A reflection on three organ works by Jacobus Kloppers, published as part of SAKOV’s Erediensmusiek Series (2010 and 2013)
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Though the composer, organist, pedagogue, and scholar Jacobus Kloppers left South Africa during the 1970s with his family to relocate to Edmonton, Canada, he actively contributed to advancing Reformed liturgical music in South Africa over the past decades. As an honorary member of the Suider-Afrikaanse Kerk- en Konsertorrelistevereniging (The Southern African Church and Concert Organist Society or SACOS), he has published in Vir die Musiekleier/To the Director of Music, while a few of his liturgical compositions for organ form part of SAKOV’s Erediensmusiek (Worship Music) project. In this article, three of these compositions are discussed, namely the Toccata on Genevan Psalm 84 (1974), “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” (1:Scherzando), and “Joy to the world”, the latter two works forming part of Kloppers’s Four Christmas Carol Settings (1985-87). Our choice of works is based on the different stylistic and expressive aspects of each of these works and how they may function within Reformed liturgy. Our discussion proceeds from Christiaan Carstens’s (1995) annotations comprised in his master’s dissertation on Kloppers’s organ works and then elucidates distinct stylistic aspects of the works. Finally, we briefly consider their liturgical functioning. While Kloppers’s organ compositions studied in this article illustrate different religious and musical origins and traditions, in terms of their potential for liturgical functionality, they serve the purpose of musical “sermons”. As aesthetic, religious expressions, they eloquently contribute to the domain of non-verbal liturgical meaning-making. In that sense, each idiom Discussed does not merely represent a specific compositional practice, traceable to Kloppers’s religious roots and the various compositional and worship traditions to which he was exposed throughout his life but may also act as the transporter of ritual expectations and material, spiritual experience.