College Concerts for Chisholm

The first concert in a three-part lunchtime series to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death in June 1965 of Erik Chisholm, “Scotland’s most progressive composer” and former Director of the South African College of Music, took place on April 30 at 13h00 in the Baxter Concert Hall.

Among the audience was composer Hendrik Hofmeyr, Professor of Music and Head of Composition at the SACM, who was extremely complimentary about the performances and supportive of the initiative by students to remember Dr Chisholm.

Dominic Daula, a talented third-year piano and harpsichord student, arranged the programme of all piano music, a suitable choice as Chisholm was not only a pianist of note in his youth but composed prolifically for that instrument.

His Nine Scottish Airs, four played by Daula and five by Nicholas Haralambous, were the centrepiece of the concert, flanked by compositions from four of Chisholm’s contemporaries. These were:

*         Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) whose Sonata No. 3 for Organ (1940) – I: Ach Gott, wem soll ich’s klagen was performed by Neil Robertson on the Baxter’s fine organ. (Chisholm invited Hindemith to Glasgow to perform his sonata for viola and piano at the 1931-2 season of his newly formed Active Society for the Propagation of Contemporary Music. He ended up nervously accompanying the world famous composer and virtuoso player and they remained friends for years.)

*         James May’s Variations for piano composed in 1969 was given its first complete performance by Dominic Daula. (James, born 1939, was a student at the College during Chisholm’s tenure. He turned teacher in 1970, and is currently Emeritus Professor of Music at UCT.)

*         Arnold van Wyk’s two movements from Tristia II: Ostinato and III: Berceuse (1968-1978) were performed by Nicholas Haralambous. (Van Wyk who lived from 1916-1983, was senior lecturer in music at the College from 1949 till his resignation in 1960. He then taught at Stellenbosch University.)

*         John Ireland’s 1927 Sonatina was played by Andrew Duncan. (Ireland, 1879-1962, was the first composer Chisholm ever met. His father hopefully wanted Mr Ireland to give his son composition lessons by post!)

The second lunch hour concert in the series takes place on August 13 at 13h00 in the Baxter Concert Hall. The programme entitled “Chamber Music” will be arranged by Dominic Daula and Becky Steltzner.

Date for the final concert is 15 October at 13h00 in the Chisholm Recital Room in the College. Again Dominic Daula will arrange the programme this time with Albie van Schalkwyk.