There are few things more moving than rich voices raised in song.
Add to those pure tones the resonant surrounds of a revered building, and the effect can be one of real spiritual joy, regardless of religious leanings. This, after all, is not about the words. Whether it is Latin or French, Swahili or Slavic, this is music that through harmony, inspires harmony.
After its acclaimed premier at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France last year, Grace Notes is being presented for the first time in Cape Town, and is described as “a moving reflection on the yearning to express spirituality through music”.
It is a unique concert of a cappella sacred music which – in its juxtaposition of ancient and modern music from Europe and Africa – uncovers lines of connection across centuries and across continents.
Grace Notes intersperses religious music drawn from Xhosa, Venda, Zulu and Swahili traditions, with sacred compositions by four European composers: the 16th century English organist Byrd – best known for his development of the English madrigal; the Italian composer Palestrina – considered one of the finest composers of the Renaissance; the 20th century French organist Duruflé, who helped restore the Gregorian chant to popularity; and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (born 1935) – who for the last five years has been the most performed living composer in the world.
All of this has been curated by an astonishingly accomplished young man. Recently profiled by the Mail & Guardian as one of 200 young South Africans to watch, Thuthuka Sibisi is a composer, a director and a conductor, with a special interest in physical theatre and movement. Currently studying at Goldsmiths University of London, he will head next year to The Juilliard School in New York, and has already collaborated with the likes of William Kentridge and Philip Miller in works which have led him across four continents.
The upcoming performances of Grace Notes will be given by the world-famous Cape Town Opera Chorus, winners of the 2013 International Opera Awards ‘Chorus of the Year’, and one of the most compelling and varied vocal ensembles on the planet.
Cape Town audiences will have just three opportunities to take in this unmissable production, which Sibisi describes as “a glimpse of the divine”.
Dates: 13 July at St. George’s Cathedral
20 July at St. George’s Cathedral
27 July at St. John’s Church, Wynberg
Time: 7.30pm to 8.30pm
Please note – seating is limited and booking is essential.
Book now through: firstname.lastname@example.org