Some personal reflections on the performance of Rossini”s MESSE SOLENNELLE in St. John”s Church, Wynberg on Sunday 15th June 2014
Basking in post-concert euphoria, it seems appropriate to pen some personal response to the performance of this work that was so enthusiastically embraced and received by an almost full house in St. John”s Church on the past Sunday evening.
The solo parts were wonderfully rendered by four youthful singers – Nomsa Mpofu (soprano), Bongiwe Nakani (mezzo-soprano). Willem Bester (tenor), and Martin Mkhize (bass) – brilliantly accompanied by organist Erik Dippenaar and concert pianist Albert Combrink. Along with these dedicated musicians, our conductor Alexander Fokkkens led the Symphony Choir of Cape Town with throrough sensitivity through the hour and twenty minutes of Rossini”s score in a performance infused with his own dynamic spirituality. Continue reading
FROM THE BASS LINE
A personal reflection on the performance
of Joseph Haydn”s NELSON MASS
in St George”s Cathedral at 8.00p.m.
on 17th October 2014
Soloists: Goitsemang Lehobye, Teresa de Wit;
Khanyiso Gwenxane; Siyabulela Ntale
The Symphony Choir of Cape Town
Conductor: Alexander Fokkens
The penny only dropped on the very morning of the concert when, in a moment of leisure, I Googled the Haydn Nelson Mass simply so that, even at that late stage of preparation, I could immerse myself as far as possible in the spirit and occasion of its composition.
In doing so I suddenly became aware of the fact that the original title given by Haydn to this work was not the “NELSON” Mass but the “MISSA IN ANGUSTIIS” – Mass for troubled times.
It would be difficult to describe just how this surprise insight affected me throughout the evening”s performance. The moment conductor Alexander stepped onto the podium I sensed deepdown within me that he would bring this Mass to life in a way that would reveal just how awesomely relevant both titles were to our present times in South Africa.
With the agitation of the opening bars I became mindful of the privilege I had of ministering to political prisoners both on Robben Island in the 1960″s and later in Pollsmoor Prison in the 1980″s during the turbulent days of the apartheid regime.
With the burst of the powerful opening Kyrie eleison I instantly felt the music transporting me casino pa natet to the presence of Nelson Mandela in prison, and how, over the years of his time in prison, the very structure and substance of the Christian Liturgical Mass would fashion his growth towards the statesman the whole nation – and, indeed, the world – came to love and revere. Continue reading
Mozart Requiem at Bishop’s Chapel, March 5th 2016
Verdi Requiem at Jameson Hall, UCT, October 2015 – “Libera Me”
Carmina Burana at Kirstenbosch March 2014
“Blanziflor et Helena” and the final “O Fortuna”
The Last Night of the Proms 2014 – Overview, interviews and clips
The Last Night of the Proms March 2014
Land of Hope and Glory
The Last Night of the Proms March 2014
Hector the Hero
The Last Night of the Proms 2014
Gabriel”s Oboe from the movie, “The Mission”
DREAMS COME TRUE
On Sunday, 19th May – the Feast of Pentecost – the day of our final rehearsal before the performance of the Beethoven Symphony No.9 (the Choral) – I heard these words read in St. Margaret”s Church, Fish Hoek where Jean (my wife) and I worship:
“…and your old men shall dream dreams…”(Acts 2.17)
But, its not only old men who dream dreams, it is also young men who dream them! And one of my dreams of some sixty years ago (which has been a recurring dream through the course of these past sixty years) was to sing in a performance of the Beethoven 9th Symphony. Continue reading
From Hip Hop to Hosanna
Within the past eight days Jean (my wife) and I have had the privilege of experiencing two events which have had a refreshingly profound effect on us, and for me have enhanced my understanding of the word “church”!
The first was on Sunday 16 June when we spent ten hours – from 8.00a.m. to 6.00p.m.- in the Good Hope Centre, Cape Town, attending a national Hip-Hop Competition in which our two Johannesburg granddaughters were participating. Continue reading