Umbalisi Mabali (The Storyteller), African Suite No. 14

Für zwei Kontrabässe oder Kontrabass solo
Partitur und zwei Stimmen

Spieldauer: Ca. 10 Minuten

First movement: Umbalisi mabali (The Storyteller)
Second movement: Ucwangco lentsasa (Morning Peace)
Third movement: Ukufa ngokuphela komonde (Dying from Impatience)
Fourth movement: Ukuvalelisa (Farewell)

This is the second African Suite I wrote for Marcin Oleś, an amazing double bassist, composer, and friend from Kraków I got to know in 2014. When we recorded the piece in 2017, we found out that this second suite has a kind of double character: it can be performed solo on one bass, but it works also very well for a double bass duet because the music is structured as a dialogue throughout.

I dedicated the suite to my father, Wolfgang Sieg, who passed in the autumn when I wrote this piece, hence the title Umbalisi mabali – The Storyteller. My father was by far the best storyteller I ever met. He wrote 21 books, 40 audio plays and literally thousands of short stories but most impressive for me was his ability to tell stories with his deep and expressive voice. As a child I could lose myself in listening because his voice evoked the confidence that my father knew exactly what he was going to say and that it would be a great story. This basic confidence is expressed in the bass figure of the title piece The Storyteller. Morning Peace is about the intense and creative atmosphere of the early morning. My father always got up early and I also have my best ideas directly after waking up, when the noise of the day has not already reached the consciousness. The third movement is called Dying from Impatience – another trait I inherited from my father. The last movement is an attempt to say farewell. But I guess it’s not really possible to say farewell to someone that was so near, so influential, whom I owe so much and who will always be by my side in some way – and who will also stay a kind of a mystery to me. Hence, the end is open, which is quite rare in my works.

I wish to thank Marcin Oleś for the numerous, incredibly valuable suggestions for this composition and for the sound and film recordings we made of the pieces this autumn. The resulting Youtube videos give an impression of how I imagine the pieces should sound like. However, I am always open to surprises and new ways of playing because I always have been a big fan of freedom of interpretation. I am always delighted to receive recordings and comments:

Hamburg, October 2017

number of pages: 
14,90 Euro