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Rebirth by Hilton Schilder

Hilton Schilder had a dream and in this dream he saw the keys of a piano above him and the piano was playing heavenly music. With the joy of waking in the morning, Hilton Schilder set about to re-create the heavenly music that was visually described to his sub-conscious only moments before. And by the grace of the almighty he was successful. Such a profound task of bringing heaven to earth fell into the hands of exactly the right person. Hilton Schilder is a pianist through and through. His father was a pianist. His uncle is a pianist. And a very fine one at that. And so is Hilton. It is his family dynasty, only he has taken a long and belaboured route to express himself as a great pianist. And this point of arrival was not at all easy. It took quite a few miracles such as coming back from the dead. That he did; cured from a seriously malignant cancer.

When Hilton Schilder had a dream, it became known by a young film maker in Cape Town by the name of Calum Macnaughton. When Calum heard the details of Hilton's extraordinary composition from dream time he compiled a wad of cash and requested he book himself into Milestone studios with the very special request: “The world needs to hear this.”

And Hilton obliged. I am listening to this recording with a flutter in my heart and a tear in the eye. For the music is deeply impressionable of the multi dimensional aspects of music making.


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The songs recorded at Milestones on that day are compiled into an album eponymously titled REBIRTH, for Rebirth is where it all began …

As the musician searched to the heavens he found truth in a pretty tinkering that took him home to his musical roots. He played the melodies of the Cape and then returned into the highest pitches of his eternal dreamspace a space made ancient by the Khoisan bow, a space made real by the hospitalised ostinato of a heart beating out of habit alone. But then from somewhere came that rush of heavenly music, that which strikes a chord within, that which transforms the piano into an instrument, that which reaches all parts of the emotional body, mind and soul.

The musician is touched once more by that which he knows and there is release. Release from trauma, pain, not knowing and not feeling. Feeling exists in the musical passages of our time and space. And thus when the listener goes beyond time and space, they return to the heavenly passages with the self-belief to follow the melody. And the melody becomes at once, a flowing and an outpouring of emotion with delightful trills and stirring dynamics. It is a classical melody that allows itself to be heard in all its simplicity and glory. Heavenly music is true of all ages and true of beauty. Through heavenly music we become sure that when the body rests, the soul journey's, and where the soul goes only angels will know. Thus the musician has discovered the eternal nature of the soul and so the melody is repeated in its delight, with its free floating intricacies and with more confidence and surety. A healing sound. And yet it is not complete, for true healing is the overcoming of uncertainty. Yet with the passages and time and experience the music of the song plays itself, and ancient becomes present. We are never alone. There is pleasure in the certainty of the uncertainty and thus the pensive ostinato flows into a soothing talkativeness of the musicians Cape Tonian nature.

And after the Rebirth comes an outflow of music, Hilton presents a composition titled Tesna Part 15, a gorgeous composition that is a relief resplendent with a buoyant joy. It is a story of accomplishment, a playful strut through the events of time. A meeting with the blight of youth. A seating with the warnings of wisdom. And a living through the eyes of optimism. Rhythm and melody dance together before withdrawing completely for an insightful and searing melodic pass, like a coming of age. Intensity increases, boldness advances. The composer is a learned musician, both hands play with each other, one with rhythm, one with melody, then both with space and silence.

Birsigstrasse 90, is a vision of another day that fits well right here in and amongst the heavenly awakening because surely it was at this location that the composer felt humanity. For such a deep and splendid sound produced unaccompanied is possible only with the power of an inner knowing. The music is a meditation of high accomplishment and the musician is aware of that as his fingers dance off in directions of delight with whimsical accentuations on the blue trills and racing lines of jazz. From inner knowing there is peace and out of peace there is improvisation. Got that and the musician returns to the melody, over and again, entrenching the awakening that he found in the experience that lead to this composition.

The composition Tesna Part 5, begins in earnest. It is a new day. A gentle musical passage, holding themes of the Tesna Part 15, but exploring it from a perspective of pain acknowledged. But after the pain, the beauty is so much clearer. It is through the darkness of the clouds that the brightest rays are often seen to pass. And here the music speaks in passages of power. The piano playing is complete. A steady rhythm meets a passing melody, played in the mood of chords linked with passing phrases and repeated lines. The musician affords a break from the theme and advances into a glorious rising solo as he shows a deep love for sound. For it is through sound that there is life. He returns to the theme, exploring it within deep melodic territory, but staying rooted in an infinitely recognisable sound … his sound … It is another Schilder from Cape Town, cutting it in his own way. A maestro pianist in his own way, no Man beside him, out there all on his own. He dances with the sound, this time he is completely free …

And this musical adventure closes with the composition, The Art of Flying. It is glorious as it rises into the sweltering depths of the most valid human perceptions of the soul. Fingers tickle the keys in a coherent rising and falling in a succession of events mirroring life, two steps forward, one back and the resolve of the faith in the power of the soul to take off to fly into the very heavens where we were made. It is an evocative piece of music. A resolve to the awakening that the composer had experienced in dreamspace at the very beginning of this project.

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