Stars (Ēriks Ešenvalds)

After clinking our champagne flutes to toast VOX Cape Town’s fifth birthday on Monday 27 July, the glasses have been carefully tuned to provide the glistening accompaniment to the sonorous, soaring lines of our third virtual project: Stars by Ēriks Ešenvalds.

It is said that Sara Teasdale (1884-1933), who composed the evocative words, was inspired to write her poetry after gazing up at the sparkling stars on dark, still nights. In his musical setting, Ešenvalds (b. 1977) has used the shimmering, ethereal overtones of tuned glasses to evoke the magic and mystery of the heavens.

South Africa possesses expansive night skies and a rich astronomical heritage. Carelize Jacobs, one of our singers, has produced a special video to marry our sounds with these celestial sights.

Stars was one of VOX Cape Town’s earliest showpieces and appeared in A Tale of Two Tave(r)ners and Trust the Silences in 2016. The music of Ēriks Ešenvalds has always been popular with our singers and audiences. Other pieces have included the nostalgic lullaby Only in Sleep and Northern Lights, whose “gently rocking, silvery waves on which dreams travel into unknown worlds” concluded our Baltic Voyage in 2017.

Alone in the night
On a dark hill
With pines around me
Spicy and still


And a heaven full of stars
Over my head,
White and topaz
And misty red,


Myriads with beating
Hearts of fire
That aeons
Cannot vex or tire;


Up the dome of heaven
Like a great hill,
I watch them marching
Stately and still,


And I know that I
Am honored to be
Of so much majesty.


Sara Teasdale (1884-1933, United States)

“Stars” by Ēriks Ešenvalds (b. 1977, Latvia)
VOX Cape Town
Conducted by John Woodland

Sound: Kyle Paulssen
Mastering/Consultant: Grant McLachlan
Acting: Crystal Bezuidenhoud
Video: Carelize Jacobs
Camera: Marcel Klopper
Acknowledgements: Sarah Buchner, Bruno Letarte, Rupert Spann and the South African Astronomical Observatory for the local sky footage
27 July 2020

Feedback from our third Virtual VOX project…



“This rendition gave me goosebumps! Thank you!”

“Awesome and inspiring!”