Sources of Information for the Catalogue

Source 1

Moerane signed and returned ‘Two Deeds of Assignment’ of his music to the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) when he joined this royalty collection agency in 1973 (Roos 1973). Gideon Roos, the first head of SAMRO also notes that Moerane returned notification forms ‘with the details of 65 compositions composed and/or arranged by you’ (Ibid). We know from other sources, described below, that before he died in January 1980 Moerane had probably composed far more than 65 works.

Source 2

The first thing that must be pointed out about SAMRO’s latest list of Moerane’s works, called Catalogue: Works by Michael Moerane 1909-1981 (2003), is that it gives incorrect dates for his birth and death: these are in fact 1904-1980. It has 89 titles, but these include arrangements of Moerane’s works and SAMRO’s own reproductions of his music made after his death. SAMRO Catalogue has 64 original titles, exactly as listed below, including the spelling:

Ba Tsabang Molimo (Yizani Nive)
Banoyolo (Ke Tla Bina)
Barali ba Jerusalema
Bokang Jesu
Chorale (Etude), for school orchestra
Ea Folisang Maloetse a Hao (Mbonse Uyehova)
Ea Hlolang
Fantasie from Sunny South (Fantasie from Sunny South), for piano
Fatse La Heso, for orchestra
Ha Ke Bale He
Hobane Re Tsoaletsoe Ngoana (Ngokuba Sizalelwe)
Hoja Ke Nonyane
In Hout Bay, for piano
Jehova Oa Busa (Psalm 93)
Joy-Ride from Sunny South (Joy-Ride from Sunny South),
Ke Rata Jehova
Leseli Le Hao (Thumo Ukukhanya Kwakho), (OT: Psalm 93)
Lonesome from Sunny South, for piano
Mehauhelo Ea Hao
Mitsa Mahosi
Moea, Oa Ka (Psalm 119)
Mohokare Monyako Oa Pelo
Monyaka Oa Pelo
Morena Tlake
Mosele (Musele)
Naleli Ea Meso
Naleli Ka Ngoe
Ngeloi La Me
Nonyana Tse Ntle
Nyene Le Bosiu
Paka Mahlomola
Paki Ha Li Eo
Pelo Le Moea
Pina Ea Masole
Rosalia, violin & piano
Rosalia [choir]
Satane A Tsema
Sunrise, for flute, 2 clarinets, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello
Tsatsi La Palla
Utloahatsang Lifela (Ndiya Kubulela Kuyehova)
Vizani Kum (Tlong Ho Na)
Vumani Ku Yehova
Why Worry, for flute, 2 clarinets, string quartet.

Problems with this list include mis-spellings - of ‘Tsatsi la Pallo’, ‘Leseli La Hao, ‘Hoja Ke Nonyana’, and ‘Likhohlo’ - and double listings - ‘Mohokare’ and ‘Monyako Oa Pelo’ as well as ‘Mohokare Monyako Oa Pelo’. Some of Moerane’s Sesotho works have been given isiXhosa titles here (probably not by him); sometimes sources for the text look like subtitles, ‘Psalm 93’ and ‘Psalm 119’. Not all the dual Sesotho-isiXhosa titles make sense: ‘Ea Folisang Maloetse a Hao’ means roughly ‘He heals your wounds/diseases’ but ‘Mbonse Uyehova’ means ‘show Jehova’. ‘Jehova Oa Busa (Psalm 93)’ is a case where ‘Psalm 93’ is a subtitle, but it turns up again for ‘Leseli Le Hao (Thumo Ukukhanya Kwakho) (OT: Psalm 93)’. The ‘OT’ is ‘Other Title’, and while the text of ‘Jehova Oa Busa’ is taken from Psalm 93, ‘Leseli Le Hao’s text comes from Psalm 43, which is written ‘XLIII’ on Moerane’s score. It is worrying. This is, after all, the official record of Moerane’s music made by a national music rights agency - which collects royalties on behalf of the family. Titles of works denote more than just ‘the work’; they denote intellectual ownership of a work. Moreover, SAMRO only has 23 titles for which it assigns ‘call numbers’, meaning that it only has copies of 23 of Moerane’s scores, and of these, only 13 are copies of Moerane’s original typescripts.

