I’m back – sort-of… some of me is back anyway… (rant alert, towards the end)

We played at Aardklop in Potchefstroom.

Please don’t get the wrong idea.  Aardklop isn’t all about Ghapi (though he was there too, and of course he’s a friend of ours), there was actual classical music, do you realise Potch has a very active classical student orchestra?

Well, I was contacted last-minute by the management to please jump in where another player had jumped off.  That was, where I’m concerned, great.  I was placed in the first violins, to partner with Miroslav Chakaryan – a violinist I have come to respect deeply.

The program:

There were 4 choir-only numbers before the orchestra even got to play.  Our program consisted of the following:

Haendel’s Messiah – Chorus:  Worthy is the Lamb.  It’s marked as “Larghetto” – which is supposedly fairly slow, but I went online and listened to a few renditions…  hahaha, slow!  And a part of it contains the most illogical sequence of fingering I’ve more or less encountered in baroque music, but as the “clock” from “Beauty and the Beast” [*wait for it, there’s more] said, “if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it”.  Well, seeing that I had exactly 1 week to prepare I guess I can be pardoned for writing fingerings into the music as I practiced it – yes, I practiced, you don’t go into battle unarmed….  possibly not as much as I should have, but I had no idea I’d encounter what I encountered…

The second number was a Dona Nobis by Bach…

…and Haydn’s “Creation”:  the Terzett.  What fun to play… what beautiful music!

Mozart:  Ave Verum.


Bizet (the composer of the all-time favourite opera “Carmen”) and his “L’Arlesienne” (the second suite)

and Sibelius’ “Finlandia”.

Then we also premiered a new piece by the South African Peter Klatzow.  It is called “We are the Music Makers” and I doubt you’ll find it anywhere on Youtube – it hasn’t been played before.

Finlandia, incidentally, was the “secret” national hymn of Finland when she was under Russian rule.  As though that is not hair-raising enough (gives me shivers), she’s also the declaration of independence of the resurrected JPO when the PACT orchestra was cut down by our government who felt we were too “Eurocentric”.  The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra played their first concert without a conductor, showing that the force of the musicians was enough to keep the orchestra going.  Finlandia was their opening piece, their own declaration of independence.

Here she is:

I want to write a book about how I feel about our responsibility for carrying on our culture.  Without a culture, a people are dead.  One of my colleagues mentioned the major concern that everything these days revolves around money; and if it isn’t connected to money, somehow it has no value.

People, don’t you understand that your culture is who you are?  If you lose your culture, you are nothing but slaves – slaves to the money-squitoes, the “spike”, the billionaires who have corrupted every monetary system to eventually feed into their pockets no matter what.  You will be working yourself to death, every night and every day, never stopping, always looking for more opportunity to earn more money, and they are laughing – because 90% of what you generate ends in their pockets!  Are you tired of sharing all your money with the bank yet?  The tax man at least has a noble cause, even if the execution isn’t always quite as noble.  But the banks?  In which way do they deserve a percentage of every last transaction?

People, friends, Planetmen (shucks it’s a planetary society, but so are the banks) – (see gipsika on her soap box) – please.  You need more than that.  You need to remember who you are!  You need to live for love, not only for money.  Do things that make you happy!  Retain your identity!  You need more than those basic things; you need the knowledge that is your birthright (education); and you need your own culture.

…gipsika over and out.

8 thoughts on “I’m back – sort-of… some of me is back anyway… (rant alert, towards the end)

  1. While I am all for certain culture, it has to be recognised that it evolves.
    I have no fear that classical music will disappear as it the standard by which all music is ultimately judged, whether people are aware of it or not.
    So the popular media don’t go gaga over it? Big deal. There are still hundreds of places one can listen to or watch classical music every day across the globe and musicians from all walks and disciplines are playing and producing and recording music also.

