Medieval Harp virtuoso Simon Chadwick needs no introduction to the Wighton audience. As Musician in Residence, harp tutor and hard working secretary he was a mainstay of Friends of Wighton for many years. Since he moved to Armagh in 2018 though we have kept in touch. He has been sorely missed, so it is a particular delight to welcome him on the 3rd.
A Chadwick recital is always a treat and an adventure. During the last year’s lockdowns, Simon has been working on old Irish harp tunes from the Bunting collection, finding unusual tunes, and unusual versions of better known tunes. He will play some of them for you on Wednesday including some with interesting connections to versions in the Wighton collection.
This is first chance for us to enjoy a performance from our own Simon Chadwick since he appeared in the BBC documentary “Scotland’s Treasures” and was nominated for the prestigious “Tutor of the Year” accolade at the Scots Trad Music Awards!
Simon will bring along the big Irish harp and will play a selection of traditional Scottish and Irish harp tunes found in the old music books from the Wighton Collection, from the baroque delights of Carolan to a West Highland pibroch.
Simon has lived in Fife for 10 years now, and quickly became involved in the Scottish traditional music scene in Dundee with the Friends of Wighton. He had been interested in historical Scottish and Irish music before then, through his archaeological work on the ancient harp traditions.
“I love the way that Scottish music is intensely community-oriented and personal, yet has a depth and sophistication rivalling anything from elsewhere.”
The concert is on Weds 1st March at 1.15 pm in the Wighton Centre, Dundee Central Library, DD1 1DB. Admission is free.
Come and have a go at playing a medieval clarsach, in Dundee’s Wighton Centre, upstairs in the Central Library.
The old Gaelic harp of Scotland and Ireland is very different and much more ancient than the modern clarsach or Celtic harp you might be more familiar with. The ancient clarsach was shared between Ireland and Scotland from medieval times down to the 18th century.
The best known examples are iconic museum exhibits: the famous Brian Boru harp displayed in Trinity College Dublin, and the beautiful Queen Mary harp in the National Museum in Edinburgh. The Brian Boru harp is shown on the Guinness label!
Historical Gaelic harps are rare, and are hardly ever heard nowadays. Simon Chadwick is a historical musician and a leading authority in the old Scottish and Irish harp traditions, and he will bring beautiful historic replicas of the ancient harps into Dundee for this come-and-try session.
Simon, an inspiring teacher, leads a regular harp class in the Wighton Centre in Dundee, and there are now spaces for new participants and harps available to rent. So come along on Saturday 10th to explore the oldest strands of Scottish and Irish music.
For the first Cappuccino concert of 2016, Simon Chadwick will be in the Wighton Centre playing a selection of historical Scottish clarsach music using the beautiful decorated replica of the medieval “Queen Mary” harp.
The event will be held in the Wighton Centre, upstairs in Dundee Central Library. Doors open at 10.30am when coffee and newspapers are served, and the music will run for an hour starting at 11am.
Simon will play a selection of tunes associated with the famous medieval harp, from medieval variation-sets traditionally associated with the Lords of the Isles, who may have commissioned the Queen Mary harp in the medieval Hebrides, through to 18th century airs once played on the Queen Mary harp by the Robertsons of Lude, when it was preserved by them at their house near Blair Atholl in Perthshire in the early 1700s.
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!
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.
On Wednesday lunchtime, historical harp specialist Simon Chadwick will present a quirky and provocative concert of “hot political tunes from three hundred years ago”. This elegant 18th century Scottish harp music addresses the pressing political issues of the early 1700s, with sweet sounds, melancholy jigs and startling anecdotes.
Simon will play the beautiful decorated replica of the medieval Scottish “Queen Mary” harp, in a free lunchtime concert in the atmospheric ambience of the Wighton Centre, upstairs in Dundee Central Library. The concert begins at 1.15pm on Wednesday 6th May and lasts about half an hour. Admission is free and all are welcome. For more info please contact https://friendsofwighton.com or call 07792 336804