oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Arnold van Wyk se Ricordanza as musikale aandenking

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1995-5928



Arnold van Wyk's Ricordanza as a musical memoirThe fact that most of Arnold van Wyk's music is so little known and little loved has been bemoaned regularly by South African musicologists since the composer's death in 1983. Despite the publication of the piano piece Ricordanza in 1984 by the Arnold van Wyk Trust, it is seldom performed and has never been subjected to musicological study. The nature of this work as a memoir of a place, person or event, as the title suggests, provides a key to a better understanding of its content. The word Ricordanza is one of several variants that were popular as titles of 19th-century piano music (cf. Remembrance, Souvenir). The 19th-century composition aesthetic (and in particular the autobiographical significance of compositions within this aesthetic) is an essential perspective on a work like this within Van Wyk's oeuvre. With reference to the composition sketches for this work, this article shows how Ricordanza was composed as a memoir of a visit from Marthinus Basson in November 1973 which had romantic significance for Van Wyk. In this light, the elegiac character and strongly 19th-century-inspired form and idiom are interpreted as emanating from the (for Van Wyk) sensitive matter of his homosexuality. The connection between Ricordanza and the visit consists in the fact that Van Wyk based his initial idea on Bach's prelude BWV 850, which was played by Basson during the November visit. The article explains the specific characteristics which Van Wyk incorporated from the prelude and the way in which he adapted them. These particulars are insightful as indicators towards a detailed and critical study of Van Wyk's idiom.

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