Listening to…

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...

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Our water in Germany

Recent guest Marion sent us these candid pics of Suurbraak, our guys repairing our wall and most importantly, a bottle of Augusta de Mist Pure Swellendam Water, which made it very safely back to Germany. We love hearing from guests and getting images which they took while staying with us.  

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Fascinating Rhythm

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Undoubtedly in a critical minority, Gershwin is seen as one of the great Modern composers – certainly one of the greatest American composers. He's had a tough road to critical acceptance. You can spread the condescension toward him from the serious writers thick on a bagel. Other than a prejudice toward pop styles and pop acceptance, its hard to see why they take the attitude. A few heavyweights (Copland, Thomson, and Bernstein) and a whole bunch of lightweights blackball him from the True Composing Fraternity. But we can say this: no music like Gershwin's existed before him, and no music in his style...

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Nice weather for Spring

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Recently I was enthralled with yet another Rite (Esa-Pekka Salonen: Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra). Fine as that is, Andrew Litton's new one with Bergen Orchestra is unmistakeably better. For one thing, it is coupled with Petrushka, one of the other GREAT Stravinsky works and Litton paces each of the tableaus with a much surer sense of the drama and poetry within. It's not simply that he takes faster tempos in Tableau One (for example), it's that he uses them to jam together the disparate materials in it, approximating the cinematic quick-cuts and grotesque contrasts that Stravinsky surely...

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Heart of the Matter

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Somehow Augusta attracts just the nicest people. Take this week as an example: it was a quiet day with only one check-in expected. Also, fairly grey being at the onset of winter, but as soon as David and Ruth Aird checked in, they brought with them a sense of warmth and light. The highlight of their stay was to have them for dinner in the African Kitchen and they both delighted in the goodies which we brought for them! This week we made a REAL breyani, the royal kind with sultanas, almonds and saffron milk. They loved it. And we loved having them. To make things even more special was when...

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Ladies who Lunch

Classic Retreat lunch May 2012

We are extremely fortunate to be the Swellendam member of Classic Retreat, which with Classic Representation makes up the much admired Classic Portfolio. Other clients include the Singita collection, The Alphen, Delaire Graff, Le Quartier Francais, Kurland, Makweti, Mount Camdeboo, Prana and the Islands of Siankaba. As part of their post-Indaba road trip they spent some time with us here in Swellendam and we treated them to lunch at Augusta's African Kitchen. Here is the team, with Michel, enjoying their bobotie and sharing some information on the 2012 Indaba, with the eye on the next season.

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Found Art

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Anyone who has been to Augusta here in Swellendam will know that there are several fragments of old ceramics and dish ware and also old glass on display in the garden, casually placed on large rocks or between plants. These are always discovered by accident as you do some scratching in the dirt. Pieces will adhere to a certain pattern and colourway, indicating that at some point, the lady of the house ditched a set or two. We have started putting a set (or two) of shards away to be framed by our favorite framer in Riebeek Kasteel, who will be tasked with the project to mount the pieces in a wild...

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Rihm at 60

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Wolfgang Rihm is a most prolific composer and upon arrival in Karlsruhe, when hailing a taxi and giving the address the driver once knew immediately that it was the home of Professor Rihm. "We pick him up all the time. He doesn't drive, so he knows us all pretty well. He's a really nice guy." Rihm belongs to Karlsruhe. He was born and raised here, he sang in the city's choirs, played the church organs, and now teaches at the conservatoire. The flat where he lives is a stone's throw from his first family home. Since he composed his St Luke Passion for Stuttgart 10 years ago, choral works...

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Barrydale Cellars does it again

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We discovered this little gem a few days ago, an answer to our prayers if you will, because just last week I made a mental note that we need to get grappa urgently as my last drop of Dalla Cia Grappa was finally had. Enter the team at Barrydale Cellars Building on the Klein Karoo's legendary distilling prowess, Barrydale Cellars launches Joseph Barry Husk Spirit, a welcome addition to the region's rich bounty. “Husk spirit – or grappa as it’s known in Italy - is gaining ground world-wide as a trendy lifestyle drink,” says Riaan Marais, CEO of Southern Cape Vineyards. “That’s...

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Canadian Bach

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Thanks to their abundant tunefulness, exuberance and virtuosity,Bach’s concertos for solo keyboard and string orchestra remain widely popular with audiences and performers. Written originally for harpsichord, they are performed today equally often on modern piano. From 1729 to 1741, Bach was director of the Collegium musicum in Leipzig, a student musical society, founded by Georg Philipp Telemann in 1703 and run before Bach by Balthasar Schott. The Collegium musicum often gave performances at Zimmermann's coffee-house. It was for these occasions that Bach produced his harpsichord...

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