With winter fast approaching, the autumn classical music scene is also coming to a close and we will have the last concert in the CPO Autumn series this coming Thursday night. The season has been a resounding success with sold-out houses for almost all the concerts. The performances of Alexander Ramm (Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations), Nikita Boriso-Glebsky (Vieuxtemps 4th Violin Concerto) and Melvyn Tan (Mendelssohn 1st Piano Concerto) were all memorable and the orchestra under Conrad van Alphen and Arjan Tien played to their usual very high standard. The final concert with Bryan Wallick playing the Prokofiev 2nd Piano Concerto promises to be of the same high calibre. Booking for the Winter season with, amongst other Peter Martens (Dvorak Cello Concerto) and Erik Dippenaar (Saint-Saens Third Symphony – the Organ), has already opened and you are encouraged to get your seats early for these wonderful concerts.
The Friends of Orchestral Music has also been busy and its Late-Autumn Soirée at Old Mutual House on Saturday, 14 May 2016 was sensational. For the first time FOM had the privilege of 13 musicians performing in a concert which consisted of Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” scored for 6 celli, Rachmaninoff’s Sonata for Cello and Piano and Mendelssohn’s magnificent Octet. The players were Peter Martens, Eddie McLean, Marian Lewin, Dane Coetzee, Barbara Kennedy and Cheryl de Havilland (Vocalise), Peter Martens and Bryan Wallick (Sonata for Cello and Piano) and David Juritz, Suzanne Martens, Jana Khweis Thomas, Matthew Stead (Violins), Karin Gaertner and Emile de Roubaix (Violas) and Peter Martens and Dane Coetzee (celli). The artists really excelled themselves and guests in the packed Old Mutual House venue were treated to music of the highest calibre. FOM is extremely grateful to all the artists for agreeing to participate in this delightful evening of wonderfully romantic chamber music. The light post-concert supper was superb and the FOM guests enjoyed excellent cuisine prepared by the chef Jacques Swanepoel. Our sincere thanks go to Alma Swanepoel for all the arrangements at Old Mutual House, Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos for sponsoring the piano, La Lude Estate in Franschhoek for the fabulous Baccarat wines and ReMax for sponsoring the production of the very handsome programme. My thanks also to all the members of the FOM Committee for helping to make the concert such a great success.
One of the lessons that is evident from this event is that if you do not book early, the chances of securing a seat at this annual evening is highly unlikely. The concert itself was overbooked by some 18 persons with a waiting list of more than twenty hopeful concertgoers. While we would have loved to accommodate everyone, the space at Old Mutual House limits us as far as numbers are concerned. It is such a delightful venue that we are reluctant to seek a larger home for our annual soirée. We are, however, constantly on the look-out for new venues and hope that we will soon be able to offer more
17 May 2016 soirées for our members. I shall keep you informed of our successes (hopefully there will be no failures) in this regard.
Future Events in 2016
The FOM calendar for the rest of the year contains out annual quiz at the Glen Country Club which has been scheduled for Monday, 15 August 2016 and the FOM Gala Concert at the City Hall on Thursday, 3 November 2016. We are also trying to slot in a soirée at a new venue and with an exciting soloist and a vibrant programme. I shall however keep you posted in this regard.
Just a note on the quiz. It has for many years been held at the Glen Country Club. It may well be that the quiz this year is the last one we will be able to hold at this venue since the property has controversially been approved for development and if and when construction proceeds, we will have to seek a new venue. Unfortunately, this is the price we have to pay for what some people call “progress”.
FOM is delighted that for its Gala Concert on 3 November, we have been able to engage the brilliant and exciting piano virtuoso and Conductor Laureate of the London Mozart Players, British pianist Howard Shelley. Howard Shelley is not only recognised as a consummate musician, but he has done much to revive the very many almost forgotten romantic piano concertos of amongst others Moscheles, Herz, Hiller, Kalkbrenner and many others. Without his active promotion of near-forgotten works, the classical music repertoire would have been much poorer. It will be an occasion not to be missed. As pianist, conductor and recording artist Howard Shelley has enjoyed a distinguished career since his highly acclaimed London debut in 1971, performing with renowned orchestras around the world. He has recorded some 150 albums, all highly acclaimed and has appeared in several television documentaries, including Mother Goose, a documentary on Ravel which won a Gold Medal at the New York Festivals Awards.
He has toured to Australia for thirty consecutive years, performing now as both conductor and soloist with the Melbourne Symphony, Adelaide Symphony and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra—with the latter he has recorded many albums for Hyperion’s Romantic Piano series. Much of his current work is now in this combined role with major chamber orchestras.
Howard Shelley will be both soloist and conductor at the FOM Gala and the All-Mozart programme will feature Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 in D, K.385, the “Haffner” and the Piano Concerto No. 18 in B- flat, K.456, “Paradis” and the Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K.466. Booking for the concert will open in August 2016 and I shall announce the exact date in a future newsletter.
FOM tax matters
We have also been very actively pursuing the registration of FOM with SARS as a tax exempt entity and our auditors are in the process of preparing all the necessary documentation in this regard. You will know that the changes to the Constitution that were required for this take place were ratified unanimously at a special general meeting of FOM earlier this year. Unfortunately, this process is a rather lengthy one and it is only after that process has been concluded that we shall be able seek to register FOM as a Public Benefit Organisation and provide our donors with tax certificates. I know that there are a number of members who regularly enquire re the tax status. I very much appreciate your patience in this regard and especially your continued financial donations to enable us to continue with our mandate in pursuit of maintaining classical music in Cape Town.
Members will be aware that we have started with a drive to secure old instruments which we then have restored and provide to underprivileged students to pursue their music studies. To date we have secured, and have had restored, three violins which we have presented to the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. We have also been promised a number of recorders. FOM is also delighted to thank Marina Richards for donating a piano to us. Following an assessment, the instrument is currently undergoing a full restoration by Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos after which FOM will be donating it to a school with an active music curriculum that has up to now not had the privilege of having a piano and has had to make do with an electronic keyboard. We trust that the piano will make a difference to their lives and inspire them to even greater things.
If members have instruments that are lying forgotten and un-played somewhere, please consider donating it to FOM. We will have the instruments assessed and restored and will then present it either to deserving individuals or institutions who would be able to make good use of the instruments. Even if you think that your instrument (including pianos) is no longer playable, let us have it and we will see to it that it is again put to its originally intended use, i.e. to be played.
FOM’s German Arm
Members are again reminded that FOM has a German arm, ProCAPEriccio, which is located in Stuttgart and of which the President is Dr Axel Horvath. Dr Horvath, who visits Cape Town for a number of months every year, is an avid supporter of the CPO and of FOM. He has asked especially our German speaking members, but anyone else of course, who have contacts in Germany to let him have their contact details in order that he may approach them for support. I need not point out that with the horrendous current exchange rate any donation in Euros translates into a rather significant Rand value. Please be in touch with Dr Horvath at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can assist.
Please also do not forget that there are a number of other classical music groups and exponents in and around Cape Town who are very worthy of support. Please attend their concerts when you can.
Till next time, enjoy the music.
Chairman: Friends of Orchestral Music.
“Music is the universal language of mankind” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow