Reviews

Performances of classical music do not always receive reviews in the press in modern times, so the excerpts of reviews below do not represent all the Symphony Choir’s performances.


CONCERT: W Walton – Belshazzar’s Feast & J Rutter – Gloria

“I cannot believe that the general public did not support your concert; as it was absolutely spectacular, esp. the Walton piece! The Maestro’s interesting remarks about “Belshazzar’s Feast”, given from a Biblical, historical and musical perspective made it just so much more interesting to listen to . . . . and to watch! Wow! There were times I was holding my breath for the percussionists, expecting them to miss a beat; but they made playing the kettle drums, and the side drum, and the bass drum, and the cymbals, and the xylophone, and the marimba, and the triangle, to name a few, seem like child’s play. Aubrey Lodewyk was once again the consummate professional, and that at such short notice. The Symphony Choir of Johannesburg was , as always, excellent!!!”

“Sunday’s concert was most enjoyable – even though the Walton piece is not “well known”.  I also like to listen to pieces I know, but it does broaden the horizons to hear new things which one also can come to love. Thanks to you all.”

“I just wanted to say Thank you so very much – I went to the concert on Sunday at the Linder and it was super – absolutely amazing.  So just a quick little message from one little Joziburgher to you and all your musicians  – you are incredible and I wish and pray that these concerts may continue forever – and all the tireless work you do for Classical music to remain and be accessible in our country – brings me to tears.”


CONCERT: L Cherubini – Requiem + Masters of the Age of Reason

“Just want to say how much we enjoyed the concert yesterday. I had never heard of the composer so did not know what to expect.”

“Just to let you know that we absolutely loved the concert last Sunday – what a magnificent work the Cherubini is and one we had never heard before.
Also loved the second half which was a fun variety of works.”

“I agree wholeheartedly with you regarding Beethoven & Cherubini; Beethoven is my favourite Composer and it brought a lump to my throat when I envisioned the Cherubini Requiem being played at his funeral. What soul touching Music!
The Symphony Choir of Johannesburg once again outshone themselves not only with the Requiem, but with Finlandia and the Pirates of Penzance piece as well!
Nic is a joy to behold – I just love the report between himself and the Maestro. Phil Cox’s rendition of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto was phenomenal; he makes trumpet playing look so easy! The Johannesburg Festival Orchestra were, as usual, outstanding. And then the Maestro himself – Johannesburgers are indeed blessed to have someone of his musical capabilities and integrity on the podium!”

“The concert on Sunday was absolutely FABULOUS……….a real treat.”

 

CONCERT: K Jenkins – The Armed Man

JOHANNESBURG PERFORMANCE:

“We are just back from the performance this afternoon. Both we and our guests were pleased that we had the opportunity to get a cup of tea afterwards instead of in an interval. We all felt shaken AND stirred by the music, the singing, the words themselves and the visuals.  I guess, being Brits, tea was a natural restorative! What an amazing work and what a fabulous performance We spoke to several choir members (both choirs) over tea and  know that this was just as moving an experience for them. The expense, effort and dedication that went into such a great occasion was so much appreciated. I immediately smsed our son in Cape Town and ordered him to go online AT ONCE, and book himself a ticket for next Saturday.

It is hard to find enough word to praise the choirs, the two orchestras and especially Richard, who looked quite drained at the end of the performance. So, all I can say is a huge thank you. This was certainly a life and attitude changing experience in many ways. Looking forward to the next concert.”

“I attended the fantastic Armed Man concert this afternoon, with two pals, and we all loved it. We all had goose-bumps at times, during the concert. As an almost 70 year old though, not having an interval break, tested my endurance, but happily, made it OK!”

“Congratulations to you and all for such a marvellous concert this afternoon. I  came home in such a whirl and was quite moved by the concert. I  know several people from this village attended and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. Of course I  am biased and thought the choir sang extremely well! Fabulous concert THANK YOU.”

“The Mass for Peace this afternoon was magnificent. A truly emotive and thought provoking experience. Congratulations to all involved.”

“Congratulations on a truly wonderful performance ! it’s hard to find the words and superlatives to describe it. Time and the rapidly encroaching senility tend to blur the memory of Karl Jenkins’ production but yours was much more stirring. I think the visuals perhaps gave a different connotation to the music and were indeed a ten tissue event ! I came home and read Wilfred Owen’s- ‘Strange Meeting’ and am still feeling the emotion of the music. Thank you very much and please continue to keep music alive in Johannesburg.”

