Finally, I have enough of my ducks in a row to indulge my blogging addiction. Since it was my singing the Suiderkruis Mis (Southern Cross Mass), I thought I'd celebrate by putting up a review of the show. Sadly, it's in Afrikaans, so I'll have to translate for you... Sorry if some of it comes out wonky, but the way I see it, it will be better than using Google's translator...
The Argentinians have Ramirez's Misa Criolla. Out of Kenya we have Missa Luba and then there is the lovely Misa Tango by Luis Bacalov.
And now South Africa has its own Mass - one specifically written for people living under the Southern Cross.
As in the above mentioned masses, folk tunes were incorporated into the five parts of the traditional Catholic mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus Benedictus and Agnus Dei). There are soloists, a choir and orchestra/band, and the worship of God is the main purpose.
But our own mass has something else that makes it truly special. It rocks.
The rock-element brings excitement to the Suiderkruis-mis. And not only because Francois van Coke from Fokofpolisiekar and Leroi Nel from Foto na Dans are two of the soloists.
Van Coke gets the opportunity to use his best rock-voice, and manages to move the audience when he begs for a world without hunger and homelessness and a world full of love and understanding in the Credo.
Nel's attention grabbing solo in the Benedictus was a highlight. And best of all, they're just normal people. Go listen to them when they're performing in their element and in their own genre.
It isn't actually possible to say more about one soloist than the other. They're all young, with voices that grab you and refuse to to let go. They're deeply involved with what they're singing.
Hunter's bass-baritone voice gave goose bumps from the first. Both Herbst and Van As's pure and lovely voices were a pleasant surprise.
The choir and band/orchestra buzzed with energy. Not that it could have been any different under the energetic guidance of the (barefoot) composer/conductor Strijdom.
The whole piece was a joy to listen to, from start to finish. Afrikaans, Engels, Xhosa and Latin was sung. The Latin lended something mysterious, something with the flavor of incense, light from painted glass. Then came the familiar sounds of languages heard and spoken on the street every day. This is a mass for everybody. Before the performance, there was a discussion about the piece. It was a bit too long, but insightful, especially the explanation of the different parts of and the background of the composition.
Except for wishing them congratulations, one has a few other wishes for this piece of music. Hopefully this won't be the last performance.
Also, one can hope that there's a program next time, so that one can follow the beautiful words that sometimes gets lost in all the music that's going on. Especially for the choir and Van Coke.
Finally, one must hope that there will be a CD. There is just too much that you want to listen to again and again to be satisfied with only one performance.
So yeah... sounds like all the hours I put in was more than worth it. And let me just say that I share those hopes. This composition really can go very far. Hopefully, this is only the beginning.