Listening to…

Queen of Carthage

Sir_Nathaniel_Dance-Holland_-_The_Meeting_of_Dido_and_Aeneas_-_Google_Art_Project

Just because its winter here in Swellendam and therefore very romantic with gusty windy  and shards of dappled light, it feels like the perfect time for a little baroque levity with a dollop of tragedy at the end to break your heart. Dido & Aeneas an opera in a prologue and three acts, written by the English Baroque composer Henry Purcell with a libretto by Nahum Tate Le Concert d'Astrée & Emmanuelle Haïm, harpsichord and director Despite its brevity, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas holds many charms for audience and performers alike, so it's no wonder that there has recently...

Read more...

Violons du Roy

front cover

When we think of 18th century piano concertos, we usually think of Mozart. But it takes only a few seconds of listening to the opening track on Marc-André Hamelin’s lastest album to realise that Joseph Haydn also left a memorable and much-loved handful. Three of his concertos are even more compelling than usual, thanks to Hamelin’s beguiling playing. Released  by Hyperion, Hamelin’s latest installment in a planned journey through all of Haydn’s keyboard music is a must-have disc — for the connoisseur as well as a person who might be curious about listening to some classical music. Haydn...

Read more...

Cape Classic is Bach in Swellendam

js-bach-funny-face

In 2014 Cape Classic is celebrating a special birthday: its tenth anniversary! The festival is starting in Cape Town on 12 February and will end in Swellendam on 22 February. Enthusiasm for South Africa and a love for classical music have been the main motivations for Gabi Zahn’s vision to create Cape Classic, a festival which supports charitable projects of the Cape region through “The Magic of Music”.  In the eighties Gabi Zahn lived in South Africa for four years with her husband and her four children. In Germany, where she lives now, she worked as a journalist specialising in cultural...

Read more...

Transfigured Night

Dokumentation-zu-Schubert--Streichquintett--und-Schoenberg--Verklaerte-Nacht

Verklärte Nacht is possibly one of our favourite pieces of music ever. It was controversial when it was premiered in 1902. This was due to the highly advanced harmonic idiom as well as, perhaps, Dehmel's explicit references to sexual themes in the poem. The work does indeed employ a richly chromatic language and often ventures far from the home key, though the work is clearly rooted in D minor. A particular point of controversy was the use of a single 'nonexistent' (that is, uncategorized and therefore unpermitted) inverted ninth chord, which resulted in its rejection by the Vienna Music...

Read more...

Get a Handel on it

0027b8c4

Solo recitals of arias from Handel operas and oratorios are common, so it's a pleasure to hear an album devoted to his duets, particularly when they're performed as well as they are here by soprano Rosemary Joshua and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly. Both have had diverse careers, but are known especially for their Baroque roles. Their voices are especially well-matched in weight, and their blend is beautifully warm, but they are each distinctive enough that they retain a strong vocal identity even when singing in close harmony. They are absolutely secure technically, and handle even the most...

Read more...

We will BaRoque you

Swellendam-House-Concert-2013

Celebrate the arrival of Spring with the inaugural Swellendam House Concerts: BAROQUE SPRING at Schoone Oordt on September 1 at 17.30. Tickets cost - R130 pp,and that includes a glass of wine and canapé.  Only 60 seats are available - get your tickets now by contacting us directly. This special event is the first and we are grateful that the artists are donating their time and talents to a charitable cause. Guesthouse accommodation is sponsored by Aan de Oewer, Augusta de Mist and De Companjie, while Schoone Oordt is donating the performance space, which is one of the finest spaces...

Read more...

Summertime…in Vein

It's a sure sign of the changing seasons when the strains of Summertime sound a little more melancholy than usual and you wistfully think of days past. AND if the strains are from the new interpretation of Porgy and Bess by Swiss jazz trio, Vein, you are in for a truly languid afternoon. VEIN trio are twin brothers Michael Arbenz (piano), Florian Arbenz (drums) and Thomas Lahms (bass).  The cd of Gershwin's famous opera puts an original spin on some of the tunes. I got plenty o' nuttin' strides nicely on the fast piano bass-lines. I loves you Porgy is lush and delicate as it's supposed to. Summertime...

Read more...

Heaven on a CD

Harmonia Mundi has long been our go-to label when we want to get a nice new take on well-known repertoire on indeed, discover something new and very fresh. So it comes as no surprise that when Harmonia Mundi releases a new disc on the jazz label, JazzVillage, we also sit up, take note and listen. This project creates an exciting new bridge between Western classical music and African-American music. With his band of virtuosos, Raphaël Imbert weaves together the common themes in the worlds of Ellington and Mozart. Making each echo to the other's sound, he conjoins them in a musical marriage...

Read more...

Slave to Love

The punchy beginning to Bryan Ferry’s Jazz Age inspired instrumental album articulates from the outset that this is an album to take notice of. To celebrate Ferry’s 40 years as both an artist and as the creator of Roxy Music, Ferry has re-recorded much of his own work in the style iconic to the roaring '20s. And its a great addition to the range of tunes that we play at Augusta de Mist. There are no surprises in this album. Ferry has not set out to shock, or even indeed surprise. It is a nostalgia trip, right from the upbeat opening track Do The Strand down to the seductively lazy closing...

Read more...

Seonae Music & Food

Swellendam has the pleasure of hosting a traditional Korean Music Performance on Saturday 24 November at the at Seonae Eco Centre right here in the centre of Swellendam.This is the second performance of the group, the previous performance having take place 3 weeks ago at the Seonae Eco Village just outside town, which was a splendid success. The musicians are leaving South Africa in a couple of weeks on a tour of Morocco and then on to Europe. We are lucky to have them with us for yet another performance! The Seonae Eco Village is an amazing concept and is the place where we get our very...

Read more...