Afrikaans music for choir – a first for the Woordfees
For the first time in the history of the popular Woordfees (Wordfest) of Stellenbosch University a concert featuring only Afrikaans choral music will be held. This unique performance will take place in the Endler Hall on 28 February 2010 at 16:30.
Two of the concerts in the Department of Music’s official Endler Concert Series are also included in the programme of the US Woordfees. One of these concerts is devoted exclusively to Afrikaans choral music and includes mostly new choral settings of the works of prominent Afrikaans poets.
This project, which will highlight an important aspect of Afrikaans music, is presented by the Schola Cantorum: Soloists’ Choir directed by Rudolf de Beer.
Whereas the setting of Afrikaans poetry has traditionally been in the form of the solo song with piano accompaniment (e.g. in the art songs of S. le Roux Marais, Arnold van Wyk, Hubert du Plessis, Rosa Nepgen and Pieter de Villiers), popular music in Afrikaans is currently gaining wide acceptance, even in its setting to music of texts by such prominent poets as Ingrid Jonker and Breyten Breytenbach. Because of its contemporary sound and popular appeal this music is beginning to overshadow the earlier songs with piano accompaniment in the consciousness of especially younger Afrikaans audiences. In the diverse spectrum of Afrikaans music there is one genre that has not gained the recognition it deserves, namely songs in the choral medium. While there is quite a large repertoire of Afrikaans choral music in general, most of it is either in the style of light folk song arrangements (e.g. Dirkie de Villiers, Edward Aitchison) or sacred music for church choirs (Pieter van der Westhuizen, Chris Lamprecht). By contrast, the setting to music for choir of poems by prominent Afrikaans poets has not gained much currency. However, due to its contemporary character, especially in a time of growing interest in choral music, this genre has the potential to exploit Afrikaans poetry musically in a way that has not yet been exhausted.
For this performance a programme of Afrikaans choral music was compiled that, except for two works, has not been performed before. It includes music by Arnold van Wyk, Hubert du Plessis, Hans Roosenschoon, Izak Grové and Winfried Lüdemann. Poets represented in these works are C. Louis Leipoldt, Adam Small, T.T. Cloete, Attie van der Colf and Henry Allen Fagan. Because of the technically demanding nature of most of the music it was decided to recruit the newly established Schola Cantorum: Soloists’s Choir for this performance. This chamber choir, which includes both professional and semi-professional singers, performed Vivaldi’s Gloria to wide acclaim last year. The present concert not only promises to appeal greatly to lovers of choral music but will also represent a special accent in the programme of the Woordfees as a whole.