I am announcing here that I will no longer teach at the Berlin University of the Arts, Faculty of Music. My decision to quit is the result of a number of developments and personal experiences during the last months and years. However, this farewell has absolutely nothing to do with my students who belong to the most devoted, curious, and amiable persons I encountered at university. If you would like to learn more about my thoughts on lectureship at UdK Berlin and on academic teaching and precarious work in general, please read this paper (in German only).
Dear fellow musicians and performers, please do me a favour. Do not write music-related texts or documents on your own unless you really, really know how to do this! In any other case, have somebody write these for you (or at least show your writings to somebody) who is specialised in this field. You may be wonderful as performers, but I recently made so many encounters with poorly written, awkward, or even embarrassing texts authored by musicians that I cannot suppress this plea. So if you need professional assistance with your CV, concert announcement, work introduction, liner notes, or texts for your website: Please do let me know! I’ll be more than happy to help you.
The denomination of key signatures of musical works does not always reflect the actual reality. For example, Beethoven‘s Kreutzer Sonata, Op. 47, is referred to as an A major work due to the tonality of the introduction and the finale, whereas the sonata-allegro part of the 1st movement is in A minor. A slightly different case is Schumann‘s String Quartet, Op. 41 No. 1, where the introduction also determines the alleged tonality of A minor, regardless of the fact that the first sonata-allegro is in F major. Even more curious is the key of Schubert‘s Impromptu, Op. 90 No. 4, notated and generally given as A flat major, even if the music clearly begins in A flat minor.
Isn’t it a bit awkward to only look at a piece’s beginning when identifying its overall key? To me it seems reasonable to consider the main section of a movement more relevant than an introduction, as long as the latter only switches between major and minor modes—such as Mendelssohn‘s Rondo capriccioso, Op. 14 (correctly termed an E minor work, even if its introduction is in E major), or Dvořák‘s Eighth Symphony, Op. 88 (a G major work with a 1st-movement introduction in G minor). According to that principle, we should speak of the Kreutzer Sonata as an A minor composition. On the contrary, the abovementioned Schumann remains an A minor work, as indicated by three of its four movements, and despite the 1st movement moving to the submediant. What do you think?
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.
I will be conducting an one-hour workshop on memorizing music and playing by heart this Sunday, 11:30 am, at Deutscher Tonkünstlerverband‘s studio Schillerstraße, Berlin-Charlottenburg. Cordial invitation to all the music teachers, instrumentalists and singers among my dear acquaintances. Admission is free.
This morning: My first application for a professoral position at UdK Berlin, Faculty of Music. Audition could have went worse, even if I’m not overconfident. — Tonight: My first premiere on an electronic piano. Looking forward to introducing a new piece in the Composer Slam at Musikfestival Heidelberger Frühling.
Looking forward to presenting my two-day workshop on music learning and performing from memory at Badisches Konservatorium Karlsruhe this weekend. More than twenty participants have registered—never thought I’d be such a crowd puller!