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: G F Handel – Messiah

“A very well organized event, started right on time and the experience was just amazing. Such an emotional experience and kudos to the entire choir, orchestra, conductor and opera singers. All were just incredible. Looking forward to the next one.”

“Spectacular! A powerful performance of this majestic piece!”

“The performance was beautiful. It was worth changing my flight for. Everyone makes much of the soloists, and they were wonderful, but the choir filled my heart with joy. Congratulations to Richard Cook and the amazing choir. And thank you for giving me my father back in his favourite piece of music. Bravo! Halala!””

“This is really an awe-inspiring piece that was beautifully done by the choir, soloists and orchestra – I enjoyed it immensely.”

“An absolutely magnificent experience.!  What a treat as Scriptures came alive!”

“It met every expectation I had for the event. A very special experience as a family evening together enjoying the music and talented choristers and orchestra!”

“An outstanding performance. Expertly led by maestro Richard Cock, with superb soloists and a wonderful orchestra and choir. So fitting it was on Good Friday too.”

“It was magnificent in every way.”

“It was a fantastic evening. I hope that more evenings like this will be presented in Johannesburg and that these amazing cultural events will never disappear from the social calendar.”

“What a nice occasion to prepare for Easter.  We thankful to Richard Cock to keep up to this traditions.”

“An extremely moving and spiritual experience. Only sorry it only comes by every two years and then just one performance. Brilliantly performed Richard et al.”

“One of the most rousing renditions of the hallelujah chorus I have ever heard.  Goosebumps!”

“In a word GLORIOUS !!”

CONCERT: J Brahms – Ein Deutsches Requiem

“I haven’t been to the Linder for a while as I no longer drive at night so would love more daytime shows like today’s Brahms Requiem. I really enjoyed today’s concert. Its a beautiful piece of music and was played and sung beautifully. The soloists were exquisite, and I loved the exuberance from the front row of male singers. I visited with a friend who recently lost her husband and I spend a lot of time with my mum who still mourns my father and her partner of 65 years who died 2 years ago, so the theme was very apt.”

“It was an enriching experience with superb performances by everyone, including the soloists. A word of particular thanks to organisers for hosting these concerts.  It is heart-warming to be able to attend the arts!!”

“This was absolutely fantastic! I enjoyed every moment of this.”

“World class. Absolutely amazing.”

“It was a beautiful concert.  The soprano had an amazing voice.  Pleased to see it was well attended.”

Very professional organisation, singing, orchestral playing. The projection of the text (in the original German and translation) was most welcome. I applaud Richard Cock for bringing this little-heard work to Johannesburg.”

“The Brahms Requiem is a beautiful piece of music, well presented by the Johannesburg Symphony Choir and Phoenix Orchestra under the capable direction of conductor Richard Cock. Unlike many Requiems, the Brahms version is uplifting in its vision of hope and joy that is to come after death. I enjoyed it immensely.”

“Incredibly moving. Powerful and utterly beautiful.  World-class orchestra and wonderful choir performing a very difficult piece wonderfully.”

“Exceptional choir and beautiful performances from everyone”

“The talk that was offered as a free additional option before the event about the Requiem was appreciated, as it helped to understand and appreciate the piece of work.”

“The talk by Sue Cock made the Requiem a much more enjoyable experience. The choir and performers excellent. The reduced orchestra was perfect to highlight the choral aspects.”

CONCERT: Christmas with Richard Cock

“Superb concert with atmosphere and informality and just plain delight. Richard Cock and his choir always choose such evocative music and the soloist was magnificent. Loved every minute!”

“This concert is the highlight of our festive season, we wouldn’t miss it for the world, wonderful entertainment. Richard Cock is our national treasure. Fabulous to watch and to join in with the orchestra and choirs. Amazing tenor Siyabonga Mqungo, brought tears to my eyes as did the incredible group of youngsters from Snake Park School, playing on their recorders.”

