“Silent Mourning” by Steven van der Merwe
Premiered at the La Motte Concert Series 5 April 2014
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“Blute Nur” – Easter Lamentations with Lynelle Kenned (soprano), Albert Combrink (piano), Sally Minter (flute), Sarah Acres (cello)
Dr Steven van der Merwe has been studying composition with Peter Louis van Dijk and was awarded the degree M.Mus (composition) cum laude in 2013. He is also director/conductor of the Chamber Orchestra, Pro Musica Divina, which holds regular concerts in the Southern Peninsula. Steven’s composition “Eleven – a Requiem for a Parent” for choir and orchestra premiered at the St. George’s Cathedral in 2011 under his baton and with the talents of the UCT choir and the St. George’s Singers.
He has composed various other works for cello sextet; cello and piano as well as works for string orchestra. Other compositions include his “Blacksmith Mass” (for choir; organ and string quintet); “Dans la Pluie” (for Harp; flute and string orchestra (premiered by Liesl Stoltz and Jacqui Kerrod in 2012) and “Tantum Ergo” – composed for the Herschel chorale.
“Silent Mourning” was composed especially for today’s performance. Albert Combrink requested a composition for flute; piano; soprano and cello. The Latin text is taken from selected passages from the “Stabat Mater” or Mother Standing, a medieval poem regarding Mary’s suffering at the time of the Crucifixion. The flute accompaniment is noted for it “gliding” technique in places, in an attempt to allow for an “Eastern” sense of solemnity. Note the heavily accented open fifths towards the end of the piece in the cello, depicting the nails being struck during the Crucifixion.
At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.
Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep,
Till His spirit forth He sent.