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Sunday, November 3, 2019


(Pamela Tancsik, Wandile Nsele, Bernard Alan-Brown, Carla Mostert, Banele Bhengu, Sarah Matter, Thembeka Zungu, Chris Fennemore & Dominique Ingala.
Photo by Val Adamson)

The ever-creative and proactive Durban Chamber Choir will be presenting two spring concerts over two weekends - in Hilton at the Church of the Ascension, Sunday November 10, and in Durban on Sunday November 17 under the baton of Dr Christopher Cockburn entitled Hail and Farewell.

Hail and Farewell translates a famous phrase from the Latin poet Catullus, ‘Ave atque vale.’ In its original context, ‘farewell’ had the greater emphasis, because the ‘hailing’ was a salutation to someone who had died. However, in the Durban Chamber Choir’s November programme the joy of meeting and the sadness of parting are equally present as the singers explore the rich variety of music that takes up these two themes.

The earliest music in the programme is the medieval chant Ave Maris Stella, one of the many hymns in praise of the Virgin Mary. The most famous of these is of course the Ave Maria, represented in this programme by the 16th-century polyphonic settings of William Byrd and Tomas Victoria. The audience will also hear the Ave Maris Stella set in the rich Romantic idiom of Edvard Grieg, and the original chant also forms the basis of a colourful contemporary organ piece, the Toccata, Fugue and Hymn by the Belgian composer Flor Peeters, played by Christopher Cockburn.

The most recent work in the programme was published only two years ago: Ave generosa by Ola Gjeilo, several of whose works have been sung by the Chamber Choir in the past few years.

Tudor composers Robert Jones and John Wilbye say their farewells to love, and music by contemporary composers Daniel Elder and Christopher Cockburn reflect on the inevitable farewell to life. The programme ends with the magnificent motet for eight-voice double choir, Hail gladdening light by the English composer, Charles Wood.

There will be two performances over two consecutive Sundays:
Church of the Ascension, Hilton: Sunday 10 November at 15h00
St Thomas Musgrave, Sunday November 17 at 15h00.

In both cases, tickets at the door: R70 admission and R40 pensioners and children. The audience is invited to join the choir after the performances for tea, cake and conversation.