“The performance was outstanding ! The soloist was excellent and complimented the event. I loved the music choices, and the Christmas spirit and message touched my heart and soul. Well done Richard and SCJ!”

“Fantastic, fun afternoon outing with the family. Richard Cock is a commanding conductor, sweeping the singers, the orchestra and the audience on a musical magical journey.”

“Enjoyed the talented orchestra and choir. It was truly entertaining and interactive. We enjoyed the songs and inclusion of home-grown stars like Siyabonga. Giving airtime to Nimrod and his star pupils is truly Philanthropic. What is beautiful was the symphony of music, voices, audience and making way for the next generation by sharing the stage.”

“Such a great afternoon of wonderful carols. Such a blessing hearing so many people celebrating the birth of our Lord, the true reason for Christmas. Thank you, Richard and ALL involved.”

“Another excellent performance which we never miss! Siyabonga Maqungo is simply magnificent!”

“I ATTEND THIS EVENT EVERY YEAR AND IT IS ALWAYS A HIGHLIGHT. My admiration for Richard knows no bounds. He wields a magic wand, not only musically but over the audience as well. Thanks a million!”

“The music and atmosphere were an electrifying experience! The performance of the choir, orchestra, Siyabonga and Richard Cock was world quality!  I never want to miss it again!”

CONCERT: C Orff – Carmina Burana

“Well done everyone a really amazing event. The choir sang magnificently. We in the audience were all very happy.”

“We LOVED the concert. It was so professional and such a wonderful experience and of course those little children on their recorders were just so cute and pretty good.”

“One of my colleagues who attended said it was the best live performance he has ever attended…… gave him goosebumps!!”

“Thank you so much! It was really magnificent. The choir and soloists were all in superb voice, and Richard’s inimitable style added a really special atmosphere.”

“Just got back from the Linder, it was an absolutely spellbinding performance, I feel quite drained – and I was in the audience! Aside from the brilliant Carmina Burana, the prelude of four short pieces by a youth recorder ensemble from Snake Park in Randfontain was lovely to listen to. They were incredible. Had me teary-eyed.”

“Thank you for a lovely concert. The introduction by the youth recorder ensemble was an education, as was Carmina Burana! I really valued Richard Cock’s context setting and explanations. His generosity and passion for sharing music shines through. Also, I found the performance of the recorder ensemble incredibly moving and those kids’ eyes when we applauded – I really hope today was part of a wonderful musical journey for them. I honestly never knew recorders could sound like that.”

“A fantastic concert! Richard turned a good show into something truly special tonight with his commentary. His passion really shines through and even my 13 year old was captivated.”

CONCERT: J S Bach – St. John Passion

“Thank you again for a wonderful & unforgettable evening. I was in total

“Yet another wonderful concert from you on Sunday,  the choir were as sublime as ever ……”

“Thank you for another wonderful performance of an impressive work. Utterly wonderful. Siyabonga was magnificent.”

“The choir was great on Sunday. Everyone on top form. The reaction of us in the audience said it all.”

“We were in the audience last night. It was magnificent and captivating. Well done, the choir sounded excellent.”

“A very special performance. Most contemplative for Good Friday. Also, remarkable to know that on the bottom of Africa, we have sufficient singers and musicians to perform Bach, and an audience to enjoy it. Siyabonga is truly special and well loved, as is Brittany and the others whom we hear from time to time.”

“Well done everyone. You gave a great performance – dramatic and engaging. Well done! Give yourselves a pat on the back.”

CONCERT: J Haydn – Nelson Mass & W A Mozart – Coronation Mass  

“First SCJ concert of the year is a gem! Just a quick word of thanks for the magnificent concert you gave on Sunday,  the choir were as sublime as ever …… I realise you are ‘battling away’ in very challenging times and I hope you realise how very much you and your team are appreciated.”

