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Léon Snyman
1968 -
South Africa
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L. Snyman
Léon Snyman (15/06/1968), an African composer, born in Johannesburg.
Snyman: "I started music lessons at age 7 and every afternoon walked down the road to the du Plessis’s home to practice on their piano. I have been musical-director of community-based musical staged most years and there are productions linked to the lectionary year calendar. I have been involved in various independent productions over the years. I have written various compositions and other arrangements for a variety of ensembles."
Author:Léon Snyman
Requiem for the children of Lebone
Period:21st century
Composed in:2004
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:texts in Latin, Greek, English and Sesotho
In memory of:children AIDS-victims
The Requiem for the children of Lebone is essentially a funeral mass for the children who have died. It contains:
01. Introit – Kyrie
02. Psalm 139: 1, 13 – 16
03. Psalm 90: 1 – 6, 12
04. Pie Jesu – Sanctus – Agnus Dei
05. Lullabye
06. Prayer
07. In Paradisum
Lebone Land is a development on the outskirts of Bloemfontein started under the auspices of Trinity Methodist Church originally for the nurture and care of HIV+ and Aids-infected children. Since its inception, it has grown to include also those children who are Aids-affected, i.e. those who are not themselves infected but who are stigmatised as a result of other family members being HIV+ or having died as a result of Aids-related complications.
That being said, it should be noted that the intention has not been to set a church service to music. As a result of this, the total form is loosely based on the John Rutter Requiem with seven movements arranged symmetrically; though the texts of the middle three movements in the Rutter composition are fused into a single movement at the apex of this work. Also, as in the requiems of Rutter, Andrew Lloyd-Webber & al who have followed the precedent set by Benjamin Britten in his War Requiem, texts other than only the Latin (and Greek) Roman Catholic texts (or their translation into the vernacular) have been used; here specifically English and Sesotho texts.
The work tends to be dark, sombre and weighty – but then, so is the subject matter. Even so, it does not stay in a depressed morass but celebrates the hope of life eternal in the Lord Jesus Christ: and a paradise where there is no more pain and sorrow, no more tears and illness, no more anguish and weeping.
This composition has a noticeable omission; that of the lengthy poem "Dies irae" (though, following a trend started by Gabriel Fauré and continued by Maurice Duruflé and, perhaps the most well-known modern-day example, viz. Lloyd-Webber, just the last two lines of the poem are included, the so-called "Pie Jesu"). The reason for the omission is that including a text dealing with God’s judgement on the individual, albeit conventionally part of a requiem, would be grossly insensitive in this situation: the death of these children is as a result of an awful illness and yet they themselves are innocent of its transfer and spread.
The forces used, i.e. the choir, pipe organ, orchestra and rhythm-section (cf. Lloyd-Webber’s Requiem), are based on those used at Trinity Methodist Church for a musical staged annually by the congregation. The children’s voices have been added specifically because of the subject matter. The intention is also that the forces can be adapted to what is available at any particular place irrespective of the size of the choir and orchestra. Bearing this in mind, cued parts providing doubling for several instruments and / or instrument-families have been included. Also, for use either in the absence of string players or to supplement a limited string section, a keyboardist can be included making use of the reduction of the string parts scored for keyboard which has been incorporated in the full score.
Author:Léon Snyman