UP School of the Arts’ ‘Isiduduzo’ is a welcome lullaby and a feast for the eyes

Posted on April 11, 2020

This video clip, titled “Isiduduzo” (2nd movement), is the University of Pretoria (UP) School of the Arts’ creative response to a call made by the University’s Faculty of Humanities for sources of inspiration as the UP community, and the world, face the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Composed by Professor Alexander Johnson (Head of Music and Head of the School) with the design component of images assembled by Professor Amanda du Preez (Visual Culture Studies), “Isiduduzo” (2nd movement) is drawn from Imicabango (Impressions), written in 2010 as a commissioned work for the SAMRO Endowment for the National Arts. It is a gentle, almost romantic work consisting of three movements, one of his few works that is distinctly programmatic in nature. 

Prof Johnson grew up in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, and the three movements explore his reminiscences of the natural surroundings of the area. The first movement, Impumalanga (Dawn), as well as the second, Isiduduzo (Lullaby), are intimate expressions of first daylight and early evening with their accompanying sounds and emotional evocations while the third movement, Isikhwishikazana (Small whirlwind), is an animated impression of a wind that disappears as quickly – and as quietly – as it appeared.

This work is dedicated to South African flautist Cobus du Toit, who also gave its first performance at the Hugo Lamprechts Theatre in 2010. In 2014 the work was recorded by Liesl Stoltz (flute) and José Dias (piano) for two different CD recordings. It is also prescribed for the Unisa Grade 8 and Licenciate flute examinations (2011) and has already received numerous performances in South Africa and abroad.

Prof Du Preez says the following about the images: “The accompanying images are loosely interpreting the music, with themes of sleep and awakening running throughout. Also, the images flow through ideas of human ingenuity, communion and beauty.”

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