“My friend and I were absolutely exhausted after Sunday’s most wonderful performance.”

“I thoroughly endorse all that has been said about the presentation of Armed Man yesterday. The friend I was with, Jane Mayer, had a father who survived Delville Wood with a bullet in his head and I had a father, only 16 when he joined up who was in West and East Africa and seconded to the Royal Artillery, managing to avoid a posting to France by getting the Measles. Richard Cock, Susan Cock, the Symphony Choir, the Chanticleer singers have given a HUGE amount to me over many years. The Armed man was a force majeure, a world class production both HUGE and profoundly moving. I was totally overwhelmed and congratulate everyone more than I can ever say. It is really hard to put into words how much I have gained from the music presented in Johannesburg. Thank you all so much.”

“The Armed Man was ‘n verruklike ervaring.  Ek het bewegingloos in my stoel gesit, te bang om te roer en dalk iets te mis.  Ek kon nie eers teen die einde my sakdoek uithaal om die trane af te vee nie!  Die musiek was aangrypend en met die bypassende beelde was dit ’n ervaring wat ek nooit sal vergeet nie.  Die reuse koor was briljant en mens het soms hoendervleis gekry vir groot en indrukwekkende klanke.  Die orkes was so goed soos altyd en het ons hier en daar laat wip van die skrik!  Richard het alles onder beheer gehad en dit wonderbaarlik reggekry om die musiek en die beeld te sinkroniseer.”

“The Armed Man was the most profoundly moving performance we have ever seen. It was a performance of perfection that was superbly executed. Congratulations and thank you for an experience of a lifetime.”

“What a fantastic, moving performance – we were bowled over! And in tears!”

“Sunday’s Concert was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience; as you so rightly put it: a CD/DVD can never attain the vibe & ambience of a live Concert. Both Choirs were phenomenal (Heaven’s Choir has serious competition!) The Orchestra was outstanding; their musical discipline and control (from piano to fortissimo and the range in between) was a pleasure to listen to (although I did notice a few members of the audience almost jumping out of their skins when the drummers were giving it their all)! The two soloists were outstanding! The cherry on the cake was watching Mr. Cock conduct –   Jo’burg is indeed Blessed to have of someone of his musical calibre and integrity!”

CAPE TOWN PERFORMANCE:

“WOW …  last night was a mighty performance of a very mighty work. It is now twelve hours later and I’m still trying to recover. Congratulations and many thanks!”

“Last night’s performance of The Armed Man was one of the most moving and magnificent events I have ever experienced.   What a fantastic achievement for all involved! I came home wishing that everyone in the world could see and hear that, so that there might be some chance that mankind could change their ways. A thousand congratulations to you all.”


CONCERT: J Rutter – Requiem & Magnificat

“Yesterday’s performance of John Rutter’s works was a beautiful experience and such a lovely soprano from Cape Town, what a voice, just perfect for the Requiem and Magnificat . We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Thank you.”

“We loved Richard Cock’s concert of John Rutter’s two works. It was an inspiring way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The solemnity, combined with hope, of the Requiem, and the jubilation of the Magnificat, had us soaring with contrasting and complementary emotions. We wereand being so moved by the music and the discipline and skill that went into the concert. The contributions Richard and Sue have made to music in Johannesburg are huge.”

“Yesterday’s performance by the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg of John’s Rutter’s “Requiem” and “Magnificat” was phenomenal!
Mr. Cock, under your baton both the above entities were outstanding; the musical discipline in the portraying of both John Rutter’s pieces was indeed a Spiritual and musical treat.
The various instrumental soloists (esp. the percussion trio) outshone themselves – it is always an exciting experience to watch those three in action.
Maudee Montierre was also brilliant.
To put all the above in a nutshell – yesterday’s Concert was a “WOW!” experience – the audience’s (seemingly) lack of response was a clear indication of this; we were so enthralled and mesmerized that we almost forgot to clap.
You, with the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg and Maudee Montierre had given us a glimpse of Heaven – and then we had to come back to earth with a bang.
With you guys around, the best choir in the world (the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) has got very, very serious competition!!!”

“The choir was magnificent and the music went straight to the heart. Really lovely. The soloist too – she was sort of understated – no ego trip. It was really a super concert, but OF COURSE: would I sponsor a mediocre choir?

The Rutter concert was a tour de force. The choir was phenomenal as was Richard Cock and the music extremely good and moving indeed. The longer I listen to the JHB Symphony Choir the more impressed I am.”

“The performance of the Rutter works was wonderful – absolutely perfect!”

“I wanted to say how much I enjoyed y the Rutter Magnificat and Requiem. It was absolutely superb. Apart from John Rutter being an excellent composer, I thought your choir performed magnificently, especially the sopranos. You seem to have a particularly good team there. Well done and thank you.”

…. and from Richard Cock himself:
“I want to tell you that the concert last Sunday was one of the best that you have done and I am continually amazed at how the standards keep going up.
Your singing and attention to detail was fantastic and I think, even though the audiences did not give you a standing ovation, it was really an exceptional concert.
One of the orchestra members said to me afterwards that it was the best he had heard you sing.
So WELL DONE all of you and thank you for bringing so much quality music to the people of Johannesburg.
I have had many letters of congratulations and some of them are very moving and they tell their own story of how people are touched by what you do.
This is one of the many privileges of being a musician and discovering how you can move people and touch their souls.
Thank you for all that you do.”


CONCERT: J S Bach – St Matthew Passion

“I wanted to congratulate you about the St Matthew Passion last night. I felt so overwhelmed by the music that I could not go to sleep for a long time. The Alto and Siyabonga were gorgeous as well as all the solos. I found it elevating and, how could I express it ? I cannot. No words for this. This is to my mind the most beautiful composition ever written.”

“Thank you so much to you, and all concerned, for the wonderful concert last night. What majestic music, beautifully performed, to honour the day of our Messiah’s  battle vs evil…. What a pity Bach didn’t also write for the Resurrection day! Imagine how glorious that would have been. But to you and the musicians: What a very great deal of work for only one night!   Thank you.”

“Congratulations on the magnificent rendering of Bach’s St Mathew ’s Passion at the Linder on Good Friday. I thought it was tremendous. Thank you  for all the hard work and many rehearsals which will have gone towards making it so professional. Well done.”

“We tremendously enjoyed the “Passion” yesterday.  Especially Nicholas – he is amazing.  Not only does he sing in tune and sweetly et cetera, but he also puts the passion/expression into the words and notes.”


CONCERT: L v Beethoven – Missa Solemnis

“I need to come down to Earth after the Beethoven Missa Solemnis on Sunday. Please will you convey to the choir and to Richard Cock my extreme enjoyment of something so outstanding and beyond my imagining. I think I am still slightly on a high. So many congratulations to one and all. I must also add that the physical programme was  a Masterpiece on its own. Since I returned home I have read the programme from cover to cover and find it outstanding in its own right. I have been so blessed by the music from the Symphony Choir. You will none of you know by how much. Thank you all a thousand times over. Best wishes and many many thanks.”

“Sunday’s concert was absolutely amazing, goose-bump stuff and what a joy to have a packed stage and a packed auditorium too.  You must all be very proud of yourselves as it was an outstanding performance.  Loved the conductor and we were lucky enough to chat to three of the gorgeous male members of the German choir at teatime!!  They are blown away by South Africa, the hospitality and the scenery – they want to uproot a jacaranda tree and take it back to Germany.”

“…… an awesome, awesome world class performance and exceedingly moving. Thank you to everyone!!!”

“I have to congratulate you on yesterday’s performance; absolutely awesome! Seldom have I been so enthralled and moved by this (or any) work. Brilliant – you made something really special happen at the Linder…”

“Just had to congratulate you and the two choirs for such a wonderful concert yesterday.  The combined choirs sounded magnificent and the contrasting ff/pp phrases were very moving indeed. I know how much work you and the choirs put into the work but I am sure you realise from the audience that it was truly a memorable performance. Congratulations to you all, choir, soloists, orchestra and backstage assistance.”

“We are regular attendants and supporters of classical music concerts and performances either at the Linder, at Northwards, and churches and cathedrals in and around Johannesburg. Sunday’s performance of Missa Solemnis however was the most stirring and exceptional we have experienced.  Unforgettable it was. If there was to have been a repeat of this performance, we would have surely attended that.Thank you for putting this together with the Berliner Singakademie.”