“I don’t know who to thank for this afternoon’s concert. But, it was absolutely amazing. Congratulations to all but more so to the choir. I had goosebumps & even a few tears with the Haydn mass. It just breaks my heart to see the empty choirs. SCJ is absolutely world class. So many miss out on this privilege at our front door.”

“To every choir member thank you that was a magnificent effort. You raised your effort to new heights. My dear soprano friends you were outstanding. The sound was so mature and rounded and beautifully pitched. I’m so proud of you all. Wish I could have joined you. Even today I’m still on a high.”

CONCERT: Various composers: Symphony Choir Birthday Bash  

“We had the privilege of being at your SCJ Birthday concert last Sunday. It was a wonderful celebration!! Well done to you and your team!!”

“A huge thank you to you, the choir, the soloists, and the orchestra for a really wonderful concert last Sunday. It is amazing how music has the power to restore the soul and bring
a sense of joy back into one’s heart in these incredibly disturbing times we find ourselves in lately.

You deserve a very big medal Richard for the wonderful things you have done in keeping classical music alive in SA through all the trying times and for bringing so much joy to so many of us
music lovers over the years.

Please keep up the wonderful work you are doing and know that you are hugely appreciated!!

With many thanks and blessings.”

CONCERT: G Rossini Stabat Mater & R Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs  

“Thank you again for a wonderful & unforgettable evening. I was in total awe.”

“Yet another wonderful concert from you on Sunday,  the choir were as sublime as ever ……”

“Thank you for another wonderful performance of an impressive work. Utterly wonderful. Siyabonga was magnificent.”

“The choir was great on Sunday. Everyone on top form. The reaction of us in the audience said it all.”

“We were in the audience last night. It was magnificent and captivating. Well done, the choir sounded excellent.”

“A very special performance. Most contemplative for Good Friday. Also, remarkable to know that on the bottom of Africa, we have sufficient singers and musicians to perform Bach, and an audience to enjoy it. Siyabonga is truly special and well loved, as is Brittany and the others whom we hear from time to time.”

“Well done everyone. You gave a great performance – dramatic and engaging. Well done! Give yourselves a pat on the back.”

CONCERT: G F Handel – Messiah

“Wonderful! To be able to read the words was extraordinary – it added a great deal.”

“Thanks to all we really enjoyed the concert.”

“A huge thank you for being able to attend last night’s fabulous concert. The pre-concert talk added immensely to being able to appreciate Handel’s masterpiece.”

“Last night’s Messiah was glorious. The pre-concert talk helped enormously and the words on the screen are great. The choir and orchestra each wonderful, the soloists were great; the soprano sang her heart out, it felt as if she was worshipping – my impression. All in all, wonderful.”

CONCERT: W A Mozart – Requiem

“Wow! To sing the entire Requiem behind a mask, couldn’t have been easy. I sneaked a few notes behind mine and shed a few tears too. Congrats to all & love to Richard, he hasn’t changed a bit.”

“Thanks to all concerned with the obituary item. It was handled with great sensitivity and Jenny was very happy with the way that you managed to do it. As for the music, just great!! Thanks to all for a special day.”

“The concert was magnificent, thanks to all. I look forward to more.”

“Congratulations to you all on yesterday’s very special concert. Wonderful. The “Roll of Honour” was a wonderful idea and really made us aware of the scope of loss over the past year.”

“Thank you for a wonderful afternoon. The concert was magnificent with the choir in full voice and the orchestra and the four soloists in superb form. You all made for a great day!
As one of my guests wrote to me this morning: “Congratulations on continuing to support the orchestra and choir which appear to be the last vestige of musical culture remaining in South Africa!” Looking forward to the next concert.”

“I just wanted to thank you for yesterday’s concert. It was beautiful, very special and the In Memoriam was extremely moving. So good to have live music again and I look forward to lots more this year.”

