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Soldier's Tale & Van Hunks & the Devil
Soldier's Tale & Van Hunks & the Devil
11.05.2012 19.30 - 21.30
Odeion - Bloemfontein
Symphony Concert


The next concert of the Free State Symphony Orchestra (FSSO) will be an unusual one with seven musicians, a well-known radio personality, a drama student and a conductor on the stage. The programme consists of Stravinsky’s L'histoire du soldat (Soldier’s Tale) and the premiere of Martin Watt’s Van Hunks and the Devil with tongue in the cheek texts by Philip de Vos.

The story of Soldier’s Tale is based on an old Russian folk tale about a soldier who makes a deal with the devil, trading his fiddle for a book that predicts the future. Stravinsky scored the work for only seven players (violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone and percussion) and four speaking parts (the Devil, the Soldier, a Princess and an unseen Reader).  The musicians for this production are principal members of the FSSO: Denise Sutton (violin), Peter Guy (double bass), Chrisna Smit (clarinet), Marni van der Westhuizen (bassoon), Paul Loep van Zuilenburg (trumpet), Hendri Liebenberg (trombone) and Ian Roos (percussion). The speaking parts will be narrated by well-known OFM presenter Tim Thabethe and Kovsie drama student Marelize Visagie and the production will be conducted by Alexander Fokkens.

This is the tale of Hans van Hunks and of his friend named Nick;

Of rum and tobacco and things that make one sick.

Four hundred years or so ago: was a time of pomp and show.

Ladies dressed in frills and laces; lots of perfume; painted faces –

Near the mountain by the sea – What a jolly place to be!

The mountain top was flat, flat, flat. Mighty flat – and that was that!

Philip de Vos

Van Hunks and the Devil is the legend of van Hunks, a retired sea captain and prodigious pipe smoker who lived at the foot of the mountain circa 1700. He was forced by his wife to leave the house whenever he smoked his pipe. One day, while smoking on the slopes of the peak, he met a mysterious stranger who also smoked. They each bragged of how much they smoked and so they fell into a pipe-smoking contest. The stranger turned out to be the Devil and Van Hunks eventually won the contest, but not before the smoke that they had made had covered the mountain, forming the table cloth cloud.



R120 (adults)

R80 (pensioners)

R50 (students / scholars / groups of 10 and more)


Tickets are available from Computicket 




The Odeion is an intimate theatre on the campus of the University of the Free State with ideal accoustics for chamber music and symphony concerts.