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VOICES OF AFRICA.
Roelof TEMMINGH (b. 1946)
- Himne
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
- Psalm 100 (Jauchzet dem Herrn alle Welt)
Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) -
Os Justi - Psalm 36, 30-31
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) -
Pater Noster
Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) -
Magnificat
Lars JANSSON (b. 1951)
- To the Mothers of Brazil - arr. Gunnar ERIKSSON (1936)
Veljo TORMIS (b. 1930)
- Raua Needmine - (Curse upon Iron)
Sven-Eric JOHANSON (1919-1997)
- Dilemma
Thomas JENNEFELT (b. 1954)
- Villarosa sarialdi
Niel van der WATT (b. 1962)
- I am the Voice of Africa - text: Lindsey Reyburn
Jaakko MÄNTYJÄRVI
- Pseudo-Yoik
Deep River (Spiritual) - arr. Anders PAULSSON
William Spevery - Operator - arr. Niel van der WATT
Soloists: Werner Badenhorst, Pieter Odendaal, Marko Fourie, Christo Burger, Brandon Hill
Hannie van Zyl (piano) tr.1, Marc Botha (sax) tr.6, Barend Stapelberg (percussion)
University of Pretoria Camerata/Johann van der Sandt.
Recorded: Musaion of the University of Pretoria and St Alban's Cathedral, Pretoria, October 1999 and October 2000. Full price
GUILD GMCD 7246
[72.52]

The Guild label has steadily built up an enviable reputation among specialist collectors in the fields of cathedral choral music, organ recitals and what it describes as 'exclusive chamber music'. More recently its 'Historical' bargain label has gained prominence with well received issues of Toscanini Concerts and Wagner opera performances from the New York 'Met', both deriving from NBC network broadcasts in the 1930s and 1940s. With this issue Guild cast their choral performance net even wider and present a highly eclectic programme from a group that displays individuality and character.

The University of Pretoria Camerata, a mixed sex choir comprising sixty-five students, was established in 1968. It aims to contribute towards the cultural development of the student body, provide a community focus for choral singing and act as ambassadors for the University. It has travelled widely, won international prizes and takes as its motto Cantate coribus, Cantate oribus, Cantate moribus. (Sing with the heart, sing with the mouth, sing with life.) This wide-ranging programme features works from the traditional European choral repertoire as well as that by contemporary composers such as the Estonians, Pärt and Tormis as well as others. It also offers insights into composition in South Africa.

I found tr.6, The Mothers of Brazil, an arrangement by Gunnar Eriksson of a piece by the jazz pianist Lars Jansson, with saxophone accompaniment, particularly attractive. The choir in their part-singing, with 'sotto voce' effects, give a varied, even contrapuntal variation; most appealing. Immediately following (tr.7) Curse Upon Iron, with its percussion beat, echoed in the voices, was contrasting and exciting. The final track (13) also with saxophone, is very 'jazz'-related and is equally appealing particularly as the Camerata find an ample range of vocal expression as they fully enjoy the rhythm. The mélange of compositional styles and vocal challenges make this CD a very different listen to many theme discs that hit the shelves these days. It is all the better for the challenge to the listener to really listen and not let the beauty and skill of the performers pass by. The deeper one listens the more one is aware of the skill of the conductor in keeping them together and bringing out so much variety of expression and nuance from the choir: they are set well back in a resonant acoustic with plenty of 'air' allowing for clarity and a wide dynamic.

The booklet has translations of the words in English. There are informative notes on the compositions in English, Afrikaans and French. Applause at the end of a couple of tracks is the only indication that at least part of this recording was made at a live event.

Robert J Farr


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