“Thank you for EVERYTHING. EVERYONE we talk to that were there cannot stop raving – it was a great event. BAIE DANKIE”

“An enormous thank you to you, Richard, the choir, the orchestra, the soloists for a wonderful concert yesterday. We were expecting some other items besides the Requiem itself, and the choice of pieces was brilliant. The sound the choir produced while singing in masks was amazing and the soloists were so good – especially our favourite Siyabonga. So glad he was here for such a special occasion.
I’ve always loved the tune of Bist du bei mir, and with Siyabonga’s beautiful voice, tears were inevitable. As they were with the roll call of those we have lost; such a sensitive and moving tribute.”

CONCERT: L v Beethoven – Symphony no. 9 (the choral)

“Dear Richard, and all your wonderful musicians,

Many Congratulations to everyone ( and most of all to YOU) for the STUNNING performance of Beethoven’s Ninth on Sunday.
I do, as a musician myself, know full well the hard work that goes into such an exercise, but the way you brought everyone to the peak of perfection was amazing.

“Congratulations with another successful JIMF: Yesterday’s performance of the 9th was an experience I will never forget.”

“Congratulations on a very moving B9! I had goose bumps all over and together with the EU-Ambassador shed a tear or two.”

“To-day was a triumph and heart-warming to see the enthusiasm. I was not too happy to drag myself in the heat and my cool garden but as Gary said: Cela valait le detour. Congratulations and well done. It is a huge amount of work. What I saw this afternoon, the excitement of the crowds, some of them could not control themselves, makes me think that in fact, people love classical music without even realising. Nothing new in fact.”

“I cannot believe to express my total JOY at the performance yesterday. It was just unbelievable. I cannot thank enough every person on stage who (for me) made it the event of a lifetime.”

CONCERT: J Brahms – Ein Deutsches Requiem

“Superb performance – the choir and soloists were on top form.”

“What a treat – Brahms’s Requiem performed to the highest standard.”

“…thoroughly enjoyed your performance of the German Requiem – please let it not be years before you put it on again!”

“Your German Requiem was so good. I was especially moved and impressed by the choir. I know a number of recordings of great performances. None of them has the attention to the words and the meaning that you achieved. I always have to follow the script when listening to the recordings. And, as you know, I really value the display of a parallel text. This time, though, I enjoyed the display (very well done), but didn’t really need it. The words were amazingly clear and meaningful.

What an achievement. I valued highly the Gerontius, the Missa Solemnis and both Passions under your direction, but none more than this.”

CONCERT: A Vivaldi – Gloria & J Rutter – Feel the Spirit

“Thanks so much for a wonderful concert and I have been meaning to write and say how much we enjoyed it. The choir really impressed us – their diction was perfect!! Minette was a new soloist as far as we were concerned and we wondered what we were in for, as she looked quite serious, but didn’t she just enjoy herself in the Rutter pieces? We loved her and hope she can make it up from Stellenbosch to join the choir again some time. I think that sponsoring the choir is one of the best ways we spend our money every year and it always gives us such pleasure to be able to bring friends with us.”

“Glorious! Can we have it all over again , please!”

CONCERT: G F Handel – Messiah

“I certainly have not heard the choir sing the Handel as gloriously as you did this year. It was truly uplifting.”

“The Messiah was amazing.  I had an 80+ year old pal, Edward, with me who had sat at the organ where Handel played and composed the Messiah, in Ireland.  And, having seen several Messiah performances, including in Ireland, Edward, said that this was the best performance he’d ever attended.  Well done to you all, I too, thought it was spectacular. It all came together and made sense and was truly beautifully performed.”

CONCERT: W A Mozart – Requiem

“What a wonderful concert yesterday morning – congratulations to the choir they were fantastic, also the orchestra and soloists. Must confess to having goosebumps for most of the concert! How I miss being in the choir but at least I do manage to see most concerts. Looking forward to listening to the concerts during the year.”

“A big round of applause for yesterday’s Mozart requiem. Beautiful balance among all parts of the gathered forces and super set by the conductor . The soloists were nicely matched — most especially the two men, imho. Five stars.”

