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Karoo Polfyntjies, for flute and two cellos with drumkit obbligato, was commissioned by the Holm family in Cape Town. The brief was to write a piece that would include every family member (three teenagers and two parents):

  • The daughter, a flautist
  • The older son, a cellist
  • The father, also a cellist
  • The younger son, a drummer
  • The mother was included through her love for Afrikaans poetry, Leipoldt being one of her favourites

It is inspired by C. Louis Leipoldt’s poem “Kom gee vir my Polfyntjie” – a ‘polfyntjie’ being an archaic Afrikaans term for a souvenir or a memento.

The first (professional) performance of this work will take place at Timeless Whispers on 14 October 2023 and will feature Catherine Stephenson (flute), Ashlin Grobbelaar (cello), Chris Njapha (cello) and Chris Burgess (drumkit). Read more about our guest musicians.

“Kom gee vir my polfyntjie”

Kom gee vir my polfyntjie,
Dit maak nie saak nie wat,
Die kleinste, nietigste lyntjie
Waardeer ek as ‘n skat.
Koop waar jy wil, by smouse,
Penswinkeltjies, net wat
Jy kry in Krismiskouse –
Dit bly vir my ‘n skat.

Net iets wat jy as joue
Betrag het, gee my dit –
Ek neem dit aan as goue
Gesteente tot besit.
En as jy eenmaal sterwe,
Dan pryk dit nog by my,
Gegee meer as geërwe,
As liefdeblyk gekry.

C. Louis Leipoldt (1880–1947)

Come bring me a trinket small,
It matters not what kind at all,
The tiniest, most humble line,
I’ll treasure it as if divine.
Buy it where you choose to roam,
From peddlers’ stalls or shops at home,
Even in Christmas stockings fine,
It stays a treasure, ever mine.

Just something you hold dear,
Bestow upon me without fear,
I’ll take it as a precious find,
A gem of gold to heart entwined.
And when you do one day depart,
It still adorns my beating heart,
Given, not inherited in line,
A token of love, forever thine.

Jan-Hendrik Harley

Jan-Hendrik Harley is a composer/arranger of classical and popular music, and also freelances as a performing and recording artist. He has enjoyed a number of premieres by professional and student ensembles in Africa, Europe and both Americas of works ranging from intimate chamber music pieces to electroacoustic and bigger orchestral pieces.
Jan-Hendrik holds master’s degrees from both the University of Stellenbosch and the University of North Texas, and is currently busy with a PhD in composition at Rhodes University. He is the music director of the new music group Ensemble Je Ne Comprends Pas and the Folk Baroque ensemble Here be Dragons.
VOX has previously worked with Jan-Hendrik and Here be Dragons for Follow That Star: A Traveller’s Companion to Christmas (2021) and our virtual Compendium of Carols “Rejoice!” (2020). We have also produced a virtual recording of his special composition Doubt Thou.