Handel’s Water Music is one of the world’s best loved orchestral movements. Now, 300 years later comes the Desert Symphony, a ‘dry’ version of this water music, composed by an unknown, under the pseudonym, ‘The Stranger’.
George Frideric Handel’s patron, King George I, heard the first performance of the Water Music on a royal barge on the River Thames. The Stranger has chosen a place of equal geographical relevance: the famous NamibRand Nature Reserve in the Namibian desert.
The initial inspiration for The Desert Symphony was the 2017 visit of The Stranger to the desert hideaway of Wolwedans. Deeply impressed by his surroundings, he hatched a daring plan. Inspired by the extreme beauty and isolation of the NamibRand, his wish was to absorb the atmosphere of the extreme desert surroundings and to transform his experiences into daily, musical compositions.
A team of forty people made his dream come true. As Stephan Brückner of Wolwedans explains, “After days of endless work and many short nights, the cube, complete with grand piano, is in place.” It was indeed a huge challenge to transport a glass cube from Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek, to the middle of the desert, in order to create a sand proof shelter for The Stranger’s grand piano. From this desert outpost, he plays new passages from the resulting Desert Symphony every day of the month at dawn. If you would like to participate in this musical experiment and witness a compositional work that is designed to last for twelve years, please click on the following links. YouTube https://youtu.be/TuVAh-cnJ9c or Sound cloud https://stranger.org
Of course, Wolwedans is also the ideal place for the less ambitious traveller to experience the desert. It’s a magical spot, in whose infinite vastness and silence the soul begins to fly; a place of peace so profound, one almost hears one’s pulse; and where the cares of the world fall away.
The Wolwedans collection sits on a private reserve of 2000km2 and encompasses:
- Wolwedans Dunes Lodge,
- Wolwedans Dune Camp,
- Wolwedans Private Camp and
- Boulders Safari Camp.