    As for money:
    People have cited the supposed ”evils” of it since grandad fell off the bus and I am sorry I just don’t buy it. It is a skewed view of capitalism.
    If one has limited financial resources a great many choices are limited.
    If one is forced to be a Charlie Bucket there is nothing heartwarming or bonding dong what one has little choice over.
    Raising standards, increasing education, and creating a population hat embraces wealth for the right reasons is the best thing anyone can do.
    No, having bucket loads won’t make you necessarily happy or a happier person, but it will offer you a lot more choice.
    Something poverty does not.

    • Thanks for the in-depth comment. 🙂

      Money itself is not evil; it’s merely a tool. One needs to recognize whose tool it is. It isn’t ours. If money is all you ever strive for, you’ll end up disappointed. And Ark, I know you’re playing devil’s advocate here because you yourself love music and are an active carrier of culture in the sense of being a writer. 😀

      Poverty is obviously not the answer either. But poverty as we know it today was created by today’s money system.

      What I’m trying to say with my soapbox comments is that we all have a responsibility of carrying our culture, additionally to what we do for a living. A privileged few are paid for carrying the culture; the rest of us still should anyway though.

      We had a pretty sweet audience, the hall was full both nights, and the first time round there was a standing ovation. Not sure whether it was for the composer Peter Klatzow who had written that final piece that we premiered, or whether it was for the young flautist who had delivered his solo in L’Arlesienne so alluringly… or whether it was for the orchestra managing to stay awake and play despite the heat!

    • I am curious, you as a child of Africa, how is Eurocentric music continuing your culture?
      Mine, perhaps.

      Of course money is ”ours”.
      It is drawn to the person/people who understands how to best utilize it, usually via the better more marketable ideas.
      Gates Branson, Jobs, etc etc.

      There has been poverty in the world since forever. It has little to do with what is happening now.

      Happy th gigs were a blast.
      What an adrenaline rush.
      Could you se yourself doing that full time?

    • Yes definitely, regardless how many books we sell.

      The “children of Africa” would certainly not agree with you that I’m a “child of Africa” even though I was born here. They have been trying to chase me “home” forever because of my under-pigmented skin and my overly long nose. “Eurocentric” is really just another term for “we hate everything the whites like to do”, and it is not in use by the cosmopolitan members of my entirely polytribal studio. Yes I get you, I started this… had to edit the blog post from a few angles because at first it didn’t actually convey what I was trying to say. Classical music has been claimed by every nation on Earth as their own. However my German/French/Dutch roots and my upbringing place me in the group that certainly has claim to the music having been composed from within their ethnicity.

      Poverty: Of course there has been poverty from the moment humans established hierarchies… but not the kind of poverty we have today, that goes along with inactivity and powerlessness. That is a product of our times and our monetary/political system (you cannot divorce those two). It used to be that people can at least source their own food. This is not the case any longer as every little bit of everywhere is “owned”. People who snare themselves a bunny to eat are now committing a crime, where they weren’t, e.g. in the middle ages. Also, as for the more marketable ideas (that don’t necessarily coincide with “better” if you look at books like 50 Shades as compared to “Almost Dead in Suburbia”), let’s not go there. Smashwords stats still show that the leading “sales” by a massive margin are always the free books.

    • ❤ 🙂 Thank you!! (Actually it seems as though they like calling me at last minute, I'm wondering if I ought to push a bit to be called a little bit earlier?) Ark, you're an awesome writer, photographer and a whole number of other things. If you could play the violin they'd probably have called you too.

  2. Just mentioning this stanza from Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s 1873 poem ‘Ode’, and thanking you for my breakfast music today.

    We are the music makers,
    And we are the dreamers of dreams,
    Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
    And sitting by desolate streams;—
    World-losers and world-forsakers,
    On whom the pale moon gleams:
    Yet we are the movers and shakers
    Of the world for ever, it seems.

    • 🙂 Yes! That’s exactly it. & you’re welcome. I’m also thankful that my hostess woke me up with music every morning – running a studio full of “squeaky violins” can put one off sound and make one forget how beautiful actual classical music is. She reminded me.

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