Founded in 1998 by students of Nicholaus Harnoncourt’s perfomance practice seminars in Salzburg, così facciamo has developed from an early music ensemble to a group committed to render fitting contemporary performances – that is, translating records of previous musical thinking into meaningful and lively contemporary expressions. Since the group has worked both in Europe and South Africa, it has expanded the scope of historically informed performances on period instruments to occasionally include contemporary as well African music. It sees its task to interpret and communicate music contextually on many levels – considering historical, geographical as well as contemporary circumstances.
The group’s name challenges the generic mainstream così fan tutte approach (‘as everyone does it’). In this context così facciamo (‘as we do it’) begs for some leeway from the all too formal concert conventions. It becomes a motto to follow a deliberately different and independent, even highly subjective approach in developing a performance style based on our very own priorities and convictions. As such it stands as a constant challenge to succeed in communicating music and engage in lively and immediate interactions with our audiences.
Depending on the repertoire – which spans from Renaissance lute songs to contemporary chamber music and fully staged operas – così facciamo performs in a variety of formations. After a decade of activities as touring opera company, it has gained a distinct reputation for its low-budget, yet high-impact Baroque-opera productions.
The Cape Consort is a Cape Town based ensemble, founded in 2011 and dedicated to stylish and historically informed performances of Early Music. Directed by the composer and Baroque cellist Hans Huyssen the group has given close to 90 concerts with more than 30 different programmes to date, exploring and presenting rarely performed Baroque and Renaissance repertoire.
Conceived as a flexible group, the Consort adapts its core forces of five singers and basso continuo to the requirements of the repertoire. Individual singers may appear in solo programmes or the group may be extended to accommodate a double choir of 16 voices. Period instruments such as viols, violins, recorders or theorbo join forces as needed.
Mahororo is an ongoing and exploratory musical project of two musicians with a special interest in historically informed performance practice of ancient music of their respective cultures. Convinced that the unique expressive realms and means of early music are a far too precious a gift of our ancestors to simply be discarded, yet equally aware of the impossibility to preserve ever changing traditions, both musicians have – in their own ways – embarked on quests of engaging with this heritage, reflecting and translating it into renditions, which would vividly or poetically speak to contemporary audiences.
The Shona term ‘Mahororo’ means ‘beautiful place’ and might by analogy roughly correspond to the western mythological notion of ‘arcadia’. Deliberately juxtaposing fully contrasting styles and idioms, Mahororo constitutes an endeavour at a two-way cultural translation, an intercultural dialogue, a respective musical acknowledgement, not only allowing and maintaining differences, but fostering and cherishing them as the very potential from which the resulting dialogue gains its meaning. Striving for the emergence of the inestimable asset of a truly shared space of intercultural understanding amounts to nothing less than catching a glimpse of the province of Mahororo.
Tinashe Chidanyika – Mbira dza vazimu | Hans Huyssen – Baroque cello