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Violinist Piet Koornhof, known for championing neglected chamber music and for imaginative concert programming, will soon be presenting an unusual programme of mostly Baltic music for violin and piano, and for solo piano, together with illustrious American pianist, Thomas Hecht. They will perform this programme on 7 May in Bloemfontein, and also on Tuesday 12 May 2015 at 19:30 in the Conservatory Hall, Potchefstroom.

Baltic composers Arvo Pärt, Peteris Vasks and Balys Dvarionas, as well as Georgian composer Giya Kancheli, will be featured in a programme characterized by strong meditative and spiritual overtones. These composers have all suffered under the severely repressive Soviet regime, and they share the conviction that music has the power to transcend suffering and heal the human spirit.

Latvian composer Peteris Vasks, whose solo piano piece, Music for a Summer Evening, will be performed by Hecht, has summed up this ideal by saying, “My intention is to provide food for the soul and this is what I preach in my works.”

Piet Koornhof

“Mesmerizing” certainly describes the set of variations for violin and piano, Fratres, by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, that opens the program. It is based on his tintinnabuli technique of composing, which entails the generation of musical material from a very simple motif, symbolizing the point of stillness underneath the chaos of a frantic and broken world, where communion with the eternal is to be found.

The style of Lithuanian composer Balys Dvarionas, harks back to an older romanticism, but also aims to uplift the human spirit amid intense suffering. His five short pieces offered by Koornhof and Hecht are infused with sad and intensely beautiful lyricism that has the violin singing with a soaring voice.

The longest single piece in the programme, Time … and again by Giya Kancheli, is deeply meditative with strong spiritual intention. It unfolds very slowly and gradually, and mostly extremely quietly, but with occasional outbursts of great, even violent, intensity. It speaks of the torture of souls and the healing power of music.

Thomas Hecht

For a soul-stirring and mesmerizing musical experience, be sure to join South African violinist Piet Koornhof and American pianist Thomas Hecht for their concert of Baltic and Georgian music.

Tickets at R75/R50 are available at the Conservatory in Thabo Mbeki Drive (tel. 018-299-1692), PUK Arts in the Heimat Building (F9) on the university campus (tel. 018-299-2844), Protea Bookshop on the Bult (tel. 018-297-1583), online at www.artema.co.za and www.facebook.com/NWU.Music, or 30 minutes before the concert at the box office.

(Musical descriptions above by Piet Koornhof.)

Complete programme:
1. Arvo Pärt — Fratres
2. Giya Kancheli — Time … and again
3. Peteris Vasks — Music for a Summer Evening
4. Balys Dvarionas — Pieces for violin & piano
i. Pezzo Elegiaco
ii. Scherzino
iii. Elegia canzonetta
iv. Adagio
v. Impromptu