It was very satisfying to return to Aberdeen ‘s “Cathedral at Noon” series a couple of weeks ago at the Episcopal Cathedral in King Street. I’ve played over a dozen programmes at that venue: after an absence of 2 1/2 years I decided to open my programme with music by Aberdonian composer John MacLeod. I first heard his Three Interludes from Another Time, Another Place at the Sound festival over a decade ago and first played them myself earlier this year in the composer’s presence.
Another new work for me this year has been “Nine Decades” by Eddie McGuire – written in honour of his composition teacher James Iliff whose 1 966 Note Piece I played next as a preface to my fourth performance this year of Eddie’s fascinating piece – happily the composer was in the audience.
Also present was the composer of the last work, Joe Stollery. “Stone Fragments” is part of his Masters portfolio: each of the five varied movements takes as its stimulus s different symbol from the Pictish standing stones situated around NE Scotland . The Dionysian finale “The Pictish Beast” is quite a handful, but brings everything to a suitable conclusion. I aim to repeat this work at least once more in 2019.
It was particularly fortunate to have veteran critic Alan Cooper in the audience. While The Glasgow Herald no longer seems interested in events in the North East, he kindly sent performer and composers copies of his attentive review.