I was fortunate enough to attend the Mozart Requiem yesterday and was bowled over by the wonderful performance – what a lovely experience – myself (56) and my two pensioner friends were thoroughly transported by the talent and the excellence of the entire hour!
From a layman who loves music and greatly admires the talented people who share that love of music and performance, I’d like to add my congratulations to the many I’m sure you’ve already had.
I was encouraged by the attendance of many younger people at the show on Sunday – I was expecting an all-crocheting audience!”

“I really enjoyed the Mozart Requiem Mass at the Linder Auditorium on Sunday, February 3rd 2019. It was EXCELLENT!”

CONCERT: Various Composers & Poets – WWI Remembrance Concert w/war poetry read by Peter Terry

“I can vouch for the comments made by you, Richard, about the Armistice Concert on Sunday – 11th day of the 11th month at 11.00 a.m. exactly 100 years since the end of WW1. The concert was SUBLIME! Don and I were hugely moved by the programme – and I was in floods of tears from start to finish – especially listening to Nic Nicolaidis singing and also The Last Post performed at the end of the programme. The beauty and promise of Nic’s magnificent tenor voice was clear many years ago and his future success easy to predict. He was superb on Sunday 11th – and Richard your orchestra and choir are truly breathtaking – “goosebumps stuff”! We especially loved your insistence on no applause at any point during or after the concert. This made it even more reverential. Thank you so much – to you and your orchestra and choir. Truly magnificent and hugely moving from start to finish. Don and I thought that standard was world class!
We greatly look forward to your future concerts of the Festival Orchestra and Choir, Richard and wish you everything of the best keeping the orchestra alive, well and thriving.”

“Thank you for this deeply moving and reverent concert. The choice of music was so appropriate and the poems and words complemented the music. The fact that there was no applause added to the reverence and mood. Nicholas Nicolaidis sang beautifully. How his voice has matured since he started with the Chanticleer Singers so many years ago.
Peter Terry, whose voice is now a part of my morning, read with such heart and feeling. Thank you once again, Richard, for this beautiful performance.”

“Malcolm and I attended the Remembrance Concert yesterday at the Linder Auditorium, and as befitting the occasion everyone was requested not to clap. I therefore wanted to send this note to congratulate you on an amazing concert! What a tribute to those who lost their lives 100 years ago. And to have poems read during the concert put everything into perspective. Well done!!”

CONCERT: Benjamin Britten – War Requiem

“The performance of Britten’s War Requiem last night was very impressive indeed. The choir was amazing, the orchestra of young musicians impressive, and the diffrernt orchestral segments excellent. It was one of the best musical performances I have ever attended. Thank you very much indeed.”

“An extraordinary, epic and moving performance.
That it all came together on the night was a masterpiece of talent, dedication, application and no little passion.
The reaction to each other in the members of the orchestras, choirs soloists, not to mention the conductors, said it all.
Thank you all for the privilege.”

“I would like to thank you and congratulate you again with the wonderful performance last Tuesday of the War Requiem. It must have been a mammoth task to make it happen. It was an unforgettable experience to sit in the Linder auditorium and see and hear such a wonderful performance of the work. The collaboration and cooperation between all the groups(You and ensemble on the side, choir at the back of the hall, huge choir and orchestra on stage!) worked so seamless and beautiful together. Please congratulate the members of the JFO with their excellent playing, as well.
I also really enjoyed Sue’s introduction at the beginning and heard her speak from the heart which set a perfect mood for us in the audience to be open and receptive for what were to follow.
Thank you so much.”


“Just want to tell you how much we enjoyed the concert last night. Our thanks to all the wonderful people for all their time and effort. It was amazing.”

CONCERT: Leonard Bernstein – Chichester Psalms & Carl Orff – Carmina Burana 

“Carmina Burana was more than brilliant. Congratulations to you, the Orchestra and Choir. Loved every minute and found myself jumping out of my seat SHOUTING BRAVO. I simply love all your concerts, thank you.”

