NEW AFRIKAANS CHRISTMAS ORATORIO: LIG VAN WAARHEID Following the very successful performance and recording of Kruis van Liefde, the first Afrikaans Easter Oratorio in March 2021, the overwhelming response of the public inspired the composer, Franco Prinsloo, to compose another Oratorio. In this new Christmas Oratorio, Lig van Waarheid, he depicts the birth of Jesus – The Christmas Story. The oratorio was specifically composed for the Vox Chamber Choir.
The libretto for this brand-new Oratorio was compiled by Prinsloo and the well-known baritone, Chris Vale, and repurposes lyrical Afrikaans song texts from the Halleluja-sangbundel and the Koraalboek of 1956, as well as some texts form the Sionsgesange of 1945. The libretto for the recitatives were taken from the 1953 and 1983 translation of the Gospel of Luke.
“After seeing the wonderful song texts of the Halleluja-sangbundel and Koraalboek of 1956 anew, I again realised the incredible poetic value of these texts. I deliberately started collecting song texts that were unfamiliar to me with the specific purpose of composing this Christmas Oratorio,” Prinsloo explains.
“The texts possess a particular rhythmical ingenuity because they were written to be sung. It is incredibly exciting to breathe new life into these sometimes forgotten texts by setting them to new music,” Prinsloo continues.
Prinsloo and Vale purposely never looked at the original melodies and worked only with the text to ensure the final libretto consists of only poetic powerful lyrics. The outcome is a captivating new Afrikaans Christmas Oratorio which gives new life to old texts using fresh contemporary musical settings.
The story is told through an unusual combination of instruments: choir, soloists, a string orchestra, two trumpets, celesta, percussion, and a solo bassoon. In the final movement the inclusion of the organ triumphantly announces the conclusion of the Oratorio and links thematically to the Easter Oratorio, Kruis van Liefde.
Kruis van Liefde, was composed by using a choir for both arias and recitatives. In Lig van Waarheid, however, three soloists are used for the roles of Maria, Joseph and the angel Gabriel.
Prinsloo’s ultimate goal is to compose a trilogy of oratorios: Kruis van Liefde,
Lig van Waarheid and Kroon van Wonders. The libretto of the last of the trilogy, Kroon van Wonders, has already been partly completed by the author and poet, Hans du Plessis, and planning for a premiere in 2025 is already underway. The recording of Kruis van Liefde was nominated for two SAMAs earlier in 2022.
The world premiere of Lig van Waarheid will be on Sunday 27 November 2022 at 16:00 in the Groote Kerk, Cape Town. Prinsloo’s own chamber choir, the Vox Chamber Choir from Pretoria, will join forces with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra to bring this brand-new Oratorio to life. The composer himself will be conducting the work. Three soloists from the Vox Chamber Choir will be singing the roles of Maria (Marilize Hattingh), The Angel (Chris Vale) and Joseph (Wouter van Wyk Jnr).
Tickets for the world premiere of Lig van Waarheid with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra are available at Computicket or at this link: https://tickets.computicket.com/event/lig_van_waarheid/7200859/7200870/2135
For audiences in Gauteng, a special pre-concert of Lig van Waarheid will be performed on Sunday, 20 November 2022 at 15:00 at the Universiteitsoord-kerk in Pretoria. The work will be presented on this occasion as a version where the string orchestra has been reduced for the organ. The organist is the famous Isabelle van Rensburg. The tympani will be played by Magdalena de Vries, trumpets by Richard Kingon and Alex Urban and bassoon solo will be played by Esther Watkinson Tickets for this event is available at www.tixsa.co.za or at this link: https://tickets.tixsa.co.za/event/lig-van-waarheid-pretoria