I tried to affix this photo to my last post: for some reason Wordpress had other ideas! This hall was built, along with the main college buildings in the late 60s, and although much architecture of the era has been rightly criticized and removed, this is an elegant and pleasing building,combining an understated modernity with a human scale. The small to medium hall was designed with acoustics in mind, the polygonal shape of the ceiling and wood panelled walls seems to encourage unamplified sound to resonate in a warm and pleasant manner. This could be an excellent venue for a great range of music. Hopefully the imaginative and adventurous Cupar Arts Festival will continue to put it to good use.
It’s been a busy weekend for the music of Morris Pert, in particular his “Stones” or “Standing Stones” suite, as it is variously known. Dundee has perhaps heard more live Pert performances in recent years than anywhere on earth: it was all new however for the regulars at the Friday lunchtime concert last week. I began the recital with astrologically themed pieces by two composers who are perhaps strange bed-fellows: John Tavener’s “Zodiacs” and 4 pieces from Stockhausen’s “Tierkreis”- this latter written, I think, the year the University Chaplaincy was built. The somewhat otherworldly nature of these pieces set the tone for the Pert, who , I am told, had an air of mystery about him. The “stones” suite is inspired by 6 ancient Scottish sites from the 3rd millenium BC to the 9th century AD, from Arbroath in the East, to Calanais in the West, and Shetland to Roxburghshire. It is tempting to think that this Scotland wide piece might in some way reflect the spirit if not the matter of Morris’ projected 4th Symphony “De Situ Albanie”, of which nothing seems to survive. In any case the music was warmly received by the 60 or so people who turned out in the rain to attend.
On saturday evening I had the great pleasure of taking “Stones” south,over the RiverTay to Fife, for a performance as part of the Cupar Arts Festival, who are surely to be commended for having the vision to put this on. The theme of this year’s festival is “Fate”, and I was interested to see a number of astrologically themed items in the brochure. The hall at Elmwood College was constructed with acoustics very much in mind: special geometric patterns in the wood panelled walls and the ceiling tiles ensure a very fine sonic environment for unamplified music making.
Finally, on Sunday, the October session of the Arbroath piano club gave me the opportunity once again to play “Stones” in the ancient and numinous St Vigean’s church where I had first played it almost exactly 3 years previously at a memorial concert on the day the composer’s ashes were interred in his parents’ grave.
I can also announce another Pert date for 2014:Thursday 27th February at 12 for 12.15 til 1.00 in St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. I am particularly looking forward to playing the pan- Scottish “Stones” in a venue that is in a real sense at the spiritual and cultural centre of Scotland, being the location for Royal and national occasions aswell as numerous musical events.