Tracing Lines – Music by Robert Fokkens


Catalogue No: MSV 28535
EAN/UPC: 809730853524
Artists: , ,
Release Date: January 2014
Genres: , , ,
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 71:24

First recording of atmospheric chamber and solo piano works by South African composer Robert Fokkens, ranging from the abstract and universal (Nine Solitudes) to the overtly African-inspired, full of colour and vigour, the album also including the song ‘Africa’ set to texts by David Diop.

The Fidelio Trio is: Darragh Morgan (violin); Robin Michael (cello); Mary Dullea (piano)

Track Listing

    Robert Fokkens:

  1. I. Tracing Lines – I (2:28)
  2. II. Tracing Lines – II (5:41)
  3. III. Tracing Lines – III (3:51)
  4. Inyoka Etshanini (6:39)
  5. I. Mammals of Southern Africa – Ingwe (Leopard) (1:34)
  6. II. Mammals of Southern Africa – Southern Right (2:12)
  7. III. Mammals of Southern Africa – Mob of Meerkats (2:58)
  8. IV. Mammals of Southern Africa – Lioness with Cub (3:48)
  9. V. Mammals of Southern Africa – ImVubu (Hippopotamus) (5:24)
  10. I. Nine Solitudes – No. 1 (2:16)
  11. II. Nine Solitudes – No. 2 (3:08)
  12. III. Nine Solitudes – No. 3 (1:48)
  13. IV. Nine Solitudes – No. 4 (0:49)
  14. V. Nine Solitudes – No. 5 (0:33)
  15. VI. Nine Solitudes – No. 6 (2:15)
  16. VII. Nine Solitudes – No. 7 (1:28)
  17. VIII. Nine Solitudes – No. 8 (3:09)
  18. IX. Nine Solitudes – No. 9 (1:35)
  19. On Disruption and Displacement (6:05)
  20. Irroncilable Truths (6:47)
  21. Africa (6:46)



This extremely appealing disc is the first devoted to the music of South African composer Robert Fokkens. it is clear that his identity as an African composer is very important to him, and there is certainly overt influence from traditional South African (especially Xhosa) music on his style. The main adjective that comes to mind when hearing Fokkens’s music is lucid—the pieces are nearly all very transparent in texture and harmony, and yet there is great personality and individuality in the writing. Several of the pieces make truly beau­tiful use of microtonal elements, within an accessible and luminous sound world. Each of the seven pieces has something striking and compelling about it. Though it’s still very early in the year, this terrific album is almost cer­tainly Want List material.

” —Carson Cooman
Composition Today

[This] new disc is everywhere infused with the spirit of [the composer’s] home country. The result is a musical surface full of capricious interest. There is never a hint of banality. Fokkens also extracts considerable traction out of seemingly unpromising musical ideas. A highly rewarding programme of music.

” —Christian Morris

Fokkens’s well-defined compositional voice combines native South African with broader international musical concerns. Fokkens has been well served over the last decade by a growing number of performers and ensembles committed to his work, not least those represented on this disc, who offer here compelling, sympathetic accounts of his development in the field of chamber music.

” —Edward Venn

[Robert Fokkens] acknowledges the debt of inspiration he owes to South Africa for his unique musical language which also benefits from other distinctly recognisable global trends, not least minimalism. His voice is in any event a mature and distinctive one, which deserves to be more widely heard. The compositions presented here are structurally compact, technically assured, with firm intellectual underpinning and possess a compelling communicative power. Members of the Fidelio Piano Trio provide the backbone to this excellent disc, and are joined by the soprano Patricia Rozario and the bass flute of Carla Rees; all of whom contribute committed performances throughout. This disc is immensely enjoyable and thought-provoking to listen to.

” —Leon Bosch
Bachtrack (Review Of The CD Launch Concert In Cardiff)

Whole concerts devoted to the music of one composer can be risky affairs: a cruel test of how mature and robust a composer is. In a concert devoted to the music of the South African composer Robert Fokkens, given by the Fidelio Trio and opening Cardiff University’s 2013/14 series, both composer and performers came through […]

” —Peter Reynolds