As part of the celebrations in 1988 of the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the Huguenots in South Africa, the composer Hubert du Plessis was commissioned by the Huguenot Society of SA to compose the Huguenot Cantata opus 51. The librettist was wasOde Krige.
The cantata was performed three times in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town by the Capab orchestra and Opera Choir, the SABC chamber choir, with Virginiajrmlewis@hermanus.co.za Oosthuizen (soprano),Renée Rakin (alt), Sjoerd Beute (tenor) and Peter Kramer(bass) as soloists. The conductor was Richard Cock.
A recording of the performances was recently found and converted to compact disc format by the Huguenot Society of South Africa. About his composition the composer Hubert du Plessis explains as follows:
“I set myself the following demands: no recitative passages; the use of an orchestra with a predominant baroque sound (clarinets and horns are consequently absent, and also kettledrums – bells, however, were essential); as many contrasts as possible; special attention to the solo alto.
“In addition, I wanted to strive after simplicity, the music stylistically representative of more or less ten centuries. The incorporation of existent compositions, in full or in part, was to me very significant on account of their symbolical impact.”
The work consists of three parts: Persecution (26 min), Flight (16 min) and Settlement (19 min). The CD contains a pamphlet with the complete libretto, as well as explanatory notes by the composer of the symbolism of the various parts of the work. The English version of the CD contains the libretto translated into English (although the performance itself is sung in the original Afrikaans). Please indicate your preference for the English or Afrikaans version of the CD.
The price of the CD is R90 plus postage and packing (R62 within the RSA, R170 overseas) and orders can be placed at the Huguenot Society of South Africa.