Stories from the Choir
Stories from the Choir
Stories from the Choir
MOZART’S REQUIEM: MUSIC FOR THE LIVING
By Nadia Essop
FC#D…AA’Bb…GDC#…C#C’B… I have listened to the opening bars of the Lacrimosa and Dies Irae countless times, wondering how it is possible to evoke an ocean of feeling with such small building blocks. I don’t know, it’s incomprehensible to me. How ironic that one can experience such depth of emotion while listening to a Requiem, a ‘song’ for the dead, written by a man on his deathbed. (But then again, I am dying too, in the way all of us are dying every moment of every day.)
Mozart. The physical form of the name itself is iconic: MOZART. There is heaviness to it, as if made of concrete or formed from marble or granite. The word is Gravitas, which the thesaurus defines as seriousness, gravity, solemnness. But a quick google search suggests the contrary, describing the genius as playful, wild, silly, tortured, troubled. Whether playful or serious, Mozart is shrouded in veils of intrigue and mystery, especially his illness and subsequent death, and the circumstances surrounding the writing of his Requiem.
but not for Mozart –
eternal light of
life’s essential light
the light of love
that lingers and lasts
GOOD GOD! ..WHAT NEXT?
After our most happy concert of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs from their shows it was so welcome and good to wedge one’s self between the sheets in anticipation of a deep and long night’s sleep. But,even in the very shutting of the eyes, not forgetting to Thank God for the gift of music and the sheer joy of the whole event.
Gee God, thanks so much for the wonderful concert and all the happiness of audience and performers throughout. And also for those superb songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein. And so I’m a really happy chappie falling to sleep tonight.
INNER VOICE: Wait a minute – Those songs you sang – Why don’t you sing them in church?
What a stupid thought! Hey God. Was that you speaking?
INNER VOICE. Yes. Why not? Just think how much I would enjoy you singing about my Creation like that in church…all about the wind and the rain and the wheat and the night hawk in Oklahoma. And while you’re singing it you could be mindful of all beauty and the glory of my Creation on your doorstep here in Fish Hoek. And, I like that tune and the vibrancy of it all. Why not?
INNER VOICE: And what about There is Nothing like a Dame? Just imagine that before your sermon on Love versus Lust? It would wake them up even before you start. Why do folk forget that humour is one of my gifts to you. Yes. I made you to sometimes laugh at serious things like Love and Lust to make you take them more seriously.
God. You must be joking.
INNER VOICE: And what about You’ll Never Walk Alone? That’s what folk need to know as they navigate all the circumstances of their daily lives. That I am with them and in them no matter what. Come on. Go for it.
God. You’re waking me up. I’m trying to get to sleep. Tell me more in the morning.
INNER VOICE: I’m nearly finished: And it was really A Nice Night for Singing. So glad you enjoyed it. Wouldn’t it be great to start a service with that number sometime? Ja. And people might even start really falling in love with me. And as you might now be getting my drift and having something to dream about: Why not end the service with Climb Every Mountain….me with you…into the new week, facing whatever may come your way and theirs. Why not??
.Gee God. You must have forgotten that I no longer have a church or a parish to run.
INNER VOICE: No I haven’t. But you can put the idea into the minds of those who still do. Now. Off to sleep you go. And thanks for the singing! I also enjoyed the concert!
7 October 2018
Reflections on this concert by choir member Harry Wiggett, August 5th 2018
As the choir and soloists sang the following words in a glorious performance of Gustav Mahler’s magnificent “Resurrection” Symphony in the refurbished City Hall last night (4th August) with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra under the inspired baton of Maestro Bernhard Geuller, I could not help but feel just how appropriate they were as so many throughout the world mourned the recent death of UCT’s Professor Bongani Mayosi:
…O Pain, thou piercer of all things!
From thee have I been wrested!
O Death! Thou masterer of all things!
Now art thou mastered!
With wings which I have won me,
In love’s fierce striving.
I shall soar upwards
To the light to which no eye has soared!
I shall die, to live!
Rise again, yea thou will rise again,
My heart, in the twinkling of an eye!
What thou hast fought for
Shall lead thee to God!
AFTER THE CONCERT – a brief reflection
Every concert performance is a unique event in the life of each performer. Alone, as a singer, one might never have made it onto any concert platform, but together with others in the same boat, as members of a choir our potential as singers can be realised. And that with huge joy and satisfaction.
However, that does not happen without training at the hands of those whose lives have been dedicated to the study and performance of music professionally. But even that study is not sufficient: there is a very real spiritual dimension too. The professional musician handles the God-given blessings of inspiration, insight, heart-understanding of the mind of composers and their compositions; and the ability to inspire others to co-operate in the performance and interpretation of the great masters’ works. Continue reading