Waaihoek Tea Party (2017; rev. 2022)
for double bass and piano
Dedicated to Leon Bosch
Commissioned by Leon Bosch
Publisher: Bardic Edition
Available from Goodmusic Publishing
Score and Part BDE in preparation

Duration: c. 9 minutes

First performance: Wednesday 7 June 2017; International Society of Bassists 2017 Convention, Hockett Family Recital Hall, Ithaca, New York; Leon Bosch double bass, : Sung-Suk Kang piano.

Programme note

Waaihoek Tea Party is a miniature tone poem or melodrama depicting a little known event that took place in South Africa more than 100 years ago. On 12 July 1918 Bloemfontein’s English newspaper “The Friend” recorded that the local magistrate had “sentenced a native to a fine of £1 or 14 days imprisonment with hard labour for holding a tea party in the Waaihoek location after the time allowed him by the permission previously obtained from the police”. The town was divided by this action: between those who pointed out “the absurdity of someone being summarily arrested because his guests took too long to disperse”, and the hardliners who simply observed that the law had been broken. The editor of the newspaper, who saw both points of view, fielded the tea party debate which became “a measure of underlying tensions in race relations” in this small Free State community.
The hero’s largely narrative musical line is taken by the double bass, with the piano assuming different personae in the form of spaces and their occupants: native location, town, police cell. Much of the material is derived from music for the uhadi bow, lesiba bow and indigenous birdsong.

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