This year, Dundee WestFest was of reduced dimensions- effectively a weekend rather than a whole week. Once again, I am grateful to the festival for having the vision to mount my event, this time a full length organ recital. The programme consisted of 5 “sets” : firstly, pieces of Soviet era organ music by Shostakovich (passacaglia) and two of his pupils: Boris Tishchenko (2 of his “Inventions”) and Alfred Schnittke (2 satellite pieces to his “Faust”). Next, some “historic” pieces- a fantasia by Pachelbel, one of the 14th century Estampies from the Robertsbridge codex and 2 Trumpet Tunes by Purcell. The First half concluded with 2 pieces by contemporary Edinburgh composers: In Orbit II by Michael Bonaventure(I’d noticed the organ in the West Church could match the registration requirements of the score, in particular a very quiet dulciana on the Choir); and “Pipedream” by Iain Matheson, who happily was present in the audience.After the interval, during which the audience could attend the Roseangle Arts cafe downstairs in the kirk,1970s 12 tone composition informed the next set: the shortest organ symphony in the repertoire- Jean Langlais’ Deuxieme Symphonie “Alla Webern” preceeded another complete outing for Stockhausen’s “Tierkreis”, this time beginning with Aries. The final section was Bach-centred; one of the Schumann fugues on BACH preceded my first public performance of the ubiquitous Toccata in Dminor BWV 565…somehow I feel that numerous performances of the Bach/Brahms Chaconne in the same key has helped me decide how I want to play this enigmatic piece.
Arbroath piano club meets monthly between September and May and provides an opportunity for pianists of all standards to play on the Bluthner piano in St Vigean’s church. On Sunday 1st June, opening this year’s Music in St Vigean’s series, the Club presented a varied concert to an appreciative audience. In a programme consisting of pieces by Bach, Schubert, Prokofiev and Einaudi,among others, my short contribution consisted of Takemitsu’s Rain Tree Sketch II and Skryabin’s Deux Morceaux Op.57. I am scheduled to play for the club again in October.
A slightly belated report: on the evening of Saturday 24th May, I had the pleasure of returning to Edinburgh Society of Musicians to play a programme focussing on Morris Pert: doubly satisfying in that the original date for this in February had to be cancelled for health reasons. Indeed, a shadow threatened to overshadow this performance, when a slight hand strain required the omission of one item, but in the event, all went well. The actual Pert compositions were: another outing for Moon Dances, the Stones Suite and the Mountains Suite, which I hadn’t played for a couple of years.And, in addition to zodiac pieces by John Tavener and Stockhausen, I played three of the Pert Project Pieces: Michael Bonaventure’s Green Odyssey, which sounded very well on the new Steinway B piano, Iain Matheson’s ( who was present)Drosten and the world premiere of Richard McGregor’s Post Luminos: the genesis of this piece is partially explained in the previous post(after my invite in Aberdeen to write a piece for the Project, Richard had begun writing within hours). Happily, the audience included the other pianist to have performed Morris’ “Luminos” (pf solo version)back in the 70s: it was interesting to discover in the interval that he had premiered John White ‘s 1st piano sonata back in the 50s. It was pleasing to play to such a receptive audience.