Source 3

Fortunately, Thuso Moerane had (in 2014) many of the remaining manuscripts or typescripts. He also had four lists of his father’s songs, three made by him and one by his father, which he kept together with the scores. One is called ‘M.M.M. Compositions and Harmonized Negro Spirituals’ and is on two pages, with 68 songs listed on page 1 (Figure 15) in three columns headed ‘Junior: SCC, Medium: SATB, Senior SATB’, and 23 of these listed again on page 2 (Figure 16), with the heading, ‘I don’t have the following’ (the orchestral work is not included):

Figure 15: First page of Thuso Moerane’s two-page list of ‘M.M.M. Compositions’. Thuso Moerane private collection, Komani, used with permission.

Figure 16: Second page of Thuso Moerane’s two-page list of ‘M.M.M. Compositions’. Thuso Moerane private collection, Komani, used with permission.

Titles not in the SAMRO Catalogue include ‘Lia qhomaqhoma’, ‘Sekolo se koetsoe’, ‘Kepe sa me’, ‘Maholotsane’, ‘Sentebale’, ‘Ngakana-ntsonyana’, ‘Botleng ba naha’, ‘Ntsoaki’, ‘Sa ’Mokotsane’, ‘Ma-Homemakers’, and seven of the ‘Negro Spiritual’ arrangements. Moerane’s arrangement of ‘Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen’ is however not on this list.

Source 4

Another of Thuso Moerane’s lists, headed ‘Lipina’ (Thuso Moerane private collection, Komani), looks like an earlier version of Source 3. It is in one column, attached to the RH side of the Mail & Guardian article mentioned earlier (Rickard 1988). Here, songs are again organised into Junior (SC and SCC), Medium SATB and Senior SATB, and they are in more or less the same sequence as in Source 3, with titles added by hand in each section. Some songs are evidently in the ‘wrong’ place with arrows indicating where they should have come. The titles are almost identical to those on Source 3 but there are more arrows, marks, and ticks and six songs are labelled ‘sacred’.

Source 5

‘Michael Moerane’s compositions and music harmonised by him’ (Thuso Moerane private collection, Komani), another of Thuso’s lists, is typed in blue ink and dated 20-06-2008, with the comment: ‘The most popular at the moment are Sylvia and Della in R.S.A. [South Africa] In Lesotho is Matlala. Compiled by his son Thuso (Mofekeng) residing - T96 Soga Street, Mlungisi Location, Queenstown 5320. Phone (045)838 4550’, followed by his signature and typed name. It lists Junior (19), Medium (34) and Senior (20) songs, 73 in all. This was only two years after Thabo Moerane’s death in 2006, and the fact that Thuso gives his clan name, Mofekeng - because the Moerane house is descended from the royal house of Bafokeng (Moerane, M.T. [n.d.], 1) - suggests that he may have made the list for the family’s benefit.

Source 6

Thuso’s list called ‘Price 15c plus postage’ (Fig 17) gives 32 songs plus one un-numbered, and is written in M.M. Moerane’s hand, in blue pen on a strip of lined foolscap paper.

1. Boputsoa III
2. Mohokare III
3. Bonukunyana (Pelo le Moea) III (25c)
4. Ngeloi la me III
6. Paka Mahlomola III
7. Liflaga III
8. Mankokotsane
9. Hoja ke Nonyana
10. Ha ke balehē
11. Naleli ea Meso
12. Satane a tšeha
13. Letsatsi (Lebili) (25c)
14. Monyaka oa Pelo (Likhohlo) (25c)
15. Khati
16. Sylvia
17. Alina

18. ’Mitsa-mahosi
19. Paki ha li eo
20. Morena Tlake
21. Ruri
22. Matlala
23. Barali ba Jerusalema
*24. Jehova oa Busa
*25. Lseli la hao
*26. Rorisang lebitso la Jehova
27. I got a Home (Negro)
28. I stood on de Ribber (”)
29. By an’ By (”)
30. ’Mankholikholi III
31. Nonyana tse Ntle III (a)
(with accomp) III b
32. Tsatsi la Pallo III
X Shenandoah

Figure 17: List of Works by M.M. Moerane, ‘Price 15c plus postage’, Thuso Moerane private collection, Komani, used with permission.

