September keeps me busy with two activities related to the music of Nikolai Medtner. I am again contributing to a project based at TU Dresden, providing harmonic analyses for a bunch of Medtner’s fascinating skazki in order to make the music accessible to computational modeling. At the end of the month I will be participating in the annual conference of Gesellschaft für Musikforschung for the first time, presenting a paper on Medtner’s massive ›Night Wind‹ Sonata, Op. 25 No. 2, at Universität Kassel. Couldn’t be more excited!
My colleague Benjamin Vogels published an excellent study on the applicability of social media in academic teaching, particularly in the context of music theory. The article is available in the current issue of the journal of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie (ZGMTH). An exciting read, and highly recommendable for faculty and students open to present-day teaching methods.
Besides, my own article on Vincent d’Indy’s Cours de composition musicale has recently been published in the first volume of Bärenreiter’s new dictionary of music theory treatises and textbooks.
This Sunday, May 21, will see the first Berlin Medtner Concert Day take place at Logenhaus Wilmersdorf, serving as the inaugural concert of the freshly founded International Medtner Society. In two recitals starting at 11am and 6pm, six devoted musicians will introduce themselves with piano sonatas, skazki, and Goethe songs. Looking forward to the performances of Anna Warnecke, Luisa Splett, Irina Chistiakova, Darya Dadykina, Vasily Gvozdetsky, and Evgeny Nikiforov—and also to adding some introductory words and remarks based on my latest research. The concerts are nearly fully booked, so hurry up to snatch one of the last tickets. For details see the Facebook event page.
This Saturday I will be giving a talk on Nikolai Medtner’s Sonata-Skazka, Op. 25 No. 1, in the framework of the MAEK symposium at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien. The programme features presentations by PhD students from Austria, Romania, and the US. I’d be delighted to have your physical support and inquiring remarks on narrativity, cyclicity, and hybrid form in Medtner! Meet me on April 29, 3:30 pm @ Neuer Konzertsaal, Rennweg 8, 1030 Vienna.
If I weren’t travelling to Vienna, I’d most certainly be in Moscow over the weekend. Students of the Royal College of Music London will present Medtner’s complete piano sonatas on two consecutive evenings. If you have the chance, come to Moscow Conservatory‘s Rachmaninov Hall on April 29–30, 7pm, and listen to the performances of Dinara Klinton, Emily Hooker, Varvara Tarasova, Natsumi Ikenaga, Su Ton Chen, Poom Prommachart, Mario Ahijado, Adam Taylor, and professor Dina Parakhina.
Frédéric Chopin wrote 57 mazurkas, covering 20 of the 24 major and minor keys. I’m currently doing analytical annotations of the whole corpus in context of a musicological research project at TU Dresden, adding Roman numerals to every single chord in order to make the music accessible to computational modeling. Moreover, my bulky thesis chapter on Nikolai Medtner’s G minor Sonata, Op. 22, is approaching its final shape, incorporating Schenkerian and metrotechtonic perspectives. What a stunning masterpiece of musical architecture!
My recent writings on Russian music are now obtainable online. Make sure to read or download the papers soon—once they are printed, the publishers will have me take them down 😉 The Taneyev & Scriabin symphony essay is available in three different languages, while the papers on the Medtner sonatas, Opp. 11, 22, and 27, come in German or English only. My apologies for the language barrier—hope you appreciate my stuff anyway!
I have started a Medtner newsletter. The idea is to send information and updates on events, publications, recent recordings, and other developments related to Nikolai Medtner—to be issued from time to time, presumably 2–3 numbers per year. Let me know if you want to subscribe. I will also be grateful if you provided me with information to include in the following issues!
The First International Nikolai Karlovich Medtner Competition will be held at the end of November 2016 in St Petersburg, organised by Nota Bene Association. The competition is open for pianists, vocalists and musicological research and review in English or Russian language. Applications are accepted until 15 October. The submission guidelines can be found here; they didn’t announce them in translation for whatever reason, but I was told that contributions in English are welcome.
Update November 2016: The competition’s musicological research and review section was cancelled due to an insufficient number of contributions. This fact was communicated only upon request.
Who was that fabulous Russian composer-pianist of German ancestry named Nikolai Medtner, and what made him so noteworthy as a creator of piano sonatas? Dear Vienna residents, come and learn more this Thursday, May 19, 2 pm, at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst‘s Fanny Hensel hall. I’ll be presenting part of my PhD work in an one-hour talk on Medtner‘s Sonata Triad, Op. 11, and G minor Sonata, Op. 22. Would be fantastic to have your company. Entrance to the PhD symposium is free.
The last few weeks have been busy and productive. Wordy Medtner analyses are growing, a fresh wind quintet is currently emerging, and more of my granduncle Günther Bitzan’s music will soon be edited and published. Now awaiting a new challenge in teaching music theory at Hanns Eisler School of Music from next week on.
F sharp major is one of music’s most beautiful tonalities. I’ll be talking about Nikolai Medtner‘s Sonata-Ballade, Op. 27, written in exactly that key, tomorrow morning in a symposium at The British Library, London. This will be part of an exceptional program of talks, concerts, a master class and film screening from today through Saturday, all about Medtner, and with the participation of the finest scholars and performers. Really looking forward to the Medtner Study Day, one of the rare occasions of a research event fully dedicated to this composer’s music. Principal organizer of the Medtnerfest is my dear colleague Sasha Karpeyev.
Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Am scheduled for tomorrow to present a paper on the orchestral music of Sergey Taneyev and Aleksandr Scriabin in a conference of the Russian Society for Music Theory. Couldn’t be more excited!
For all those interested: the paper will also be presented in a German version during the 15th Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie (GMTH) , included in a panel dedicated to Taneyev and Scriabin—Saturday, 3 October, 2–4 pm, UdK Berlin, Faculty of Music, Bundesallee 1–12, Carl Flesch hall. Also speaking in that section: Aleksandra Savenkova, Elena Chernova, and Benjamin Vogels.