Maxym Music

Maxym Music CC was established as a child of necessity: subsequent to the world premiere of Mzilikazi Khumalo's "UShaka" in 1996, performed in my final authorised orchestral "enrichment and enhancement", the task of preparing the complete pianovocal score, in the dual notation of tonic sol-fa and staff notation, fell perforce by process of elimination and lack of funding sources on my shoulders. I secured the publishing rights from my other copyright colleagues Msimang, Khumalo, and James, but in order to do this legally at the time, as I was still a temporary resident of South Africa, it was necessary for me to establish a close corporation (CC) for this purpose.

I rapidly transferred all of my musical activities (conducting, composing, orchestrating, publishing, teaching, cultural anthropology, etc.) into the sphere of Maxym Music CC, so that its accomplishments represent an image of my musical life as a whole on the African continent. Students, choirs, soloists, orchestras, bands and universities throughout South Africa and abroad have dealt with me in this manner since 1996.

John Matshikiza, rest his soul, brought me the first rudimentary tonic sol-fa scores of his father Todd's music in 1996, while we were rehearsing the world premiere of "Ushaka", saying, "I think you might be the right guy to do some justice to my father's music; let me show you something." "Hamba Kahle", "Makhaliphile", and "Uxolo!" were the result. Having commenced work on them for the complete orchestral version in 1997-1999, they have remained active with me to the present day: the Maxym Music CC edition of "Three songs by Todd Matshikiza" in the arrangement for concert band was published early this year.

Peter Martens, noted South African cellist and close colleague of mine from many performances together in Pretoria and elsewhere, brought to me the complete orchestral and pianovocal scores to his grandmother's full-length, three-Act opera, "Children of Africa", which she composed in 1955 and immediately deposited in a drawer as "subversive" to the Apartheid regime, having found it in the same drawer in the family home in Capetown in 2000. I completed the "enrichment and enhancement" of both the orchestra and pianovocal scores in 2002. They remain unpublished in their entirety until today, the work also unperformed. However, the Suite from the opera in the version for orchestra with choral finale "Hymn of Africa" was published in February, 2002. Maxym Music CC will publish the same Suite from the opera, in the arrangement for concert band, later in 2009.

Cultural jewels, diamonds and rubies, were literally falling into my lap! In the process of the extraordinary musical experiences these works have provided me, and almost by osmosis (certainly not purposefully) I have come to realise that my place in the maelstrom of cultural winds swirling about his part of the world rests in one particular area: providing that bridge between the western and South African musical traditions, polishing and sculpting these South African cultural jewels, which would otherwise not, or only partially, be made accessible to the wider world, in a way which is acceptable, accessible and uplifting to both traditions. Orchestras, bands, and other ensembles the world over are given the opportunity to experience this music in performance spheres which are totally familiar to them, yet in which the original and unique qualities exhibited by the traditional South African music component never sacrifice an iota of dignity or integrity.

The values which high traditional culture can bring to the world, when put in proper form with equanimity and respect, are limitless indeed.

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Most recent update: December 2009, Webmaster