The list in Figure 17, which uses Moerane’s exact spelling, capitalisation and numbering, gives the price in cents rather than pence, which dates it to after the change of South African currency in 1961, and it includes ‘Matlala’ and ‘Barali ba Jerusalema’, both written in the mid to late 1960s. It must therefore have been written between sometime between the late sixties and Moerane’s death in January 1980. It cannot, however be the list that Moerane sent to Gideon Roos at SAMRO in 1973 (see above), which had 65 works. Works with ‘III’ after them are for three voices (SAA).

Sixteen titles of extant songs are not on this list: ‘Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen’, ‘Go Tell it on the Mountain’, ‘It’s Me Oh Lord’, ‘Witness’, ‘Liphala’, ‘Ea Hlolang’, ‘Lia Qhomaqhoma’, ‘MaHomemakers’, ‘Della’, ‘Ngokuba Sizalelwe Umtwana’, ‘Ntate Ea Mohau’, ‘Ntsoaki’, ‘Sa ’Mokotsane’, ‘Sekolo se Koetsoe’, and ‘Seotsanyana’. Their absence cannot be because Moerane wrote them later, for his list in Source 6 already contains two quite early works. Perhaps the missing titles were of works that were not priced, or not for sale.

There are only two songs on this list that are lost: ‘Boputsoa’ and ‘Liflaga’.‘Rorisang lebitso la Jehova’is listed by its Sesotho title only, the isiXhosa title (which is the main title at the top of the score) being ‘Vumani ku Jehova’. Three titles combine two songs in one: Bonukunyana - Pelo le Moea, Letsatsi - Lebili, and Monyaka oa Pelo - Likhohlo. This is because on the typescript one song ends on the same page that another begins, and perhaps for this reason they were sold together. It is not clear why the three more ‘religious’ songs are asterisked.

List of Missing Works

It is difficult to know what to make of the discrepancies between the above tallies, but I have attempted to make a tentative list of thirty-six missing works, eight of them instrumental or piano pieces, 28 of them for choir:

Instrumental and piano pieces:

Rosalia, for violin & piano
Chorale (Etude), for small school orchestra
Sunrise, for flute, 2 clarinets, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello
Why Worry, for flute, 2 clarinets, string quartet
Fantasie, from Sunny South, for solo piano
Joy-Ride from Sunny South, for solo piano
Lonesome from Sunny South, for piano
In Hout Bay, for piano

Choral pieces:

Ba Tsabang Molimo (Yizani Nive)
Banoyolo (Ke Tla Bina)
Bokang Jesu
Botleng ba naha
Ea Folisang Maloetse a Hao (Mbonse Uyehova)
Kepe sa me
Kerata Jehova
Mehauhelo Ea Hao
Moea Oa Ka (Psalm 119)
Naleli Ea Meso
Nyene Le Bosiu
Pina Ea Masole
Rosalia [SATB]
Satane A Tsema
Thaha e tala
Yizani kum

These works may have been lost or destroyed during one of the many times when the Moerane family moved house, or in house clearing after Moerane’s death, but a remarkable number have survived, nevertheless, thanks largely to Thabo and Thuso Moerane. There may be more surprises to come: in 1969, the former Principal of Lovedale Mission, Dr. R.W. Shepherd, recalled ‘an oratorio which Moerane wrote’ while he was teaching at Lovedale (De Jager 1969). If indeed it exists, not even the title of this work has survived.

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