Eleven A Requiem for a Parent

A concert performance of the Latin setting, composed for soprano, tenor, choir and orchestra by Cape Town-based composer-conductor, Steven van der Merwe


 Steven van der Merwe will be conducting the premiere performance of his composition, “Eleven – a Requiem for a Parent” on 11 November 2011 at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town at 7.00pm.


Eleven is a composition for soprano and tenor soloists; choir and orchestra. Janelle Visagie (soprano) and Nick de Jager (tenor) will be accompanied by the Pro Musica Divina Orchestra, 30 free-lance Cape Town professionals (directed by Steven van der Merwe). The choirs partaking will be the St. George’s Singers (directed by Dr Barry Smith) and the UCT Choir (directed by John Woodland).


Steven is an enrolled student at NMMU under the mentorship of Dr Peter-Louis van Dijk, well known South African and international composer and conductor. Eleven forms part of Steven’s portfolio towards his M.Mus (composition) degree. 


Steven reflects: “Oratorios and masses with orchestral accompaniment became my first love in music after my introduction to this medium by Dr. Barry Smith – then music director/organist at the St. George’s Cathedral and currently director at St. Andrews Music Academy. 

steven bio pic“ My father’s death on 11 November 2009 (at almost 11.00 am), was the catalyst that moved me to commence working on a Requiem.  The day after my father’s death a patient of mine sympathized with me and handed me a Poppy with a poem about Armistice Day: the day the First World War ended – on 11 November 1918 at 11.00am.  The significance of this date and time became an inspirational aspect and theme of the Requiem.

“Eleven could be described as a compassionate reference to our mortality, especially that of a soldier in World War 1 where the death toll was mind-numbing.  But its relevance extends to the grief that accompanies any war, and any loss of someone deeply important in our lives. It is however, not a morbid self-indulgence, but an attempt to draw from the ashes of sorrow an uplifting experience imbued with hope. 

“Eleven is an oratorio style Requiem that also allows the soul of the fallen soldier to speak. The poignant moments in the “dialogue” between the soldier and his guardian angel make the separation between what we know and what we hope for very real.”

Eleven – a Requiem for a Parent is a modern work with tonality at heart in the style of composers such as Faure and Durufle. Other works on the programme will include Elgar’s ‘Serenade for Strings’.

Steven has invited local artist (and international exhibiter), Ryno Swart to create an artwork that depicts these aspects of his composition on canvas.  This painting is to feature on posters; the program etc. and the completed work will be on sale after the premiere performance of Eleven

Eleven – A Requiem for a Parent

Date:                                    11 November 2011

Time:                        19:00

Venue:                     St. George’s Cathedral, Wale Street, Cape Town

Duration:                 Requiem (40 mins); complete program 90 mins

Ticket Price:            R 90

Bookings:                 http://www.webtickets.co.za

Email:                      docvan1@afrihost.co


For further news, reviews and interviews, follow the progress of Eleven – a Requiem for a Parent on the Pro Musica Divina page on facebook, and on ClassicSA’s webpage: