Henry Lebedinsky: Wighton Harpsichord concert

When a renowned American early music specialist says he is coming to town and would like to play your harpsichord what can you do but add an extra Cappuccino Concert to your programme?

Henry Lebedinsky last played at the Wighton Heritage Centre in October 2010 while on his honeymoon!  His return visit is on Saturday 15th October, from 11am to noon, when his programme will include17th and 18th century works by Élisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Giovanni Battista Draghi and Elizabeth Turner.

Hailed by The Miami Herald for his “superb continuo… brilliantly improvised and ornamented,” Henry Lebedinsky performs as a historical keyboardist and Irish traditional guitarist across the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition to performing, Mr. Lebedinsky has taught masterclasses and workshops on historical performance practice at the University of Edinburgh, and many American institutions. He is also an avid composer of music for choir and organ. He currently lives in the Seattle, Washington area.

The venue for the concert will be the lovely Wighton Centre, upstairs in Dundee Central Library. This airy space houses the internationally important Wighton Collection of old Scottish music books: over 700 volumes from the 17th, 18th and 19th century.

The Wighton Harpsichord is a French double-manual instrument after the C18 maker Nicholas Blanchet. It was built by Mark Stevenson, Cambridge 1983 for Annette Heilbron (1928 – 2011), of the Helicon Ensemble and founder member of the National Early Music Association.

The concert will be at 11am on Saturday 15th October. Coffee and newspapers will be available from 10.30am. Admission will be £5.

 Henry Lebedinsky at his last concert playing the Wighton Harpsichord in Dundee in 2010

Wighton Centre open days

The Friends of Wighton group will welcome the Scottish Traditional Music Awards to Dundee by inviting visiting and local music lovers to take a close-up look at the fascinating Wighton Collection and enjoy a live music sessionat the same time.

The Centre will be open from 2pm to 5pm on Friday 4th December and from 10am -12.15pm on Saturday 5th December. Books will be on display and Wighton tutors and committee members will be there to sing, play and answer questions!

The Wighton Heritage Centre was opened on 24th November 2003. Located upstairs in Dundee Central Library, it provides a dedicated space for the storage and display of the internationally important Wighton Collection. 700 volumes of old Scottish music were collected together in the early 19th century by Dundee merchant Andrew Wighton, and were bequeathed to the city after his death. 

The Wighton books with other donations and acquisitions, are now kept in glass-fronted bookcases in the Wighton Centre. The Centre also acts as a bright, atmospheric performance and study centre, allowing scholars to access the riches of the collection, and providing a lovely performance space for music and other events.

As well as a monthly Cappuccino Concert, and a free Wednesday lunchtime recital every month, the Friends of Wighton run classes in traditional Scottish music every week: Scots song, Gaelic song, fiddle, whistle and clarsach (Scottish harp).

The Friends also work towards the conservation and cataloguing of the collection of books, and have made some important acquisitions to add to the collection.  They are currently fundraising to conserve rare music books from the collection of Sir Jimmy Shand and visitors will be able to contribute.  Jimmy’s musical taste was exemplary, as shown by the lovely 18th and 19th century manuscripts in his collection.  Rumour has it that one or two of the Shand books, currently not on public display, might make an appearance at the Open Days!

Recording in the Wighton Centre

Last Monday, the Wighton Centre was turned into a recording studio by recording enginner Bob Turner, to record some tracks for the forthcoming limited edition CD produced by the Friends of WIghton as part of the fundraising for the Sir Jimmy Shand Collection.

Tracks were recorded from Mark Spalding playing a Ronald Stevenson composition on the harpsichord, the Wighton Singers, Ellie McDonald reading poetry, Simon Chadwick playing the replica Queen Mary harp, and Morag Anne Elder on the fiddle with Katie playing cello.

At least two of the tracks are the first ever recordings (the harpsichord and harp track). Other tracks are being recorded at Gardyne Studios, and also some tracks will be donated by other artists from their published CDs.

If you missed claiming the CD as a perk on our Indiegogo crowdfunding last month, you will still be able to buy your copy when the strictly limited edition is released.

Illustrated talk on the Sir Jimmy Shand Collection

There will be a unique aspect to the Cappuccino Concert in the Wighton Heritage Centre, Central Library, Dundee on Saturday 19th September.

The distinguished Scottish music expert Dr KAREN McAULAY, Music and Academic Services Librarian at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD), will give an musically illustrated talk on the Centre’s recently acquired Sir Jimmy Shand Collection of 18th and 19th century music books.

Karen is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, and is in demand to talk not only about Scottish music history but also about library and research skills.  She’s also a practising musician, as a church organist and music arranger.  With the help of the Wighton’s harpsichord, she will explore the musical treasures contained in these volumes and some of the rarer and most interesting volumes will be on display.

Karen’s visit comes at a key moment.   The Friends of Wighton members are raising funds to have the Shand Collection conserved so that it can be on permanent display and available for use by musicians, singers, scholars and community group.  A crowdfunder for The Sir Jimmy Shand Connection has topped £1100 with some weeks still to run.  Contributions from the great man’s admirers have come from across the UK as well as Europe and the USA!

