Yesterday I had the first recording session for my projected CD of Morris Pert piano music in St Vigean’s parish church on the outskirts of Morris’ native Arbroath. In the photo above, Auchenblae based Rawr Audio’s Allen&Heath mixing desk sitting in the north aisle, and in the background, the Bluthner piano in the body of the Kirk. There are now versions of “Moon Dances” and the “Stones”Suite in the can: “Voyage in Space” to follow. I’ll say more when the project is further progressed.
Seeing it’s about a year since this blog began, it’s appropriate I should write another entry: it’s been an awkward year so far dealing with a number of viruses and a chronic family illness situation, however: c’est la vie. It looks like I might shortly have time to catch up on various things I had said I would do- not least writing on this blog.
A different order of writing commands my attention at the moment: a week tomorrow I’m giving a paper on Morris Pert at the Musica Scotica 2014 conference in Aberdeen. It’s only a 20 minute slot, but it should draw some serious attention to a composer who is not only absent from Grove (must get round to that) but was also ignored in the first edition of John Purser’s Scotland’s Music (he receives a review of 1 or 2 of the Chantry LPs: no overall estimation).
Pictured above is the numinous St Vigean’s Church, Arbroath where some readers may have heard me perform with soprano Chloe Foston a concert of Morris’ music
on the October 2010 day his ashes were interred in the family plot. It was also for over 1000 years the location of the famous Drosten Stone, now in the nearby museum. Very suitably, it will be the location for a CD of Morris’ piano music which I intend to start recording next week. Last week I had a very profitable meeting with Geoff Sharp of Rawr Audio from Auchenblae: it will be good to finally progress with this project.
I’m presently also making plans to return to Dundee Science Festival with Morris’ music, this time with 2 events- in Dundee and Arbroath. These will include space themed poetry by Arbroath resident Jim Stewart. Jim is no stranger to musical collaboration: last year he wrote the libretto for a mini opera by Dunkeld resident composer Graham Robb which was performed in New York. “Flora and the Prince”, as the title suggests, is about Flora MacDonald and the Young Pretender.
I had been considering taking Morris’ music down south again this year, but have concluded that against the uncertain and often highly emotional background of the September referendum, it could be counterproductive. Morris’ music addresses deeper matters than politics. The Yesmen seem to think they serve Scotland’s cause: in my experience they are holding it back. However, more on this in future posts, as previously promised. I’ll also say more about other upcoming events such as another organ version of Stockhausen’s Tierkreis at Dundee WestFest in June.