On May 26th 2019, The Symphony Choir of Cape Town takes you on a very special journey to the Americas.

Misa Criolla is a 16 minutes Spanish Mass composed by Ariel Ramirez in 1964, and based on Argentinian folk genres and indigenous rhythms. It is “widely regarded as a stunning artistic achievement” according to The Wahington Post. Recordings of the work, featuring Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and other famous soloists, have sold millions of copies.

Ramirez was inspired to compose a “spiritual piece” after meeting a group of German women who had risked their lives taking food to Nazi prisoners during World War II. The first public performance of Misa Criolla was before Pope Paul VI in 1967; 50 years later, it was performed in St Peter’s Basilica at the invitation of Pope Francis. It is one of the first masses not in Latin permitted by the Vatican Council.

For this performance in the Bishop’s Chapel, the Symphony Choir will be accompanied by a percussion ensemble and marimba.

Moving into North America, the other piece being performed is Frostiana,a suite of seven choral works by Randall Thompson, set to the poetry of his good friend Robert Frost. Beginning with the beautiful and haunting “The Road Not Taken”, Frostiana moves through “The Pasture”, “Come In”, “The Telephone”, “A Girl’s Garden”, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “Choose Something Like a Star”. (In the last listen out for the sopranos’ sustained high D – a musical metaphor evoking the reassuring star of the title.)

Frost heard the piece for the first time at its premiere – apparently he was so delighted that at the end he stood and shouted, ‘Sing that again!” He felt strongly that only Thompson could do his work justice and forbade all other composers from setting his work to music – a dictate his estate continued to enforce until the text entered the public domain in January 2019.

While the original was performed to piano accompaniment, Thompson orchestrated the suite after Frost’s death, and a chamber ensemble will accompany the SCCT for this performance.

Soloists are Given Nkosi and Willem Bester

Ticket sales are via Quicket and at the door. Seating is UNRESERVED

Verdi Requiem – Deon Irish

Concert heralds choirs’ turn-around

CHORAL CONCERT, Thursday October 7 2010, City Hall; Verdi: Messa da Requiem; soloists Hanli Stapela, Elizabeth Frandsen, Matthew Overmeyer, Monde Masimini; Philharmonia Choir, Symphony Choir and CPO conducted by Victor Yampolsky.

DEON IRISH reviews

SOME of the most exciting concerts I attended at the City Hall in the 1970s and 1980s were choral: vivid presentations by both the CTSO”s Symphony Choir and the Philhar­monia choir, each having well over a 100 singers. They included memo­rable performances of works as diverse as Dvorak”s Requiem, Orff”s Carmina Burana and Britten”s War Requiem. And, of course, the CTSO”s final concert before its mid-year break, traditionally concluding with the Beethoven Choral Symphony.

Both choirs fell on difficult times in the past decade, so it is very grat­ifying to record an increasingly apparent turn-around in their for­tunes and some headway made on what we must hope will be a return to former glories. Continue reading

Verdi Requiem – Carl Fourie


I thoroughly enjoyed Thursday evening’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem. Combining the two choirs was a good idea, not just because of its obvious dramatic import, but it was actually vital in passages like Dies Irae, with its descending inner voices. Each choir on its own would not have enough of especially tenors.

A powerful vocal contrast was set up between the dulcet  opening Requiem Aeternam, and the thundering Dies Irae: well done!

The counterpoint in Sanctus was effective, with entries clearly accented. However, the opening two entries felt as if they were pulling against the time, and not quite in step with the orchestra.

The a capella sections in the final Libera Me were very beautiful, and exhibited a beautiful balance between the various choral voices. . It was obvious that the choirs were aware of the resulting harmonies, as their voices blended naturally and plaintively. Continue reading

Verdi Requiem – October 2010 by Harry Wiggett

VERDI REQIEM…..October 2010

I am perpetually fascinated and amazed at the experience of life being like a jig-saw puzzle with pieces being fitted into place each day, adding to the wonder and colourfulness of the whole picture as it builds with purposefulness towards an eventual completion.

The Cape Town Symphony and Philharmonia Choirs joint venture in the performances of the Verdi Reqiem proved to add specially lovely pieces to mine and Jean”s joint and individual puzzles:

For over 50 years now Jean and I have derived immense pleasure from attending orchestral rehearsals and concerts in the City Hall. And so it was with a sense of deep gratitude that we were able to sing together for the first time on the City Hall stage with the orchestra under Maestro Victor Yampolsky. Continue reading

Verdi Requiem- October 2010 by Ugo Rivera


Twice in the last few years our choir has sung major requiems very soon after the deaths of significant persons in my life.  We sang the Mozart requiem under the baton of Richard Cock just a few weeks after the death of my father and now we sang Verdi’s one quite soon after my mother-in- law’s death.  So I started thinking about the concept of requiems in general. Continue reading

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