NUMBER 3014 CELEBRATING OUR 15th YEAR
Cape Breton's Magazine