Dear community, I need to direct your attention to a fabulous organist and improviser of whose skilfulness I was regrettably unaware so far. Some of you might know Wolfgang Seifen, a professor in Berlin and principal organist at Emperor William Memorial Church. Here is a recording of an entirely improvised recital which he performed at Altenberg Abbey last year. His stupendous technique and versatility in different forms and genres literally blew my mind. Hope this will leave you similarly speechless.
The Berlin public transportation company BVG has announced to rename U-Bhf Mohrenstraße, a subway station located in the historical city centre, to Glinkastraße. While it is justified to question the present name as it refers to people of colour with a term that is no longer considered politically correct, some commenters now claimed that the new namesake, Russian composer Mikhail Glinka who died in Berlin in 1857, is just an equally inappropriate choice since he was a Tsarist nationalist and reportedly made anti-Semitic statements in his letters. Still, the discussion was sparked only by the name of the subway station, not of the street it is (or will be) named after, and Glinkastraße itself is just as indisputed as Richard-Wagner-Platz. In my opinion, it is sort of anachronistic to have things named after persons at all. Human beings are notoriously immoral and vicious, and if you only try hard enough, you will find something compromising about virtually anybody. Let’s just go for some alternative and innoxious designations. In this particular case: what about Mitte West station?
Maus and Klaus enter the stage! My dear colleague Bernadett Kis and her team of Puppenphilharmonie Berlin have produced a lovely video series for children, starring two puppets, Louis the mouse and his neighbour Klaus the mole, as well as five human musicians. I had the pleasure of contributing the lyrics for the title song. A new episode will be released every Tuesday on the web channels of Tonhalle Düsseldorf. Do have a look with your little ones!
Today’s reading recommendation: The journal of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie (ZGMTH) has published an intriguing survey on the underrepresentation of female and non-binary faculty members at the music theory and composition departments of German music universities. The authors Irene Kletschke and Kirsten Reese highlight basic problems and causes of this misbalance and, most notably, give a list of recommended actions to improve the situation. In doing so, they would not simply postulate a women’s quota but make a series of suggestions how to tackle this issue on the structural level of academic administration. I hope that some deans, principals, and educational policymakers will take notice of these considerations.
Glad to announce that I will be supervising a new edition of Mily Balakirev‘s piano transcription of Mikhail Glinka‘s song Zhavoronok (The Skylark), to be published with G. Henle Verlag. The autograph and first edition, issued in Saint Petersburg in 1864, are considered lost, which means that I will have to rely on other prints from the late nineteenth century—such as a Gutheil edition with this beautiful art nouveau title page. Looking forward to working on this project!