national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, October 1, 2012


Review of the concert at the 2012 Witness Hilton Art Festival by Keith Millar

The Songbirds concert was another offering from the Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival Concert Series, and it proved to be an excellent dessert to go along with Sunday lunch at the Hilton Art Festival. And there certainly were some delectable musical treats on offer.

The concert featured Cape Town based soprano, Beverley Chait, Sabine Baird, the principal flautist for the KZNPO and Christopher Duigan himself on piano. All the music they performed was based on birds, birdsong and nature, and this was in keeping with Musical Revivals “green” theme chosen for the festival.

The first item on the menu was by Jules Mouquet featuring Sabine Baird on the flute. Her playing was articulate and inspired, as was Christopher Duigan’s accompaniment. They were then joined on stage by Beverley Chait.  She is a slightly-built lady with a voice of considerable power and tonal quality. Together they performed Camille Sant Saens’s Une Flute Invisible (The Invisible Flute) which is a misnomer because Sabine’s flawless playing was apparent throughout the item.

This was followed by a solo piano piece, Vogel Als Prophet by Robert Schumann, and a solo flute composition from Debussy entitled Syrinx. Music from Leo Delibes about a nightingale was next and then Olivier Messiaen’s The Black Bird.

Beverley Chait sang unaccompanied a traditional song called Ve’ulai. This for me was the highlight of the concert as Beverley’s rich and powerful soprano voice reverberated around the Hilton Chapel.

The concert was rounded off with performances of music from Ravel and Cecile Chaminade, the latter being an arrangement by Christopher Dugan.

There was a disappointingly small audience at this concert, but this in no way detracted from the enjoyment and enthusiastic reaction from those who did attend. – Keith Millar