Musical imaginations of difference: a dialectic re-evaluation of my composing oeuvre, with special reference to three key works

Cloete, Johan
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This study attempts to locate and elucidate the subjective roots of my creative output during the twenty-one-year period, 1985 to 2006. In 1994, a potential socio-political disaster, prompted by the apartheid state, was converted into the model for an almost utopian condition thus enabling the gnawing anguish of the collective to morph into a cautious sense of hope. At the time, as always, my music reflected this sea-change instinctively. I never consciously force my concerns into my work and can only now, with hindsight, trace an unspoken mid-eighties’ hope for the dissolution of individual and collective anguish. What would follow in the wake of such deliverance could not be guessed at the time. The labyrinthine workings of the creative mind are prompted by concerns on a deeply subconscious level and, in this context, they are only decipherable afterwards, either as frustrated hopes or as fulfilled ones. In anticipating, (however unconsciously), the dissolution of institutionalised fascism, my work mapped out the next step via a personalised ideal anticipating a new social order and individual rights as realised in the 1994 constitution. Furthermore, attitude towards my own culture changed, as demonstrated by the use of Afrikaans texts, and heralded a third stage in my projected evolution: the continued discourse between individual and collective identity was now brought into the conscious mind in order to illuminate creativity and infuse future work. It anticipates a reconciliation between the artist and his own personal and collective demons. With the resultant externalisation of such capricious archetypes one accepts an erratic evolution.
DMus, Faculty of Humanities, School of Music, University of the Witwatersrand, 2009
music compositions