THE LIFE AND WORK OF ROELOF TEMMINGH (1946-2012): A CONDUCTOR'S GUIDE TO SELECTED CHORAL WORKS
Scheepers, Gerhardus Stephanus
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Roelof Temmingh (1946-2012) was one of the most important composers and pedagogues of music composition in South Africa in the twentieth century. Temmingh, an immigrant from the Netherlands, dedicated his life to teaching composition in South Africa. Some of his more known students are Anton Els, Hans Huyssen and Bongani Ndodana-Breen. While Temmingh wrote only thirty-six choral compositions, totaling no more than four hours, the quality of the majority of these is such that he should be placed among other South African choral giants of the twentieth century. Temmingh’s music is often overlooked when programming Western art music from South Africa. Many of his contemporaries borrowed or imitated indigenous music from Southern Africa to bring attention to the political issues within South Africa’s socioeconomic climate in the second half of the twentieth century. Temmingh is one of the exceptions. He used his art as a vehicle for his own expression instead of making an artistic political statement. In this dissertation I will assert that modern-day composers should use caution and avoid diluting individual music cultures by blending them into a single conventional identity without being truly informed in all aspects of the culture that is being ‘borrowed’ from. Temmingh did exactly the opposite in the majority of his works and therefore stood out from many of his contemporaries by staying firmly rooted within his European educational background. This aspect, however, does not constitute the primary focus of this dissertation. This study is divided into five chapters and an epilogue. The first chapter introduces the relevance of and need for the study. It provides a short background on Roelof Temmingh and goals of the dissertation. The second chapter contextualizes Roelof Temmingh’s life and work through a discussion of the history of choral music in South Africa followed by a brief biographical discussion of his contemporaries and their representative works. The chapter concludes with a summary of the cross-cultural integration in their music. The third chapter presents a discussion of Temmingh’s compositional style using representative works to highlight certain aspects of the style, or attributes. Chapter Four contains an annotated catalogue of a selection of Temmingh’s choral works. Editorial comments and suggestions on six selected pieces are presented in Chapter Five; the six pieces are attached as appendices. Finally, the epilogue provides recommendations for further research based on the findings of this dissertation, as well as concluding remarks regarding Temmingh’s place as composer in a post-Apartheid South-Africa. The ultimate goal is to provide choral conductors with an analytical and practical guide to a broad selection of choral works by Temmingh, which will serve as a teaching tool to better enable both conductors and ensembles to understand the structure of Temmingh’s music.
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