Comments from three of the soloists:

“Thanks SO much for this opportunity, Maestro Cock, and everyone involved organising this. It was a fantastic experience, and another highlight for me. Everyone involved were professional, consummate musicians and artists, making for a perfect performance.
I LOVE moments like these, when you get the perfect group together for something that is considered difficult and big, and the results are simply fantastic!”  Stéfan Louw,  Director: Artistic and Executive, Big Wig Opera

“Beautifully said Stefan, couldn’t agree more!  It was an absolutely fantastic expertise singing this magnificent work and what made it even more special is working with such wonderful artists and friends!! Thank you for everything Maestro Cock! Love to all of you”  Violina

“What a privilege to have been able to share the stage with such highly musical and talented professionals! I shall treasure this experience. Please also give my highest regards to Maestro Achim Zimmerman. Hoping to work together again in future.” Leah Gunter


CONCERT: D Fanshawe – African Sanctus

“Thank you for a most uplifting and exhilarating  experience yesterday with your performance of “”African Sanctus””. My husband Roger and I were completely entranced throughout the whole performance.  The Choir was excellent as usual and the dancers magically complemented the work.  It was also special being treated to a rendition of the complete “Nkosi Sikelele” Well done as usual!”


CONCERT: G F Handel – Messiah

Tinus Esterhuizen  – Martin Lane Entertainment – “MESSIAH [GF HANDEL] 3 April 2015 in the Linder Auditorium. An Easter favourite with the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg, the Johannesburg Festival orchestra – conductor Richard Cock and soloists Violina Anguelov, Siyabonga Maqungo,Tasto Mashonga and Maudee Montierre. A completely sold out house with extra chairs compliments a successful evening! Each and every musician gave us their own personal best. Thank you Richard Cock.

With my million years of experience as a music compiler [classical, opera, boeremusiek, pop music, rock and whatever came my way], musiekkenner and lover of good music, adjudicator of competitions, the whole SABC saga, performer, a man with good ears, I would like to highlight the choir. From where we sat, you would have loved the well spread sound of voices, harmonies and balance. Sue’s wonderful harpsichord continuo and occasional organ chord, added to the spirit in which the great GF Handel composed this masterpiece.

Your conducting of a well-rehearsed orchestra also added to the complete overall stereophonic sound. Again, from where we sat [on top in the middle], the balance was 100%, never was anyone too loud or too soft.

100% to the soloists. I got goose bumps for the mezzo [she often touched a powerful contralto low-end tessitura] and bass/baritone’s performance. The tenor and soprano absolutely balanced out individual sweet vocal performances.

Well done Richard! You deserve a good and hearty applause. In boeretaal: u het ons almal bekoor.”

“Just a short note to say thanks for Friday’s rendition of one of the finest productions of Handel’s Messiah that I have ever had the privilege of seeing/hearing. I was, at times, so overcome that it quite unashamedly brought tears to my eyes. This note is to just say, once again, and to you all, THANKS for a very enjoyable and emotional Friday evening.”

“Thank you for a wonderful performance of the Messiah last Friday evening. The whole experience was quite overwhelming, and the friends we had brought were astounded. The quality of the production we all agreed was world-class, nothing better in Berlin or New York or anywhere else. Keep up the good work, you shall certainly see us at some of your forthcoming concerts.”

“A great thank you to Richard for all the hard work and a most spiritual experience. You bring new dimensions to the Messiah with every performance.”

“Thanks to all concerned for a really great Messiah last night. We thought the choir was in terrific form and specially enjoyed the two male soloists.”


CONCERT: E Elgar – The Dream of Gerontius

“I came to the wonderful concert on Sunday and it was truly marvellous.  What an amazing work and to have the huge choir and orchestra filling the entire stage was incredible. Thanks and congratulations to you all for a very moving and memorable afternoon.”

“Your Gerontius was wonderful indeed.  My guest and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Richard and the Orchestra and choir are really SO super.”


CONCERT: Last Night of the Proms

Tinus & Michon / Martin Lane Entertainment “Dankie dankie dankie, ons het die aand baie geniet! Full of fun, well organised and rounded off. To get a full house is quite something nowadays, only possible by the Bieber, Lady Ga Ga, One Direction… Herewith my personal view: The soloists were well chosen. The choir fantastic, the orchestra: sublime and pure showbiz under your baton. The repertoire: fresh approach and balanced. We did miss a bit of female contribution i.e. soprano aria  – a high female note at the end always brings down the house. Peter McLea’s arrangement of The Lion King medley = eksie perfeksie. Please congratulate him. Looking forward to next year’s concert. Richard Cock is king of his castle!! Bravo sir.”


