Listening to…

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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Café Zimmermann

Located in Saint-Catherine street in Leipzig, Gottfried Zimmermann's coffee house would host weekly concerts by theCollegium Musicum back in the XVIIIth century. The ensemble, founded by Georg Philipp Telemann, and conducted by J. S. Bach between 1729 and 1739, performed secular cantatas and instrumental music for an audience of experimented music-lovers. At the time, Leipzig and the neighboring town of Dresden drew numerous musicians eager to meet the famous Cantor or participate in the rich musical life of the Saxon capital.  Hence, Zimmermann's coffee house offered a broad spectrum from the repertory : music written by Bach and his sons, by Telemann and the vituosos, also composers of the Dresden Chapel Orchestra...  It was this spirit of open-mindedness and conviviality uniting the audience, repertory and musicians wich drove Pablo Valetti and Céline Frisch to found in 1998 the Café Zimmermann Ensemble.  They assembled six musicians - five bow instruments and a harpsichord (Pablo Valetti, Nick Robinson, violin: Patricia Gagnon, alto; Petr Skalka, cello; Ludek Brany, double bass and Céline Frisch, harpsichord). Other strings or wind instruments would be added depending on the programme.  The ensemble Café Zimmermann is one of the new breed of Baroque groups offering lean, high-energy performances on historical instruments. Imagined in the Leipzig coffeehouse where Bach's Collegium Musicum instrumental ensemble might have performed in the 18th century, the one-instrument-per-part performance here is plausible, although evidence that such performances occurred in Bach's time does not indicate that such performances were desirable. Bach himself requested an orchestra of 24 players from the Leipzig city council, and a piece like the Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068, echoes French ensembles of that size.  Tempi are quick, with the suite's famous Air on a G string taken at an unusually brisk clip, but the textures remain unusually transparent, and the overall feel is lively and clear. The Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, BWV 1063, the most troublesome of the set of six with its unusual double-viola scoring, gets a rich, complex reading. Another attraction comes from the Alpha label's practice of pairing musical works with detailed art-historical essays on a painting of the period; the work by Antwerp artist Peter Jacob Horemans, though only tangentially related to Bach, is full of fascinating details such as a cup of coffee or tea being dumped into a bowl, perhaps to be given to one of the four dogs appearing in the painting. As always, buyers of Alpha's series can give themselves a decent grounding in art history at no additional cost.

Located in Saint-Catherine street in Leipzig, Gottfried Zimmermann's coffee house would host weekly concerts by theCollegium Musicum back in the XVIIIth century. The ensemble, founded by Georg Philipp Telemann, and conducted by J. S. Bach between 1729 and 1739, performed secular cantatas and instrumental music for an audience of experimented music-lovers. At the time, Leipzig and the neighboring town of Dresden drew numerous musicians eager to meet the famous Cantor or participate in the rich musical life of the Saxon capital. Hence, Zimmermann's coffee house offered a broad spectrum from the repertory...

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Recital-time in Swellendam

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An exciting programme of music to suit all tastes is in store for visitors on 22nd January at 4 p.m. in the beautiful setting of Red Roan Ranch, Hermitage, Swellendam and on 29th January also at 4 p.m. in the welcoming and intimate atmosphere of 41 Tennant Road, Barrydale. The artists who will entertain you are Brad Liebl (baritone) and Sylvia Schulman (pianist). Brad is a superb singer, master of his art. Dr. Brad Liebl (summa cum laude from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music) is an Associate Professor of Classical Voice and Co-ordinator (from 1998 to 2003) of that division...

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If memory serves…

Heritage lecture at Drostdy

As secretary of the Swellendam Heritage Association it is always with great gusto that we plan an outing or event and in some cases a talk or lecture. Naturally you worry about whether anyone in the world will actually attend the event as the market for a sheep shearing experience is presumably quite small. But time after time the numbers surprise us as it seems that there is a real interest in who we are in terms of where we have been. This time it was the turn of Dr Tertius Weich to talk about his experiences living in Swellendam since the early 50's. And he has seen a lot. From the much lamented...

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50 years ago: A Swellendam walk down memory lane

Swellendam in the 50s

The Swellendam Heritage Association is proud to announce an evening of memories and fascinating stories by Dr Ters Weich, one of it's most beloved residents. Dr Weich has lived in Swellendam since 1957 and has a wealth of information and anecdotes about our town stretching over half a century. He is a well-known and highly respected retired medical practitioner, and has the distinction of having delivered a fair proportion of present-day Swellendammers into this world. Saturday 19th November at 18h30 for 19h00 at The Drostdy Barn   Admission: Members R20 /  Non-members & Guests...

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Musical Tart: Nancy Storace

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Following on from the previous posting on 'Ch’io mi scordi di te? – Non temer, amato bene K. 505'; The opera beauty Anna Nancy Storace was born in 1765 in London to an Italian father and English mother. Like many of our past musical tarts with musical fathers, Nancy's dad wanted his children to follow in his musical footsteps and began training Nancy in singing from a young age. Nancy's talent shone and she began performing all over and even had some royal audiences. By the age of 13 she was studying opera in Italy. By the time Nancy was eighteen she was an opera star on the Vienna...

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Ch’io mi scordi di te? Grimaud does Wolfgang.

Grimaud. Heavenly

The Adagio from the Piano Concerto in A major K. 488 is one of Mozart’s most magically inspired movements and for Hélène Grimaud it is possibly the most sublime movement that he ever wrote for the keyboard: “Even if this movement were all we had, that would be enough.” It must remain an open question whether Mozart regarded the key of F sharp minor – an extremely unusual one for him – in the same way as his contemporary Daniel Schubart, who defined it as “a dark key that tears at passion as a vicious dog tears at your clothing”. But even if there is no doubt that Mozart was repeatedly...

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Howe impressed was he?

Melanie

The following report on Swellendam and Augusta de Mist appeared on today's Good Taste online magazine and was written by Graham Howe who stayed with us as while back. We asked him to please focus on the town and region as we felt that Augusta de Mist needs to be experienced as part of a bigger itinerary he really did capture that 'weekend in Swellendam' with his article. The Heart of the Overberg But there are also loads of things to do in Swellendam itself—art galleries, antique shops, pottery studios, handcraft shops and restaurants—as well as botanical gardens and historical walks....

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Chants d’Swellendam

Swelendam from AdM

We can’t stop listening to Karina Gauvin’s recording of Josephe Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne. Summer on a CD is what this is. Canteloube studied folk songs of Auvergne and reworked them into the multi-volume Chants d’Auvergne published 1923-1955. The texts are simple songs of shepherdesses, rivers, cuckoos, outsmarting a male passer-by, unrequited love and stolen kisses, but what matters more is the musicality and strangeness of the language they’re written in.  Auvergnat or Auvernhat is one of the many languages that had to die in order for the one national French language...

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Le Manege Enchante

Le Manège Enchanté

At Augusta de Mist we are in a privileged position. We get to meet people at their most relaxed while on holiday or a long weekend and, in the case of business travelers, after a long day as they unwind and enjoy dinner or a glass of wine on the stoep. As a result we frequently hear from guests who keep us up to date with their goings on and today we heard from Kevin and Debbie, the Dutch restaurateurs who got engaged at Augusta after falling under her romantic spells. Kevin writes:  'Thank you for introducing us to Stanislas Renault with the "Song le Manege". It's on the Paris CD and this...

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