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.

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.