n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Die oorsprong van die woordteks van Herbert Howells se twee Afrikaanse liedere

Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


There are, surprisingly enough, two Afrikaans songs in manuscript among the approximately 80 songs of the English composer Herbert Howells (1892-1983), one of them bearing the date 4 July 1929. This is all the more astounding as Howells, during his tour of South Africa in 1921, wrote very negatively about the Afrikaans language in his letters to England. This article endeavours to solve the riddle as to where an Englishman like Howells found Jan F.E. Celliers' poems 'Eensaamheid' and 'Vrijheidsgeest', and which editions of the poems he used for his compositions. Knowledge of the different versions of the poems would have been essential for a decision regarding the word text to be printed in the first edition of the songs which appeared in 1999. Howells was most probably introduced to the poems by the South African mezzo-soprano Betsy de la Porte (1901-1977), who was studying at the Royal College of Music in London where Howells had taught since 1920. On the basis of a comparison of the different published versions of the poems (those of 1908, 1909, 1912 and 1920 for 'Eensaamheid', and those of 1910 and 1920 for 'Vrijheidsgeest'), it was concluded that Howells employed none of these texts, but rather a version written down from memory by De la Porte, as the versions in the manuscripts are strange concoctions of the mixed Dutch / Afrikaans first versions and the later Afrikaans versions.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error