n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Stefans Grové se as evokatiewe klankskildering

Volume 53 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


Stefans Grové is one of the greatest composers that South Africa has ever produced. His three for concert organ, paints innovative sound pictures of Africa. His integration of African components in his works (from 1984 onwards) is perceived very differently - ranging from harshly critical to extremely positive. Rörich is of the opinion that Grové reached a pivotal point in his development with the writing of . Main influences in his mature style could be traced back to the colouristic sound/harmonies of Debussy, the rhythmic drive of Bartók and the neo-Baroque counterpoint of Hindemith.
Musicologists agree that visual imagery is an integral part of Grové's African musical idiom. The music often is an auditory translation of visual images. Grové's published short stories could be seen as depiction of similar images, using another language. The Africa that Grové uses as reference is a very personal, imagined Africa and conventional elements such as descending pentatonic melodies or textures that have been inspired by the sound of traditional African instruments are utilised to suggest African culture. Descriptive titles of separate movements, programme notes and stories are some of the means that are employed to stimulate the audience in joining the composer on a journey of the imagination. This can be illustrated with reference to evocative titles from the (the tranquillity that is emanated by a wooden sculpture of Ernest Mancoba has inspired this movement), . The sound of African instruments (such as xylophones, music bows or drums) and natural sounds like thunder, rain or the songs of insects and birds are sources of inspiration. Images from African nature (such as a dry desert or mysterious African starry night) and culture (like rituals or comical gestures) are relied upon for the creation of innovative textures.
The organ sound is traditionally perceived as static and inexpressive. As organist and gifted improvisator, Grové relies on his knowledge of the organ to manipulate the organ sound sensitively. Grové pays attention to detailed articulation and tone colour. The use of the swell box, interaction between the manuals, innovative articulation and registration are some of the techniques he uses to manipulate the organ sound. The extended use of simultaneous sounding melodic material, one played and the other , could be seen as a trademark of Grové's African style. An innovative variation of this texture is a texture that is inspired by the effect of the sustaining pedal of the piano. The composer indicates precisely when the sustaining should end. The sound of the xylophone or handclapping, thunder or rain are all depicted sonically by implementing the -texture with different registration, embedded in a different sound scape. The assistant to the organist (registrant) has an important role to play in Grové's organ music. For example, in some sections of the middle movement of the , the assistant has to change the registration (combination of organ stops) on each note. The composer gives special attention to articulation in transparent sections that contain only two or three voices.
Because of the extraordinary detail, organists think twice before they attempt to study his work. Still, the I is one of his most frequently performed and recorded works. The is a hymn to African nature; the is a hymn to African culture (drawing from some events in the aftermath of the destruction of apartheid in South Africa); and the is a more personal, introverted hymn that investigates the anxieties and hopes of the continent. The three could be seen as a highlight in the South African repertoire.

Stefans Grové, een van die grootste komponiste wat Suid-Afrika nóg opgelewer het, skep in sy drie vir konsertorrel innoverende klankuitbeeldings van Afrika. Musikoloë meen dat die sleutel tot die ontsluiting van Grové se idioom in sy klankskildering as vertaling van visuele beelde lê. Die Afrika wat Grové as verwysing gebruik, is 'n persoonlike, innerlik verbeelde Afrika. Konvensionele middele soos pentatoniese melodiese fragmente en pulserende ritmiek word gebruik om Afrika-kultuur te suggereer. In beskrywende titels, programnotas en vertellings prikkel hy die luisteraar om die verbeeldingstog met hom te deel. Hy gebruik beelde uit die Afrika-natuur en -kultuur, asook die klank van tradisionele Afrika-instrumente as inspirasie om verbeeldingryke teksture te skep. Die gebruik van 'n komplekse, wisselende klankkleurpalet in sy orrelmusiek is opvallend. As orrelis en begaafde improvisator gebruik hy sy kennis van die instrument om besonder sensitief met die orrelklank om te gaan. Grové sien in detail om na die artikulasie en klankkleur van elke noot. Hy gebruik verskeie tegnieke om die statiese orreltoon te manipuleer, soos gebruikmaking van die swelpedaal, manuaalwisseling, innoverende artikulasie en registrasie. Die tegniese moeilikheidsgraad en detail het tot gevolg dat orreliste twee keer dink voordat hulle hierdie werke aanpak. Nogtans is die die enigste werk waarvoor hy opvolgwerke geskryf het en is dit een van die mees gespeelde en opgeneemde werke in sy oeuvre.

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