It was yet another sold out event for the annual Buskaid concert at Linder Auditorium last night; which presented yet again an eclectic compilation of music; most of which has probably not been presented on South African stages before. Two pieces also featured German musician Uwe Grosser playing the chitarrone; a strange plucking instrument descendant from the lute - probably another first in South Africa.
The classical ensemble pieces included selections from Rameau's Suite from Les Indes Galantes, Vivaldi's Ercole su'l Termodonte: Simfonia and selections from Johannes Brahms' Liebeslieder Walzer. Of the three, the Vivaldi piece was the closest to a standard symphonic piece; while the others are shorter works which were often meant to be accompanied by dances (in the case of Rameau) or singing (in the case of the Brahms). Perhaps, for future concerts it would be worthwhile for Buskaid to consider such accompaniments - as it would certainly make the concerts a richer experience.
There seemed to be fewer individual pieces (i.e. featuring soloists), but they were certainly the highlights of the evening for me. Recent graduates from the Royal Academy of Music in London - Kabelo Monnathabe and Tiisetso Mashishi played the first two solo pieces - Nigel Hess' Theme from Ladies in Lavendar (from movie of the same name) and John Woolrich's Ulysses Awakes. Of these two, Ulysses Awakes was the surprising piece - a very somber moving piece for the viola.
The highlight piece was certainly Simiso Radebe (also a current student at the Royal Academy of Music) performing Jenő Hubay's Hejre Kati. In previous concerts, Simiso has often performed the virtuoso violin pieces, and this concert was no difference - this was the flashy piece, showcasing a wide range of what the violin can perform, and Simiso delivered a brilliant performance.
As per other Buskaid performances, the concert ended with a selection of kwela pieces; after a vocal solo piece - Hoagy Carmichael's Lazybones. The kwela pieces were new arrangements, and both the vocal pieces and the kwela pieces differentiate the Buskaid concerts from run of the mill classical concerts with more energy and fun - for both the performers and the audience.
It was once again, a brilliant Buskaid concert and a great showcase of musical talent. Buskaid is a great initiative that deserves more support and has the potential to be a cultural institution for South Africa.