10 Miniatures for Recorder and Violoncello

Score and two Parts.

1. Ouverture
2. The Storyteller
3. Her beautiful Eyes
4. Lullaby
5. Hidden Surprises
6. Darkness
7. At the Beach
8. On your own
9. A new start
10. Farewell

In 2015 I wrote two suites for my friend Marcin Oleś, a great composer and double bass player from Kraków. I dedicated one of the two suites, Umbalisi mabali (The Storyteller) to my father, who had passed away in that autumn, and who had been a great father, artist, and storyteller.

In early 2019 Laura Faber from Seattle had tragically lost her son the previous year and looked for music that reflected her experience, and she came across Umbalisi mabali on my website. She asked me to adapt the pieces for the bass recorder. I adapted four pieces, wrote six more and called the collection Ukuvalelisa, which in Xhosa means Farewell. The movements cover all kinds of feelings and memories. As Laura Faber wrote: „What I have experienced so intensely since my son died is that life is not divided out neatly into separate episodes. There is joy amidst the deepest sadness, a wistful longing at times of joy, and a marvelous and bewildering jumble quite often. Your music shows this so well, and these solos really represent that constant mix of emotion.“

Indeed, there are the rather jubilant Ouverture, Hidden Surprises and At the Beach, the pensive On our Own, the tenderLullaby and Her beautiful eyes, the melancholic Darkness, the smooth Storyteller and the encouraging A new start. The last piece is an attempt to say farewell. But I guess it’s not really possible to say farewell to someone who was so near, so important, and still so mysterious like my father was for me. Hence, the end is open. For a recorder exam at the Hamburg conservatory I edited two of these solo pieces for recorder and violoncello, Ebba-Maria Künning-Zeijl and Adriano da Silva Trarbach recorded them for my 54th birthday, and while so many people loved these videos on Youtube I edited the whole collection for recorder and violoncello.

While Ouverture, Storyteller, and At the Beach should be played in a steady groove, all other pieces can be played with rubato, taking freedom in phrasing, accelerating, slowing down, hesitating, or rushing, to increase the emotional depth. The violoncello may well experiment with pizzicato, especially in the first two miniatures.

I wish to thank Laura Faber for commissioning this work, Marcin Oleś, who made me compose the first four pieces, Ebba-Maria Künning-Zeijl and Adriano da Silva Trarbach for inspiring me to this version, and of course my father who taught, encouraged and inspired me all my life.

Here are the two Youtube videos:


Her beautiful eyes:

number of pages: 
19,90 Euro