Reverie /Isimncgano (2000)

for double saxophone quartet or saxophone quartet and tape (quartet 1/live quartet: soprano, alto, tenor, baritone; quartet 2/tape: sopranino, alto, tenor, bass)

African Journal No 23b

For Peter van Bergen and Ensemble Loos

Publisher: Bardic Edition

Score BD; Parts BD in preparation

Duration: c. 12 minutes, 30 seconds

Programme note

The score is prefaced with lines from Olive Schreiner’s novel ‘Story of an African Farm’: … “of the joy of the dreamer no man knoweth but he who dreameth … without phantoms and dreams man cannot exist.” The musical material is derived from two vocal sources, one Shona and one San (Bushman), and is transformed by repetition and extension, superimposition and distortion. I suppose this is the stuff of dreams.

Meanwhile, having revised the work early in 1999, I subsequently noticed many fascinating parallels with the techniques of San rock painting during a visit to the remarkable paintings at Tandjesberg, near Ladybrand in the Free State. The coda was inspired by listening to a whole weekend of concerts of Charles Ives in London.

Peter van Bergen visited me in Grahamstown in 2000 and listened to recordings of my works; after hearing Reverie he asked me to transcribe it for the four saxophone players of Ensemble Loos. He liked the somewhat sadistic idea of the players “having to sustain those long notes”.