About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

30 January 2015

Mass and Requiem

The program for this year's Johannesburg International Mozart Festival is the most interesting and varied since I have been going to them. One of the problems however, is that there is so much choice - that you can only really afford the time and money to go to a few of them.

This year's opening concert, on Mozart's birthday on Tuesday, featured his last work, the unfinished Requiem, together with South African composer (and the festival's composer in residence), Peter Klatzow's Mass for Choir, Horn, Marimba and Strings.

M doesn't agree, but my reaction to Peter Klatzow's Mass, was that it was quite "New Agey", something out of fantasy movies - and would fit perfectly in the Lord of the Rings (or similar). It is fun, it is light, and very enjoyable. 

Mozart's Requiem is a long piece and very well known. But the performance by the Chanticleer Singers and the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra was equal to the task, and thoroughly deserved the standing ovation. It is off course more traditional, when compared to the preceding Mass, but it also has a sense of gravitas that the Mass didn't. 

As an opening concert, it was a great  start to the festival.

26 January 2015

Origins Centre

I have been wanting to go to the Origins Centre at WITS for a number of years, but for some reason or another, never got round to it. Last year, I discovered that they have free entrance (for South African ID holders) on Sundays ... except they were already closed for December holidays! The entrance includes the audio guide, narated by Gcina Mhlope - a treat on its own!

The entrance itself is a bit hidden - strange given its prominence as a tourist destination - especially as the entrance hall is part of the Archeology department. The cafe and shop were closed, so it was a bit deserted this past Sunday.

The initial presentation on the development of stone tools, and progression of why humans actually originated in Africa was interesting and a great display of concepts, in quite well defined sections. This section ends with a video, on tracing the roots of all humanity to single source within Africa - and the view that the San are the closest in terms of genetic proximity to the original sources.

This understandably leads to a very interesting section on the San - through rock paintings, their spiritual world and a brilliant potrait towards the end on various topics related to the San-Colonial engagements, including their forgotten genocide and near extermination.

The last section, focused on a small history on migration of other groups into South Africa is quite underwhelming taking acount of the previous two sections. What was also missing for me - was a more detailed look at migration of humans to other parts of the world - and the demise of other related species - such as the neanderthals. 

All said, it was a facinating way to spend 2 hours on a Sunday.