PAMS choir to perform Gounod’s ‘St. Cecilia Mass’ in Pietermaritzburg


THE Pietermaritzburg Amateur Music Society (PAMS) will be presenting an evening of French Music in the concert, Musique Sacrée, at the Lutheran Church in Hayfields at 2.30pm on Sunday, May 21.

Musical director, Nigel Fish, has selected the Messe Solennelle of the 19th century Paris-born Charles Gounod as the main work on the programme.

One of no less than 16 settings of the Mass that he composed, this one is known as the St. Cecilia Mass as it was first performed on St. Cecilia’s Day (22 November) in 1855 – St. Cecilia being the patron saint of music and musicians.

Establishing Gounod as a major composer of his day, this work is scored for three vocal soloists. For this concert they will be sung by soprano, Annalie Herbst-van Rooyen, tenor,  Sandile Mabaso, and bass, Andrew Butler.

Says Fish:  “Its highly persuasive style is by turns gentle, exultant, stirring and yearning – if one listens carefully one can almost smell the incense – and unusually, ending with three rousing prayers: the Church, the Army, the Nation.”

Speaking about the works, Christopher says: “Léon Boëllmann was a younger contemporary of Gounod, and like him lived for most of his life in Paris.

“Although he composed music in a number of different genres, he is mainly remembered today for his organ music, and particularly the four-movement Suite Gothique which regularly appears on recital programmes around the world.

“The two movements being played in this programme are strongly contrasting. The ‘Prière à Notre-Dame’ is a slow, quiet meditation with a serene, song-like melody. The dramatic ‘Toccata’ presents a slightly sinister theme in the pedals accompanied by the continual rapid figurations on the keyboard which are characteristic of the French organ toccata as a genre.  It begins softly but ends with a powerful statement of the theme using the full resources of the organ.”

Tickets for Musique Sacrée – a programme of French sacred choral and organ music are R100 (R50 students) at the door or from Pink Heather at the Quarry Shopping Centre in Hilton.



Annalie Herbst-van Rooyen. Photo: Supplied


Annalie was born in Alberton and obtained her BA (HED) from the University of Pretoria. She taught for a few years and then focused full time on her singing.

During her time in the Cape she was soloist for the Messiah (Händel) with the Stellenbosch University Orchestra and the Canticum Novum Choir. She performed regularly for the Con Spirito Music association under leadership of Ernst Conradie and with Arthur Swann, Marietjie Pauw, Minette du Toit Pierce, Elna vd Merwe and Lisa Schoeman.
In 2007 she recorded her CD Late Harvest, which includes a variety of classical music ranging from opera to chanson. A second album followed in 2012 – My Hart Blom Wit.
Now living in Hillcrest, she performed with the Cape Town Youth Orchestra and currently teaches singing at Curro HCA as well as from home.


Andrew Butler. Photo: Supplied


Andrew Butler started his singing career at an early age and played leading roles throughout his school career. He was also chosen for the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir and served some four years as one of the lead soloists, touring Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Finland.

Andrew has performed as a regular soloist with PAMS, including the bass solo in Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Mozart’s Missa Brevis (K192) and Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs.

Andrew also performed the bass solo of Handel’s Messiah with the Durban Symphonic Choir in 2011 at Mariannhill Monastery; and with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra in the Royal Symphony concert held at the Royal Show under the baton of Jeremy Silver and alongside soloists Sally Silver (soprano) and Lionel Mkhwanazi (tenor).

In 2015, Andrew again performed with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra in the Royal Symphony concert, this time under the baton of Daniel Boico and alongside soloists Shelly Maclean and Annari van Jaarsveld.


Sandile Mabaso. Photo: Supplied


Tenor, Sandile Mabaso, began his musical training at the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School, under the direction of Christian Ashley-Botha.

In 2005 he obtained his Bachelor of Music from the University of Pretoria and while a student sang the roles of Tamino in The Magic Flute (Mozart), Alfredo in Die Fledermaus (Strauss).

He had his first professional engagement in 2006 singing the role of Inkos’ Mathole in Opera Africa’s production of Princess Magogo (Khumalo). He toured South Africa and The Netherlands with the show.

From 2006 to 2007 he was a member of the Cape Town Opera Vocal Ensemble touring Germany, France and Sweden in the productions of Showboat (Kern) and Porgy and Bess (Gershwin).

In 2009 he began studying with Prof. Werner Nel and was selected to participate in The International Baroque Symposium at the North West University; and has sung the roles of Acis in Acis and Galatea (Handel) and Puck in The Fairy Queen (Purcell) for Umculo Cape Festival.

In 2013 he was a finalist in the Mimi Coertse Singing Competition and a year later made his solo debut with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The German art-song has been his main focus along with his operatic endeavours. In 2012 he was invited to perform Dichterliebe (Schumann) at UNISA’s annual An die Musik recital. He has also presented this work at the Wakkerstroom Arts Festival, Tatham Art Gallery.

In 2015, he toured a programme of Baroque music with harpsichordist, Andrew Cruickshank along South Africa’s garden route.




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