English: Roelof Temmingh’s Kantorium (2003/4), a large-scale work for choir, soloists and
orchestra, won the prestigious Helgaard Steyn award in 2006. Temmingh commented
briefly on his extremely difficult personal circumstances during its creation. Should a
composer suffer in order to produce great music? This question raises the wider problem
of contextuality, as well as concomitant theoretical/philosophical considerations.
Profoundly religious in nature, the work, whose text is in German, was written for
a European audience by an Afrikaans-speaking composer in post-apartheid South
Africa. It does not embody any clearly overt political values, nor does it attempt to
serve as a repository of cultural identity. Moreover, according to the composer, his
personal circumstances were not a prerequisite for its creation.