AFTER THE CONCERT – a brief reflection
Every concert performance is a unique event in the life of each performer. Alone, as a singer, one might never have made
it onto any concert platform, but together with others in the same boat, as members of a choir our potential as singers can be realised. And that with huge joy and satisfaction.
However, that does not happen without training at the hands of those whose lives have been dedicated to the study and performance of music professionally. But even that study is not sufficient: there is a very real spiritual dimension too. The professional musician handles the God-given blessings of inspiration, insight, heart-understanding of the mind of composers and their compositions; and the ability to inspire others to co-operate in the performance and interpretation of the great masters’ works.
And so a reflection on last evening’s concert in the Bishops Chapel – I admit to being on cloud nine after this wonderful concert at which the orchestra performed Mozart’s Haffner Symphony, and the Symphony Choir – along with soloists and orchestra – Beethoven’s C Major Mass under the conductorship of Alexander Fokkens – the choir’s director. What captivated my immediate attention was Alexander’s choice to conduct both works without using the traditional conductor’s baton. There might be nothing new in doing that, but what was unique, as I experienced it, was the amazing use he made of all ten fingers! There was a dynamic aliveness radiating from the subtlety of both wrists to the very tip of every finger communicating deep inner sensitivities and understanding of the music. There was an aliveness in the way he used his hands to embrace and hold and lead all these diverse musical forces under his control – orchestra, soloists, choir – resulting in performances that were totally captivating and imbued with a tangible spiritual integrity.
Alexander would be the very first to acknowledge that he could only achieve the results he does with the Symphony Choir because of our superb rehearsal accompanist – his wonderful wife Margaret Foxcroft, and, from time to time, in his absence, our talented and enthusiastic assistant conductor – Levi Alexander. I feel confident that all members of the choir feel as I do – that it is a privilege to be singing under Alexander’s leadership. And we do so with gratitude. And also we are grateful to share in the joy of singing along with glorious soloists and orcherstra musicians – many of whom are well known and loved by Cape Town’s concert- going community.
HARRY WIGGETT – from the bassline- 26 June 2016