Enjoy Durban Chamber Choir’s Nocturne

Durban Chamber Choir members, from left, Caleb Frow, Gail Robinson, Christopher Cockburn (director), Lesley Starke, Ndumiso Mpanza, Pamela Tancsik, Brendon Cooper & Nicole Copley

Photo by Val Adamson


Concert goers can enjoy a beguiling programme of music of the night when the Durban Chamber Choir (DCC) presents Nocturne - its latest programme of choral classics in Musgrave on Sunday 4 November. This sees DCC performing a wide-ranging repertoire conducted by Dr Christopher Cockburn, the choir’s director.


The programme will include music by among others, the great German Romantic, Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897), the iconic British composer, Sir Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934), and the contemporary Estonian master, Arvo Pärt (born 1935), who since 2010 has been the most performed living composer in the world.


Says Cockburn: “Some of the writers and composers featured in the programme present night as a time of quiet (as in Brahms’ ‘In stiller Nacht’), or reflection (Rheinberger’s ‘Abendlied’, a prayer at the end of the day), or falling asleep (Elgar’s ‘There is sweet music’ with its remarkable drifting between two different keys to represent an ‘in-between’ state of consciousness).


“Others think of the night as mysterious, a time of shadows but also of radiant light (as in Samuel Barber’s ‘Sure on this shining night’ or in the most recent piece on the programme, ‘Ballade to the Moon’, an atmospheric work with piano accompaniment by the young American composer Daniel Elder.But the programme is not all quiet and dreamy. Balfour Gardiner’s resplendent setting of the ancient Latin ‘Evening Hymn’ rises to a fortissimo climax accompanied by the full organ.”


Also included are striking settings of the Evening Canticles: Arvo Pärt’s mesmerizing ‘Magnificat’ and Christopher Cockburn’s own ‘Song of Mary’ and ‘Song of Simeon’ which draw on elements from minimalist, African and impressionist styles. Cockburn will also play Louis Vierne’s fleeting and slightly sinister organ piece ‘Feux Follets’, an evocation of the dancing light that draws night-travelers away from safe paths.


DCC can be heard performing Nocturne at St Thomas’s Anglican Church, Musgrave, on Sunday 4 November. The performance starts at 3pm, and lasts about an hour. Refreshments will be served after the concert. Tickets are available at the door from 2pm, and admission to the venues is from 2.30pm. Tickets are R70 per person (student/scholar OAP concessions R40). School groups are admitted free, and group bookings may be made, by prior arrangement. Contact nicole@ngolawsa.co.za. 


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