Original Research

Die agtergrond en ontstaansgeskiedenis van Hubert du Plessis se Duitse en Franse liedere

H. van der Mescht
Literator | Vol 24, No 2 | a294 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v24i2.294 | © 2003 H. van der Mescht | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2003 | Published: 01 August 2003

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H. van der Mescht, Departement Musiek, Universiteit van Pretoria, South Africa

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The background and genesis of Hubert du Plessis’s German and French songs

On 7 June 2002 the South African composer Hubert du Plessis turned 80. Among his 77 art songs there are (apart from songs in Afrikaans, Dutch and English) eleven on German texts and one on a French text. The aim of this article is to investigate the genesis of these German and French songs. Du Plessis was influenced by his second cousin, the Afrikaans poet Barend J. Toerien, who lived in the same residence as Du Plessis at the University of Stellenbosch where they studied in the early 1940s. Toerien introduced Du Plessis to the work of Rilke, of whose poetry Du Plessis later set to music “Herbst”. Du Plessis’s ten Morgenstern songs were inspired by a chance gift of a Morgenstern volume from Susanne Stark-Schwietering, a student in Grahamstown where Du Plessis taught at Rhodes University College (1944-1951). During his studies in London (1951-1954) Du Plessis also received a volume of Morgenstern poetry from Howard Ferguson in 1951. The choice of French verses from Solomon’s Song of Songs was influenced by the advice of Hilda de Wet (Stellenbosch, 1966). It is notable that Du Plessis’s main composition teachers, William Bell, Friedrich Hartmann and Alan Bush, had practically no influence on the choice of the texts of his German and French songs.


Chant Damour; Set To Music; Hubert Du Plessis; Setting Words To Music; Morgenstern; Poems Set To Music; Rilke Herbst; South African Music


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