CONCERT: J S Bach – St John Passion

Michael Traub / Citizen “….This performance, under the expert direction of Richard Cock, was admirable in every way. The Symphony Choir of Johannesburg, a body much larger than any Bach would have been able to field, sang with great discipline and a finely integrated sound. The Festival Orchestra made attractive sounds all the way and balanced the large choral forces more than adequately, and every one of the soloists produced good tone.

I must single out the contribution of Nicholas Nicolaidis, who sang the exacting role of the Evangelist with unflagging vigour. It is a huge part and must be very taxing on the voice and the intellect. Also to be mentioned specially was the alto, Kathy Neuland, who produced warm, focused sounds. Her timbre is most appealing.

Altogether a great piece of spiritual entertainment for the capacity audience.”

 


CONCERT: Christmas with Richard Cock

“Thank you for the ticket and for a delightful evening of song.  The choir as ever sang very professionally…”


CONCERT: Best of Broadway III

“Just to say that we so enjoyed your concert yesterday.  Both choir and orchestra were fantastic.  Wow, so much energy was put into that performance.  Well done!”

Well done for yesterday.  We loved the concert – lots of fun.  Thank you!”

“One word: FABULOUS! – and I’ll repeat that : FABULOUS!”


CONCERT: Viva Verdi Festival – Verdi Requiem and Opera Choruses

….and let me thank you most sincerely for a fantastic Requiem concert yesterday.”

Having enjoyed the Viva Verdi concerts of this last week, we really need to go on the mailing list for future concerts and festivals.”

“We attended two of the Verdi concerts and it was fabulous!”


CONCERT: L Bernstein – Chichester Psalms; B Britten – St Nicolas Cantata; P Klatzow – Concerto for Marimba, Vibraphone & Strings

“Indeed a wonderful concert on the 23rd. We and the two friends we brought with us really enjoyed it….…. being sponsors, we always feel we may as well take advantage of our free tickets and stretch ourselves a bit. So far we have not been disappointed, as we have heard (and seen) things we would not normally have experienced…..….. being in the auditorium  and experiencing everything live is a whole different matter and explains why we keep coming, even though the works on offer are unfamiliar and maybe a bit daunting.”

WOW – what a performance you all put on at the Linder last Sunday! I was absolutely gobsmacked and in awe with the overall quality of the production and thoroughly enjoyed the music which I had never heard before – did not want it to end. Friends joined us and no one was disappointed – BRAVO 🙂 Thank you one and all.”

“Dear Mr Cock. Firstly, thank you for an amazing performance on Sunday. You are truly a talented person. More importantly, thank you so much for giving the St Peter’s boys this fantastic opportunity to perform with you and the wonderful choir and orchestra. I guess I am probably the proudest mum because my son, Tristan, wears hearing aids and he consistently continues to astound us as parents. This is definitely an experience he will treasure forever.”


CONCERT: C Orff – Carmina Burana

De Beeld: Thys Odendaal – “… Carl Orff se toneelmatige, deels erotiese kantate is ‘n ongewone werk, onbetwisbaar een van die gewildste vir koor en soliste. Wat die musiek-aspekt betref, verdien Richard Cock se leiding lof. Die spel in die orkesbak was puik en die soliste het hul partye baie goed behartig. Die idee om die koor aan die sykante van die Mandela-teater te plaas, is visuel hoogs bevredigend, maar musikaal te gedemp sodat die groot koor deur die orkesbak oorheers is.”


CONCERT: S Taylor-Cloeridge – Hiawatha’s wedding Feast

                   C H Parry/G F Handel  – I Was Glad/Zadok the Priest

Artslink: Moira de Swardt – “The Symphony Choir of Johannesburg sounded very good as they sang the beautiful Charles Hubert Parry piece, “I was glad”, the famous George Frederick Handel piece “Zadok the Priest” and the works of Professor Mzikazi Khumalo. I didn’t know the main featured work of the concert, Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast by Samuel Taylor-Coleridge but I found it to be charming and cheerful. The soloist was Siyabonga Maqungo, a lyrical tenor, and I thought he was wonderful. Richard Cock has now led the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg, originally started in 1947 by the late Edgar Cree, for more than three decades. They will be performing both a Broadway and a Christmas concert later in the year and their concerts often sell out completely, so as soon as you hear adverts for these you should book.”

“…… we enjoyed the afternoon very much.  The singing as usual was superb and we both realise the hours of work had gone into the preparation of the Taylor- Coleridge.” 

“…… It was a splendid concert, and I enjoyed the Hiawatha particularly.

