Triadic Transformations

I made a short analysis video on Carlo Gesualdo‘s Miserere from his Responsories for Holy Saturday. The chord progressions at the beginning, enriching modal harmony with chromaticised voice-leading, can be regarded as transformations according to Neo-Riemannian theory, and made visible as triadic relations in an Eulerian Tonnetz. This is a rather simple yet fascinating example that suited me well for a first approach to teaching transformational theory.

Also, for those of you who are interested in my compositions, there are some new recordings available on SoundCloud: a folk song duet from my Lyric Diptych for two voices and piano, and two excerpts from the suite At the Forest Verge for guitar and marimba duo.

 

Conflict at DTKV Berlin Continues

The current administration of Deutscher Tonkünstlerverband Berlin has not yet budged from its unsubstantiated and formally invalid attempt to expel me from the association. After the board has refused the proposals of several members to introduce a professional mediation and also declined two out-of-court settlements, I have now filed a lawsuit against my expulsion, and thus the board members will have to face a charge in court.

Meanwhile, the activities of the professional body are almost completely disrupted. Neither is there a political position towards the present situation, nor has a statement been made on the current measurements of infection prevention. Support of the DTKV freelance members is limited to some very rudimentary references to state aids; legal advice, although included in the membership fee, is unavailable; and the board doesn’t show any significant initatives on behalf of the members. Moreover, no general assembly has been held during this whole year, although the elections to the board were not completed in 2019, and no cash auditors and delegates have been appointed. Apparently the legal dispute (which could have been avoided altogether) is not only a financial burden to the association, but also an obstacle to the internal and external professional work, however sorely needed a professional representation is in these times. All of this appears as evidence of incapacity and failure of the board members, Detlef Bensmann, Anka Sommer, and Isabelle Herold.

Aria and Fughetta after Bach

During the last days I made a three-part keyboard arrangement of the final aria Drum schließ ich mich in deine Hände from Johann Sebastian Bach’s motet Komm, Jesu, komm, BWV 229. This aria is one of my all-time favourite chorale settings: It features cadences in no less than five different scale degrees and culminates in a marvellously ornated concluding melisma. The Baroque lyrics by Paul Thymich figure as a deeply touching embodiment of poetic devotion to the creator in the face of death—and this is why I chose to perform the music at my grandmother’s funeral earlier this week. Subsequently, I replenished the composition with a brief fughetta on the subject of the aria’s first line. Hope you won’t mind the sad occasion of its genesis and enjoy the piece anyway.

 

Panacademic Teaching

A challenging hybrid semester at Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf has begun. There is a sustainable hygiene concept which allows most of my classes in analysis, basic elements of composition, and aural skills to be held face-to-face. In addition, I offer an elementary music theory seminar which features a dual approach. Some 70 freshmen in the musicology minor at Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf will either attend classroom teaching in three groups of 15, or take part in an asynchronous online lecturing programme with a choice of Teams and Moodle coursework and an additional OER tutorial. This construction will enable everyone to earn the desired credits during this term. However, should the governmental measures of infection prevention be extended to universities once again, we might be obliged to move all classes online—I am confident that there will be appropriate solutions for all courses and exams.

Changing Chanting Chances

After one year of deprivation of active vocal practice, I have finally found a new choir. Vokalsystem Berlin, a youthful and ambitious ensemble led by my dear colleague Johannes David Wolff, accepted me as a new member. What a delightful perspective to perform music by Maurice Duruflé, Anders Edenroth, Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo, and Yannick Wittmann soon! Hope it will turn out to happen as intended.