“I find myself booking for Concerts that I originally had no intention of attending, such as this past weekend’s Carmina Burana & Chichester Psalms. From the 1st note I was glad that I had been persuaded to attend – quite a few fellow JHB Bach Choir Members were also in attendance & each one of us had raving reviews. It is wonderful to observe & to listen to a full stage of musicians & singers doing their thing: just when you think the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg can’t get any better, they show you that they indeed can. The two soloists were excellent (we no longer expect anything less). Obviously none of the above could, or would have occurred without the guiding baton of the Maestro; thank you for once again giving us an afternoon that warmed our hearts, souls & bodies.”

CONCERT: K Jenkins – Stabat Mater

“There are only two words with which I can describe Friday’s performance of the Stabat Mater at the Linder: Absolutely Magnificient! What a powerful and emotionally charged performance! The singing, timing and enunciation by the choirs and soloist was spot on and wonderful. There were times I was close to tears. (In this respect it was very useful having the translation of the words on the overhead screen). I especially enjoyed the music and how the different sections of the orchestra had an opportunity to lead at different times – so often the brass, reed and percussion sections seem to merely provide backing to  the strings. It was obvious that a lot of time, effort and practicing had gone into preparing for the performance. Please pass my thanks and appreciation to all involved.”

“ A thousand thousand thanks to you, the wonderful orchestra, absolutely stunning choir, flawless instrumental soloists and the fabulous fabulous mezzo soprano with her rich, deep, earthy voice.  In the Sancta Mater (a thrilling blend of orchestra and choir) I loved watching and hearing the brass and percussion echo each other.  As the conductor, you truly drew the very best out of every element in each and every piece.  It was my first experience of a Stabat Mater and well rewarded.  The whole experience was beyond putting into words, so so beautiful. I wish it had been recorded!  Maybe next year?  And please do the Karl Jenkins one again.  We sat right at the very top of the auditorium—the sound and the visual were just amazing—one felt a sense of being able to absorb the whole thing. Thanks again!”

“I congratulate all the musicians on Friday night’s sterling performance of Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater. I was surprised to see that this work is but a mere 10 years old – what a moving piece! From the first note of the “Cantas Lacrimosus” until the final Amen in the “Paradisi Gloria”, we, the audience were spellbound & riveted to our seats. Through the wonderful combination of sound & sight, we experienced the darkness of hell with a grieving Mary, to the joyous celebration of the risen & ascended Lord Christ! Violina Anguelov’s mystical & yet so authentic rendition of the “Lament” was passionately Arabic. Both Choirs did the work full justice – I echo your comment to the singers afterwards: “Well done, Sops!” The Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, once again, outshone themselves – when one is of the opinion that they just cannot get any better, they surprise us by showing that they actually can. Wow! I am still amazed at the musical accuracy & dexterity of the percussionists. And my favourite . . . the brass; Philip & his co-trumpeters were in top form, as per usual. Please convey my thanks to everyone who participated in making this an unforgettable event. Obviously, all of the above would have been mediocre if you had not been on the Podium; as I have mentioned before, we are blessed to have a multi-talented Musician of your calibre at the helm of various music entities.”

“Many congratulations for a spectacular concert – “Stabat Mater” on Good Friday. I did not know “Stabat Mater” and I have never heard anything quite like it, so unusual, moving and superb was it! Violina Anguelov’s voice, a true contralto , not a Mezzo trying to be one, was very lovely with pure deep notes.”

“My husband and I went to listen to Stabat Mater on Good Friday. We had no idea how beautiful, polished and emotional the production would be! We loved the balance of the larger than usual choir and the orchestra was superb. Had I known, I would have invited all my friends and family to join us. Congratulations on all the wonderful work you do, and on an absolutely superb concert. Please put it on again sometime soon.”

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


“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!”


“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 . . .

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 “

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”
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 

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 


. . .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! 
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  

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 

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 

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

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 

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

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

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