“…… my friends and I were there on Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.”


CONCERT: J S Bach – St Matthew Passion

         “ . . . the St Mathew Passion on Friday was absolutely awesome, and very tricky as you promised, but it deserves a special accolade. We just don’t get world class choral music such as this from any other choir/orchestra in the country and it needs to be applauded. I had forgotten just how many different participants are required for this work, but it flowed like clockwork! As to be expected, the choir was excellent, Bernard was outstanding, as was Veramarie, Lynelle and especially Siyabonga, and as a whole, Richard once again provided a massive dose of concert excellence in a unique combination of religious observance and pure entertainment. A very large ‘thank-you’! It was stunning! “

De Beeld: Paul Boekkooi – ” …….Dit vereis enorme integriteit op ’n wye musikaal-geestelike vlak om alle aspekte op ’n ewewigtige wyse aan ’n gehoor oor te dra. Dit is nie slegs die lengte (ruim drie uur) nie, maar ook die dramatiese kontraste, insluitende Lutherse korale wat altyd in stemming kontrasteer, wat geïntegreerd binne die geheelkonsep staande moet bly. Richard Cock is een van min dirigente wat jy met dié taak kan toevertrou. Dit is duidelik te hoor in die intensiteit van die openingskoor, of die teerheid en verdriet wat die slotkoor kommunikeer. Die massatonele het ’n gepaste dramatiese uitwerking, die turbae-kore klink gelaai en die korale spreek van geloofsoortuiging……..

Artslink: Moira de Swardt – “The Symphony Choir of Johannesburg brought the ‘greatest story ever told’ to life on Good Friday under the baton of Richard Cock…….. The Linder Auditorium was packed, with only one empty seat, co-incidentally in the row in which I was sitting…. Performances of the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg are always sold out. No artistic attempt was made to mount this work in an historical context, so the work is performed with a huge choir, and six soloists who do not form part of the choir……. I found that overall the pace of the music was somewhat slower than I would have liked……but I was able to enter into the worship experience as we worked our way through the narrative with the story being both told and commented upon……… At many points during the performance I got goosebumps as I shared the sentiments being sung……….”


CONCERT: Poulenc – Gloria & Concerto for 2 Pianos + other French music

          “… a super afternoon yesterday – we really enjoyed the Poulenc concert; the choir was on top form and Francois du Toit and Franklin Larey did a wonderful job on the two pianos – – and Magdaleen Minaar – what can we say – what a superb voice! Thank you once again for all the joy you and the choir bring us.”


CONCERT: Rossini – Stabat Mater

“Just to let you know that we thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s performance. We were particularly moved by the two beautiful unaccompanied choruses. Thank you so much for all the hard work you put in to bring such performances to us. You must have gathered from the enthusiastic applause that the concert was appreciated and enjoyed by all.”


CONCERT: Handel – Messiah

“Messiah once again was a great experience.” 

“We thoroughly enjoyed Messiah and thought both Nicholas and Aubrey were particularly good.”


CONCERT: Vivaldi: Gloria & Fauré – Requiem

“Just coming down to earth after an absolutely breathtaking concert last night. Thanks somuch for the glorious performance. “

“Thank you so much for the concert. The sound was excellent and the choir very precise – obviously the result of careful rehearsal. It was a most enjoyable evening.”


CONCERT: Carl Orff – Carmina Burana 

“…. Want you to know how much we enjoyed the Carmina Burana. This was very special with the most beautiful and talented dancers to add to the enjoyment. To celebrate 30 years of the Choir is truly great. Thank you for the wonderful times we have in the music halls all over under your leadership and the passion you have. We know this is very hard work. All the more appreciated. May we experience beautiful music for a long time to come.”

“Thank you for a super concert yesterday. Sound, ensemble and concentration were all good – excellent in fact – well done! It was a great occasion and I loved it.”

“Carmina Burana was an AMAZING concert!!! Thanks so much and well done to the Choir.”


CONCERT: G Verdi’s Requiem

  • Yesterday in the aucience I had goosebumps all over.  The music did much more than blow my hair away.  Thanks to you and all the musicians for a performance with soul.
  • Thank you for a most memorable concert – what a great performance!  The Dies Irae was ELECTRIFYING.  The huge choir singing softly was pure magic.
  • The tribute to Mandela’s birthday and introducing Khumalo was a nice touch, making it all very memorable 

Michael Traub/Citizen

. . . the Requiem is a severe test for both singers and orchestra, and it needs a masterful hand to control the proceedings. The masterful hand was certainly on display in the shape of the conductor Richard Cock, who directed the music with musicianship and rhythmic tension . . .

