It was the German cellist Maria Kliegel, who prompted Kaiser-Lindemann to write for her a work based on the life of the former South African President, Nelson Mandela. The result is a graphic portrait of his imprisonment and struggle for political freedom, the fusion of Western classical music, jazz and folk-music leading to a brilliant and virtouse score.
Together with Stephan Froleyks (percussion) Maria Kliegel premiered this work in the Düsseldorf Tonhalle on 16th of December 1996.
Notes of the composer concerning the respective movements:
1 Robben Island [ca. 12’]
“Robben Island“ is refering to the 26 years of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment, the first of which under most terrible conditions. The movement expresses nagging desperation and violent emotional outbursts. Nevertheless the music suggests some hope for a better future.
2 Hunting [ca. 7’]
"Hunting" is a term of Bebop-Jazz where the instruments are alternating rapidly, they are hunting each other. This style formes the base of the second movement together with further jazz elements. But what is ment here is the “menhunt” – a brutal movement, which is on the other hand highly virtuous and a rewarding challenge for the protagonists.
2a Meditation [ca. 9’]
This meditaion was originally planned as 5th movement and later on placed here as 2a by the composer. It can be understood as a transition, as a vision which will become concrete in “Meditation” of the following movement “Metamorphosis”.
3 Metamorphosis [ca. 8’ 30"]
This might be the most “African” movement with its 7/8 time rhythm. Changing between muted and apparent joy of life the composer not least expresses hope for finding normality and freedom of thought in Sout Afria.
4 Lullaby (for Zaziwe) [ca. 8’]
A quiet finale, which is based on a lullaby of Mandela’s home tribe. I expressed herein my deep desire, that the mothers of this country may end their lullabies in pieace and quiet without the ever present fear of persecution.
Zaziwe is a young relative of Mandela. Obviously there is a close and intensive emotional relationship between them.
Nelson Mandelas expression of thank for the dedication:
“The President is humbled by the great honour bestowed upon him through your dedication of a music composition to him entitled Hommage à Nelson M. Your kind gesture is greatly appreciated.”