19 January 2023 | Story Gerda-Marié van Rooyen | Photo Supplied
Dr Danrè Strydom and Dr Grethe Nöthling
Two musicians – Dr Danrè Strydom (left) and Dr Grethe Nöthling (right) – recently recorded and released nine works by South African composers on streaming services. This is considered to be a true gem in the treasure chest of South African music, as very few musicians perform South African works, let alone record it.

Thanks to award-winning South African musicians, nine compositions – including well-known and beloved works and less familiar South African compositions – are now just one click away. Dr Danrè Strydom, a clarinettist, and Dr Grethe Nöthling, a pianist, made this treasure happen. 

These recordings are considered a milestone in the local music industry, as works by South African composers are difficult to find on local online platforms. However, Strydom, a Buffet Crampon Artist and Senior Lecturer in the Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the University of the Free State (UFS), joined forces with the South African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) and Mzansi composers to produce OPUS ZA, a selection of SA gems. It is possible to stream these recordings through Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, and TIDAL.

Among the composers featured are Matthijs van Dijk, Isak Roux, Peter Klatzow, Allan Stephenson, Noel Stockton, Stefans Grové, Clare Loveday, Hendrik Hofmeyr, and Alexander Johnson. “Unfortunately, three recorded composers (Stephenson, Klatzow, and Stockton) passed away before they could appreciate the final product,” says Dr Strydom. 

“Top-notch sound engineers recorded the first section of OPUS ZA in Belgium during a concert tour. Thereafter, the final part of the recording was completed at the Baxter Theatre at the University of Cape Town before it was released internationally by Aliud, a Dutch recording company, on 11 November 2022,” recalls Dr Strydom. She is also the Continental Chair of the International Clarinet Association (ICA).

Drs Strydom and Nöthling, a former piano and piano method lecturer in the OSM, have also previously worked together. They celebrated the South African artist David Griesel with their duet performance in the OSM Concert Hall in 2018. He created sketches that encapsulate the character of each work. “The drawing process was projected on a large screen while the original sketches were sold afterwards,” remembers Dr Strydom. Griesel’s music, as performed by the duo, is also included in the compilation. 

OPUS ZA could be an important source for woodwind players in particular, as well as students and lecturers who might use music for exams, competitions, and concerts in general,” shares Dr Strydom. Her music partner considers the CD to be unique. “I believe it is important to promote work by South African composers. Only some of their legacies are being kept alive. Few musicians perform South African works – let alone record it!" says Dr Nöthling, who is now employed at the Beau Soleil Music Centre in Cape Town.

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