LANGDURIGE APPLOUS WELVERDIENDE LOF VIR COCK EN SY SOLISTEMessa da Requiem
(Verdi)
Thys Odendaal/Beeld

. . In al die jare wat Cock as koorafrigter en -dirigent in tientalle konserte as ’n besonderse en inspirerende musikus beïndruk het, het dié resensent hom nog nooit só geanimeerd op die verhoog gesien nie. . .
In die geheel was diéRequiem ’n hoogs verdienstelike prestasie, die langdurige applous welverdiende beloning vir die toewyding wat daarmee saamgaan.


“Commemorative Performance “
MICHAEL TRAUB

CONCERT: Handel’s Greatest Hits

. . . I believe that many of the choral items sung were new to the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg, if so, the singers and Cock must be congratulated on performances of the utmost conviction and vocal security. The choral blend and the intonation were impeccable throughout.


“Good form”
MICHAEL TRAUB
CONCERT : Handel’s Messiah

The almost annual performance of Handel’s best and most famous oratorio, Messiah, graced Joburg’s Easter weekend.

The Symphony choir was in good form (precisely focused top notes from the sopranos, for instance), and the Festival Orchestra played with enthusiasm and well graded tone-levels.
Richard Cock knows Messiah like the back of his hand, and his control was exemplary. . . .

The Hallelujah chorus was a triumph. It was quite a sight to see the entire audience rise, in accordance with tradition (begun by King George II), and remain standing till the final cadence.
The audience rose again at the end of the oratorio to give a heartfelt standing ovation for an uplifting musical and spiritual experience.


Cock, soliste en koor puik in ‘Nelson-mis’
Thys Odendaal

Jhb Simfonie-koor 25

. . . . it is aan Richard Cock en die Johannesburg Simfonie-koor te danke dat hul 25ste verjaardagvierings ook ‘n Haydn-koorwerk insluit, sy dramaties-opwindende Nelson-mis, beskrywend getitel Missa in angustiis.
Soos altyd was Cock volkome tuis voor die musikale kragte – ‘n “klassieke” orkes, die groot simfonie-koor en vier knap soliste. . . .
Hoewel die mansstemme in resonansie nie die vroue ewenaar nie, was die koor puik en trefseker.


Stout effort at huge, difficult, Good Friday performance 
J.S. BACH ORATORIO: St Matthew Passion 
By MICHAEL TRAUB 

A performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion is a huge and challenging undertaking, for it lasts longer than many operas and makes tremendous demands on the singers and instrumentalists, both technically and interpretively. . . .

The combined choirs were the glory of the evening, with especially moving singing in the beautiful chorales which dot the Passion at significant points.


‘Groot asem’ nog soek in dié ‘Passie’
Paul Boekkooi 

Matteus-Passie

. . .Oor dié tydperk was Richard Cock hul vaste dirigent en inspirasie. Die feit dat Johannesburg dié omvangryk-geesverheffende, beskouende en epiesliriese werk kon hoor, is te danke aan Cock en sy bestuur se deurlopende ondernemingsgees. . . .

Sou dié Passie slegs ‘n koorwerk wees, dan kon Cock se positiewe hoedanighede byna alles oorheers het, want die openingskoor het voorwaar ‘n tragiese intensiteit oorgedra, die slotkore van die eerste en tweede helftes het teerheid en verdriet gesuggereer, terwyl die massatonele dramatiese krag en die sogenaamde turbae-kore ‘n geladenheid uitgestraal het.

Daar was ook gepaste stemmingswisselinge in die korale. Met meestal hoogstaande koorprestasies, was dit tog veral in die tweede deel opvallend dat invalle soms weifelend was. . .


More please! 
By MICHAEL TRAUB 
Music by Haydn & Mozart

A varied and well-chosen programme of music by the classic masters Haydn and Mozart led to a good attendance and, more importantly, superior music-making. The

The Symphony Choir of Johannesburg featured in Mozart’s short motet, Ave Verum, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass. . . .The choir itself was in good form, revelling in the many beauties of Haydn’s ever-interesting score.
Richard Cock displayed his customary expertise in holding together the large band of performers.
More, please!


Inspired oratorio a triumph 
ORATORIO: Mendelssohn’s Elijah  
By MICHAEL TRAUB 

This inspired performance of Mendelssohn’s inspirational music to accompany dramatic events in the life of the prophet Elijah was a major triumph for all concerned.

First to be singled out must be the conductor, Richard Cock, who tackled this vast canvas with assurance and insight. He held the choir together as if with steel cables, and there was scarcely a moment when the ensemble slipped. The orchestra, though sometimes as to the brass instruments, was also cohesive and obedient. . .

What a pity that South Africa does not have the resources for a performance like this to be heard live in other major cities. Nonetheless, a recording was being made for radio listeners, who in due course will be able to get a chance to hear this magnificent oratorio.


‘Elijah’ lofwaardig
Paul Boekkooi

Elijah (Mendelssohn)

. . .Cock het op dinamiese vlak heelwat bereik om beide die drama en rykdom van die teks aan sy koor oor te dra, met ‘n paar mezza voces wat doeltreffend uitgestaan het. Die orkes het baie tot die atmosfeer bygedra.
Almal se inisiatief en oorgawe verdien lof.


Laudable performance of difficult Mass 
CONCERT:Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis 
By MICHAEL TRAUB

Beethoven’s Mass in D major, usually referred to as the Missa Solemnis, is an immense undertaking for all the musicians concerned. . . .

Despite the occasional sense of tentativeness about the vocal attack, the performance must be accounted a success, and Richard Cock, who galvanised his forces with his personal zeal, has added yet another feather to his musical cap.


Spiritual music on Good Friday
ORATORIO: St John Passion 
By MICHAEL TRAUB 

A packed house greeted this year’s Easter oratorio, given, as is the custom, on Good Friday. It was the turn of Bach’s dramatic Passion according to St John, the earlier of his two major Passions. Under the direction of the English conductor and organist Simon Preston, the performance was a great success, with only the slightest momentary flaws. . . .
The Symphony Choir of Johannesburg was in good form throughout the evening. The opening chorus of the work was notable for very clearly enunciated (even aspirated) semiquavers from the choir, and all the chorales had a fine balance of tone between the voices. . .


Fitting climax to Beethoven festival
 
Beethoven: Choral Fantasy & C minor Mass
By MICHAEL TRAUB 

The conductor Richard Cock was clearly in his element in this all-Beethoven concert, which offered seldom-heard works: these were the Choral Fantasy and the C minor Mass.. . ..
The Symphony Choir of Johannesburg sang fervently in a work that is new to most of the singers (as performers, of course). . .


A spirited rendition 
By MICHAEL TRAUB 
MUSIC BY MOZART 

An all- Mozart concert, the main item of which was the famous Requiem, drew a capacity audience last Sunday afternoon. . .
The Requiem  was given a spirited rendering by all concerned. The Symphony Choir of Johannesburg suffers from a shortage of male voices, but managed a fair blend and an adequate balance of tone. . .


Soloists must be congratulated 

Handel’s Messiah
By MICHAEL TRAUB 

The annual Good Friday performance of Handel’s Messiah was gratifyingly well attended, and those who took the trouble to come were presented with one of the better interpretations.

. . . The Symphony Choir of Johannesburg showed plenty of evidence of careful drilling – anyway, they must know Messiah almost by heart by now! . . .

Richard Cock knows Messiah like the back of his hand. His tempi were on the brisk side in accordance with modern interpretations of Baroque style. . . .


Solid renditions of diverse and well-known choruses
FAMOUS SECULAR AND SACRED CHORUSES
By MICHAEL TRAUB 

A wide range of choral extracts, both secular and sacred, made up the 20th anniversary programme of the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg. . . .For the entire two decades the conductor has been Richard Cock, who directed this concert with his customary flair, and introduced each item in his own inimitable fashion.

There were 18 items in all, . .  .The blend of sound was good, the balance between the various voice-types satisfactory, and the obedience to the conductor exemplary.
The whole auspicious occasion was topped off by a party after the concert to which the entire audience was invited.


Puccini Sondag in Linder vereer
Thys Odendaal

Sondag word hy ook deur die Johannesburgse Simfoniekoor in die Goudstad gehuldig met ’n program waarin dié koor met die Johannesburg Festival Orchestra onder leiding van Richard Cock optree. . . .

. . Die program word afgesluit met Puccini se Messa di Gloria. . . .Cock het op dinamiese vlak heelwat bereik om beide die drama en rykdom van die teks aan sy koor oor te dra