Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Peter and the Wolf Whistles

- Renee Finn -

Peter McEwan and Chrisna Smit presented an evening of music and song on Saturday 13th September at the Jans Rautenbach Schouwburg.

Both were in fine form as the evening started with Peter confessing that their first piece was a repeat from a previous concert, which he had had to cajole Chrisna into including: “Why do the Nations so Furiously Rage?” from Handel’s Messiah. Chrisna followed this with a crisp, cheeky Salon piece, “La Marche” by Frederick Muller.

Peter, the true Scot, in green kilt, sang “My love is like a red, red rose,” by Robbie Burns and Chrisna replied with a tender rendering of Edward McDowell’s “To a Wild Rose.” That really got us into a romantic mood for “If ever I should leave you,” from Alan Jay Lerner’s score for Camelot. Two works from Chopin followed: Nocturne Opus Posthumous and the popular “Raindrops” Prelude, Opus 28 No. 15. Chopin certainly appears to be Chrisna’s forte.

Peter sailed into the American folk song “Shenandoah;” then “Maggie,” by James Butterfield and “Dis Al,” by Jan F Cilliers, bringing just the right touch of pathos to the closing words of this Anglo-Boer War song. Before we could believe it, it was interval and time for that glass of red wine.

The second half presented a bit of fun with Chrisna’s performance of Albert Ketèlbey’s “In a Persian Market.” The audience really wished to join in with “haadjie-baadjie” at the moment of the Merchant’s theme, but no such luck! However, when the Beautiful Princess’ theme began, a veiled apparition appeared from the wings, hands raised above her head, wriggling her hips as in belly dancing! But wait, “she” was wearing a green tartan skirt and when “she” showed a bare, hairy knee there were cat-calls and whistles aplenty from the audience. Rosemary McEwan was heard to say: “So that’s where my kitchen curtains went!”

It took a moment or two for everyone to settle down for the “Floral Dance” by Katie Moss, followed by “Some Enchanted Evening” from Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. The audience enthusiastically joined Peter for a sing-a-long of Harry Lauder’s famous “End of the Road,” and there had to be an encore, so Ketèlbey stepped forth once more … to more catcalls and whistles. Well done, Peter and Chrisna, you launched Spring in style.

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