“We’re delighted with the success of the crowdfunder so far,” said Sheena Wellington, Friends of Wighton Honorary Librarian, “but we still have a target to reach and there are still lots of special thank you gifts waiting!”    ‘Perks’ for those donating online include limited edition CDs, signed prints, etchings, specially composed tunes, house concerts and the opportunity to be entered into a founder’s book to be kept in the Wighton Centre.

To find out more visit http://igg.me/at/jimmyshand

Pert, Stockhausen, McGuire & Bartok in the Wighton Centre

This morning, Mark Spalding presented his diverse and fascinating programme of 20th century keyboard music for this year’s first Friends of Wighton cappuccino concert. To a full audience, Mark presented a selection of compositions played on no fewer than five keyboards – the electric piano, two electronic keyboards, melodica, and the lovely Wighton harpsichord.

Mark was joined by Haworth Hodgkinson who provided improvised percussion responses to each of the 12 sections of the Stockhausen “Tierkreis” (signs of the zodiac) cycle. The alternation of the very quick, complex, almost mechanistic keyboard sections, each played on a different instrument, with the very free and impressionistic and very loud gong percussion interludes, was really striking, and helped very much this music to become intelligible and accessible to all present. I think quite a few people were very surprised to hear the atonal Stockhausen music played on the harpsichord!

Howarth also performed two lively and thoughtful pieces of his own poetry with instrumental accompaniment, one played on a giant bass recorder and one played on a gas bottle.

In his concise but useful spoken introductions to each work, Mark made a number of interesting connections with Dundee for many of the pieces. The suite by Morris Pert which opened the programme was very well played, and it was a great pleasure to have the composer Eddie McGuire present for Mark’s playing of a couple of his piano and organ works.

Wighton harpsichord & piano concert in Dundee

On Saturday 24th January, the first in this year’s series of Cappuccino Concerts will be held in the Wighton Centre, upstairs in Dundee Central Library.

These popular Saturday morning events are held every month, with coffee and newspapers served from 10.30am and the music performance from 11am to noon. Admission is £5.

For January, the Friends of Wighton are pleased to welcome back Mark Spalding, who will perform a programme of unusual and exciting music on the piano and also on the Wighton harpsichord – a delicious 18th-century style instrument that is kept in the Wighton centre.

The programme will include some Burns night themed music by Eddie McGuire, as well as showcasing some items from Mark’s latest project to mark the 40th anniversary of Stockhausen’s “Tierkreis” (signs of the zodiac).

Mark said: “This is Stockhausen’s most popular and accessible piece: very tuneful, each of the 12 melodies has a definite tonal centre”.

Mark will also be joined by composer Haworth Hodgkinson, who will perform some of his own compositions as well as providing percussion for Mark’s Stockhausen performance.

Mark’s playing on the beautiful harpsichord is sensitive and expressive and is always a hit with Wighton Centre regulars. This unusual programme of piano and harpsichord music should prove to be a very enjoyable morning!

Gordon Penman and Isobel Luke


Here is a photo of today’s lunchtime concert by Gordon Penman and Isobel Luke. Gordon played his 19th century Scottish fiddle, made by the Montrose and Aberdeen violin maker David Young, while Isobel played the Wighton Centre’s lovely French style harpsichord, for a programme of Scottish baroque music including compositions by James Oswald and General John Reid.

Ancient and Modern Keyboard music from Angus


The Friends of Wighton’s monthly Wednesday Lunchtime concert in Dundee will be on Wednesday 2nd March 2011, at 1.15pm. The venue is the Wighton Heritage Centre, upstairs in Dundee Central Library. Admission is free.

The programme has a local theme, with Mark Spalding playing keyboard music both ancient and modern. He will perform 17th century harpsichord music from the Panmure manuscripts, unique collections of Scottish music preserved for generations at Panmure House, near Carnoustie, Angus. The manuscripts are a rare survival of Scottish art music of this early date, and include music by the Scottish composer, William Kinloch.

Mark will also play modern piano music composed by the recently deceased Arbroath born composer Morris Pert (1947-2010). Morris Pert was born in Arbroath, Scotland in 1947. He graduated B.Mus. from Edinburgh University in 1969, and went on to study composition and percussion at the Royal Academy in London, where he was a pupil of Alan Bush. He has written three symphonies.

The Wighton Centre, upstairs in Dundee’s Wellgate library, is a beautiful performance and study space, built to house the Wighton Collection: an internationally important collection of over 700 old books of Scottish music. The collection of rare antique volumes was assembled by Dundee Merchant Andrew Wighton, and donated by him to the City after he died in 1866. The centre is also home to a very fine French two-manual harpsichord, which will be used for Wednesday’s recital.

For more information please visit http://www.friendsofwighton.com
or phone 07792 336804
Morris Pert’s website is at http://www.morrispert.com

The attached photograph shows Mark Spalding at the Wighton Harpsichord, at a recent recital in the Wighton Centre as part of Dundee Keyboard Festival.