Ngokuba Sizalelwe Umtwana
Ngokuba Sizalelwe Umtwana is one of only five songs Moerane wrote to an isiXhosa rather than a Sesotho text. He may have written it after the birth of one of his own children in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, where isiXhosa is the main language. Ngokuba uses the same Old Testament text as Handel’s ‘For Unto Us a Child is Born’ from Messiah (‘ngokuba’ means ‘because’ in isiXhosa), but musically, it is entirely different. Moerane composes it like a church anthem and the work begins with a remarkable reference to an old Xhosa chant from the Eastern Cape , called ‘Ntsikana’s Bell’. He gradually integrates this unison opening into a style of slowly unfolding, richly textured harmonies sometimes reminiscent of Bruckner; such was his extraordinary gift at blending musical traditions from Africa and Europe. In order to help choirs learn this long song (74 bars), a free mp3 of the lyrics spoken by Nosipho Rapiya is downloadable when the song is purchased along with a rehearsal mp3 of the song at a slow tempo.
The audio sample below was generated from the Sibelius file of the score and the image on the right shows the first page of the score.