Ngokuba Sizalelwe Umtwana

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Ngokuba Sizalelwe Umtwana is one of only five songs Moerane wrote to an isiXhosa text, rather than a Sesotho text, and it is possible that he wrote it after the birth of one of his own children. It uses the same text as Handel’s ‘For Unto Us a Child is Born’ from Messiah, but musically it is very different. Moerane clearly intended it as a church anthem, and it begins by referring to an old Xhosa tune from the Eastern Cape of South Africa (where Moerane lived for many years) called ‘Ntsikana’s Bell’. Moerane gradually integrates this declamatory opening into a style of slowly unfolding, richly textured harmonies that are more reminiscent of Brahms or Bruckner.