Slice of life: Faithful hearts vibrating

 

 

Basically, you have an organ recital at the beginning and at the end of the mass, so that’s what I do. That’s the bit that I enjoy and that I practise quite hard. I play [Johann] Bach ’cause it’s pretty much religious. He always said everything he wrote was religious. There are a few that I do. I also play some of the cantatas, the most famous being Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. I also like them ’cause there’s a rhythmical swing to the music; his almost-jazz riffs off the melody that he uses for counterpoint. He starts the melody in one hand and moves into all these other voices. That’s one of the big tricks that jazz musicians do — they riff the melody. He does it all on one instrument.

At St Stephen’s it’s a 128-pipe organ, so when you turn up the volume you get a serious alarm throughout the neighbourhood. But by law you’re allowed religious freedom, so I turn up the volume.

I was playing Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. This happened at the end of the mass and people were walking out of the church. I was very happy with my efforts because it’s a very beautiful tune. I was expecting a fantastic reception, something that I would say had moved the hearts of the faithful, especially ’cause some had sung along to the choral bit.

Most of the congregation, they’re generally retired.

This one lady approached me and had her hand on her heart. I was expecting her to say that I’d moved her heart. Instead she said: “It was a wonderful rendition. It actually vibrated my pacemaker.”


I realised it was actually a nice way of saying: “You were playing that way too loud.”

I had to tone it down after that. — Adrian Cornelius (53), the organist at St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Sunninghill, as told to Beauregard Tromp

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Beauregard Tromp
Guest Author

Related stories

Dancing out of the maelstrom: Mo Laudi rejigs ‘Afro Bolero’

The South African DJ and producer worked with Philipe Cohen Solal on ‘Afro Bolero’, a pan-African collaboration

Is kwaito an old thing yet?

Kwaito was born during South Africa’s transition to democracy and lives on as a kind of heritage

Nostalgia, connection and the nomadic sound of Mx Blouse

Mx Blouse talks about their sonic influences and how these fused together to shape their debut album, 'Elementality'

Soul Assassins: Mx Blouse selects six producers who are vital to their sound

From Micr. Pluto and Eye-On Feather to Parabyl, Mx Blouse has worked with a diverse range of producers who have all helped to shape their debut album, ‘Elementality’

Msaki sings, and we heal

Msaki views her singing as a space from which to gather strength and courage

Review: On ‘Twice as Tall’, Burna Boy bends Afrobeats to his will

Burna Boy’s fifth studio album, ‘Twice as Tall’, extends beyond the hype to reveal the Afrobeats star’s vulnerability
Advertising

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

SAA in talks to recoup R350-million in blocked funds...

The cash-strapped national carrier is in the process of recouping its blocked funds from Zimbabwe, which could go towards financing the airline’s business rescue plan

The natural resource curse in Cabo Delgado

A humanitarian crisis looms as a violent insurgency continues to sweep over northern Mozambique. As many flee to safety, the question remains: who, or what, fuels the fire?

Unions cry foul over SABC dismissal costs and retrenchments

Broadcaster bodies say claims that a recent skills audit is unrelated to retrenchments are ‘irrational’

Gas: SA’s next “battleground”

As government pushes for a huge increase in electricity generation from gas, serious questions are being raised about the logic behind the move
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday