As followers of my Facebook page will be aware (at least those who watch my posts), the weekend before last I was in Aberdeen to further raise Morris-Pert-consciousness by delivering a brief paper on his life and work at Musica Scotica 2014, held in the MacRobert building in the University area of Old Aberdeen. This entailed attending a number of fascinating talks given by experts in their fields on a wide range of subjects in the Scottish musical sphere- mainly in the areas of traditional music/ethnography, classical music, ecclesiastical music and academic methodology- although I didn’t actually hear that fearful word spoken: my Morris talk was the only one to touch on the area of pop/jazz/rock! I won’t enter into the invidious territory of saying which talks were best, but I genuinely found all those I attended (there were so many papers that a number had to be given simultaneously) to be of significant interest indeed.Of the actual performances during the weekend, two made a particularly vivid impression: those of a new edition of the McGibbon sonatas(perhaps because I’m aiming to play some McGibbon myself next month) and fiddle playing by the excellent Angus Grant- a totally unexpected pleasure: I’ve known his “Fiddle Pibroch” album for about quarter of a century, and was so impressed with his natural and authoritative playing that the fact he was playing left handed didn’t dawn on me until pointed out by Graham Hair!
I only had a half hour slot, and being blissfully ignorant of “powerpoint” and all its works, I illustrated my discourse with a few short examples of Morris’ music on the large Steinway piano in the room. Somehow I managed to cover most of the ground I had aimed for, and the gospel of Morris was apparently keenly received by those present, many of whom were previously unaware of him, others knowing very little. Happily, one of the audience, the composer Richard McGregor had performed the piano solo version of Morris’ Luminos around 40 years earlier in a recital in Liverpool: I had been looking at the review of this event the night before. I noted at the beginning of my talk that I was speaking on the eve of the 4th anniversary of Morris’ death- I view the fact that this event, and the beginning of my recording for a Pert CD took place in Easter Week as hopeful for the future of Morris’ music.