Mohapeloa’s Lehlabula (Summer) paints a lazy picture of drifting clouds, warmth, rain, and fertile mountain slopes: “The times of snow and wind are gone”, the lyrics say, “the countryside is magnificent, wearing a blanket of greenery from the rain and the warmth. The sky is decorated with circles of slowly moving white clouds. Everything is pleasing, even the thunder, kirrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” A portrayal in words and music of Lesotho’s summer landscape, whose occasional thunder is a relief to farmers after the long, cold, dry winters in this tiny mountain kingdom of southern Africa. Lehlabula is a gentle barcarolle for 5-voice choir (SSATB) with a hint of ‘Silent Night’ in bar 17 to remind us that Christmas in the southern hemisphere is in summer. Mohapeloa first published Lehlabula in 1935, in a collection called Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika (Songs and Sounds from Africa).
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Lehlabula (vocal score) - R 19.00
Anyone brought up in Lesotho who attends the LEC (Lesotho Evangelical Church) will know the hymnal, Lifela tsa Zione, Songs of Zion. It is one of the oldest hymnbooks in southern Africa, first published in Morija in 1844 with words mainly by Swiss-French missionaries and tunes by early 19th century European composers. Lesotho’s indigenous composers contributed new hymns as this hymnal was revised over the years, and occasionally they just adapted a hymn to make a new composition. An example of this is Moerane’s Ea Hlolang, The Triumphant One, which he turned into an anthem, although it still exists as a hymn. We don’t know when exactly he made this new composition from the hymn, no. 122 in the hymnbook, but we do know that the original words were by Louis Duvoisin (1835-1891) to music originally composed by Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831), famous in his day not only as a composer but also as a piano maker. Moerane ‘s new composition, also called Ea Hlolang, keeps the four verses by Duvoisin, one of the second generation of missionaries who left French-speaking Switzerland to settle in the mission station at Morija, but uses completely new music, in which a Tenor soloist alternates phrases with the whole SATB choir. In effect, Moerane reimagines the old hymn as a lovely new anthem for choir. The photos taken by Christine Lucia in 2006 show the old printing press in Morija (Maeder House) where the first Lifela tsa Zione was printed and the LEC Church in Morija, while the page of the hymnal shows part of the original hymn with Duvoisin’s words and Pleyel’s music.
à la recherche de la paix et de la liberté is a trio by Surendran Reddy for clarinet, voice and piano (1993), dedicated to his long-time, devoted partner, Heike Asmuss, and rededicated to her now in his memory and with love. In this piece, Reddy arranges several well-known South African tunes including ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’, as well as Oscar Peterson’s ‘Hymn to Freedom’. The trio can be performed by both jazz and classical musicians and was originally published by SAMRO. In his Composer’s Notes for the Performer written in 1993, Reddy explains the work's 'spontaneous creation':
"Essentially à la recherche de la paix et de la liberté is a written-out improvisation. The title is neither an indication that I am a Francophile nor a political ideologue, but is rather a reference to Proust. The analogy is in the ‘stream of consciousness’-flow characteristic of this ‘Afro-jazz’ medley. In order to preserve the spontaneity of jazz in this composition, I first played a whole lot of music into C-Lab (a notating and sequencing computer program) and then laboriously edited the printouts to get the final result. It is therefore quite crucial that in performance the element of ‘spontaneity’ is preserved. Each line - indeed, each note - should be shaped and represented with maximum intensity, as though it is emerging fresh from the creative forge at the very moment of performance."
The work is heavily indebted to Reddy's earlier suite freedom, and although there is no recording of him playing à la recherche there is a Youtube video of suite freedom that gives a good idea of how he imagined à la recherche being played. There is a performance of à la recherche played at a memorial concert after Reddy's death in 2010, by Jill Richards (piano), who played in the original performance in Moscow in 1993, Lizet Smith (clarinet) and Ignatia Madalane (voice).
The ACE score has been typeset from Reddy's original pencilled drafts and from the SAMRO score.