Hello from the other side

Oscar Wilde’s famous quote, “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness”, makes me wonder what he would have said about my remarkable musical week? “To hear one brilliant woman pianist at the Baxter might be forgiven, but to hear two, sounds like greed!”

Well, I was not the only greedy guts to experience, on Saturday April 22, South Africa’s internationally known pianist, Petronel Malan, 43, making her first appearance in 10 years for Cape Town Concert Series in a recital at the Baxter Concert Hall. Then, on Tuesday April 25, at the same venue, youthful Yohan Chun was the dazzling soloist with the UCT Symphony Orchestra under Richard Cock. She played Ravel’s fiendishly difficult jazzy Piano Concerto in G Major, which was followed by Beethoven’s magnificent Symphony No 5 in C minor written when he was angry about going deaf.

Both pianists were a joy to watch: Petronel trim and elegant in her black vintage gown and reed-slim Yohan in a glittering full-length dress.

Both have long slender and expressive arms and perform with unquestionable confidence. Some pianists look as though they are doing battle with their piano. Others give the impression that they do it all on their own, but these two play fearlessly in partnership with the piano and you feel they cherish that partner.

Yohan is currently achieving great success in prestigious national music competitions including winning the Fine Music Radio Bursary Competition in 2016, the same year she matriculated from Rustenburg Girls’ High, my old school I’m proud to say. Her other interests include jazz and pop, and she has appeared as percussionist as an ad hoc member of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. She’s going far.

I was sorry to miss Petronel’s pre-Easter sell-out concert, her first appearance since 2005 in the City Hall with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. I remember the fuss in the mid-1980s when she made her debut aged 10 with the Johannesburg Symphony, but the Concert Series was the first time to see her up close and in performance.

Now living in Texas, Petronel’s audience is much wider, and she keeps in the public eye internationally not only through her performances and recordings but by public speaking, appearing on magazine covers, fashion spreads and even as picture-clues in crossword puzzles. She has been included as one of the 10 “Most inspirational Women in South Africa”.
She’s quite a gal.

Musical feast

My musical three days also included a few snatches of the “Last Night of The Proms” charity fund-raising concert on Saturday night April 22, organised by Wynberg Rotary.

For the first time, the event was broadcast live on FMR, courtesy of Gerlinde Moser of Remax.

As the extended interval included a street party, we were able to listen to the final moments in the car returning from Petronel’s concert.

Presenters Rodney Trudgeon and Waldo Buckle described the audience taking part in balloon races, Mexican waves and pelting the orchestra with the streamers which the musicians had to pull off their instruments before the finale – Land of Hope and Glory, written by Edward Elgar as part of his Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 for the coronation of Edward VII.

I liked the way Richard Cock, the conductor and MC, explained that this song traditionally ended the last night of the Proms in London’s Albert Hall.

It was sung all over the world in different languages at foreign Prom concerts, and he encouraged the Cape Town audience to sing of their own land of hope and glory – South Africa. And they did!

Noakes vindicated

I bumped into a smiling and relaxed Tim Noakes the day after he had been found innocent of unprofessional conduct over a single tweet to a breastfeeding mother on social media in February 2014.

Far from being disillusioned by tweets, he considers them to be the future tool to educate people because of the speed with which it is possible to pass around information of new research.

The success of his case meant that those health professionals who advised a conventional low-fat diet were wrong and they would now have to be retaught that the LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) diet was the way to go.

This diet is essentially high in healthy fats, proteins and vegetables and low in sugars and grain-based processed cereals.

I admired Tim’s fighting spirit after all he has been through. Personally I won’t touch a tweet with a bargepole.
Too many reputations have been wrecked by an unpopular tweet.

Showers of blessings

Just when I was thinking it had forgotten how to rain, we had thunder and lightning and lovely showers last week.
It didn’t soak far into the dry areas of the garden, but it refreshed the shrubs and plants and will return the brown patches of lawn to green. Hopefully some of our local streams will run again.

We were shocked when recently walking in the Silvermine Reserve to notice how empty the dam was. We had never seen it so low even in other autumns when the rains have been late.

Perhaps the level has been reduced by evaporation during our recent hot spell or by helicopter pilots scooping up buckets of water to fight the numerous fires we continue to have this summer, but whatever the reason, it came as a shock to see the usually constant dam, so depleted.

Hello from the other side

Why is it that if you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal? Someone always answers.

fionachisholm@iafrica.com