Following on from our November performance at Montrose Museum, Mars in Aquarius were kindly invited back to the Royal Burgh to play at a special opening of the William Lamb Sculpture Studio, one of the most remarkable cultural sites in Angus. The studio normally opens during July and August, but the Friends of William Lamb Studio committee, of which I am a member, have decided a year round programme of events is a desirable development, so we were honoured to initiate the studio’s role as a performance venue. The experiment was successful: the venue has excellent acoustics and affords more space than I had feared for an ensemble of musicians to set up and play. The event was experimental for Mars in Aquarius too, as we tried new repertoire from our post Stockhausen phase, interspersed with solo items and poetry from the four members: again the result was successful.
It is anticipated that a programme of musical and poetry events will now follow at the Lamb Studio, aswell as art classes of various sorts.
Photos by MiA member Mandy MacDonald.
The sun was in Scorpio when Mars in Aquarius played two concerts on Thursday 12th November 2015 in the Angus coastal burghs of Arbroath and Montrose at the Library of the first and Museum of the second; indeed, the “Adoration of the Magi” by Breughel II in Arbroath Library was an early inspiration in the Tierkreis40 project and it heard its second tierkreis of the year played on the reduced forces of solo melodica and small gongs(the first public outing for this combination) – the Montrose Tierkreis being played on Casio keyboards.
It was Stockhausen’s Intuitive Music however that saw Mars in Aquarius at its best so far, and happily most of this was recorded.
The temptestuous weather possibly disuaded some from attending, however the small audiences were genuinely enthusiastic and we were offered a further engagement in Montrose, of which more anon.
My 2015 Tierkreis40 project came into its Sagittarian phase in the “Fair City” of Perth when I returned to musical activity in St John’s Kirk after a hiatus of 15 or so years with an organ and percussion recital with my Mars in Aquarius colleague Haworth Hodgkinson. Not that we have reached the end yet! On Saturday 16th January (Capricorn) we will return to St Andrew’s Cathedral in Aberdeen where the project began on 3rd January 2015 with a solo piano version.
This recital began with our organ/cowbell version of Morris Pert’s “Cul Mor” and included pieces by Eddie McGuire, Sir George Thalben-Ball, Ronald Stevenson, Jehan Alain, Jean aswell as centenary composer Humphrey Searle whose fascinating,short Toccata alla Passacaglia (one of the first, if not the very first serial organ composition by a British composer) sounded very well on this the largest of the instruments I have played this year.
This year-long performance project of Tierkreis, changing as it moves through the zodiac, and on various instruments in different parts of Scotland where Stockhausen is seldom if ever performed live, has been a deeply rewarding experience: performances will continue indefinitely after we come full circle for the first time later this month.