M is away this weekend, and for various other reasons; I only got round to buying Buskaid tickets yesterday morning. While it was not a full house, there were very few seats left. And once again Buskaid put on a stunning show - with quite a lot of variances from previous years in its pop/kwela arrangements. As is almost traditional, the concert began with Chaconne from Rameau's opera Dardanus. I am not much of a fan of Rameau, so I will move along.
I recall in my first Buskaid concert, a young boy whose violin seemed to be bigger than him. Mzwandile Twala has now grown up; and was the first featured soloist playing Angela Morley's Reverie. It's a peaceful, contemplative piece for the violin; and a great introduction to Ralph Vaughn Williams' stunning "The Lark Ascending" performed with great virtuosity by Kabelo Monnathebe. It is certainly one of the great Buskaid performances; and my favourite performance of the evening. It's a piece I have heard before on radio; and clearly showcased how much more in depth a live performance can be. Due to some rather loud coughing in the audience, some parts of it was replayed after the interval - and I wished that it was performed in its entirity! Before the interval though, harpist Jude van der Wat made a reappearance with the Buskaid, this time performing Debussy's Danse sacrée et danse profane - a great showcase for both the harp and the orchestra.
After the interval, Buskaid performed the full Holberg Suite. I like the fact that Buskaid has, in the recent past, performed full pieces instead of just excerpts. After the re-recording of a few excerpts for The Lark Ascending, the rest of the concert featured more contemporary music including the kwela arrangements. This part of the concert has been revitalised with newer arrangements - and as always led me to think, that the Buskaid could easily partner with contemporary South African musicians and singers to widen their appeal (and resulting financial well being).