Nikolai Medtner 140

It’s not that I attach particular importance to jubilees and anniversaries, and the upcoming BTHVN 2020 celebrations will leave me largely indifferent. However, I suppose I am unlikely to let this day pass unnoticed: Nikolai Karlovich Medtner was born 140 years ago. Happy birthday, mate, your music is an infinite source of inspiration to me, and will continue to give me moments of passion, joy, and utter beatitude. It is my sincere hope that you would have condoned the following arrangement which I prepared in 2018, and am now re-posting here as a posthumous present—I borrowed the catchiest tunes from your C major Sonata, Op. 11 No. 3, added an English translation of the Goethe lyrics which you chose as a motto for that work, and compiled these ingredients into a little jazz ballad named Atonement. I’ll be more than content if this trifle serves no other purpose than provide a humble delight for the fellow admirers of your art.

Turn of the Year

Happy holiday season to all of you, regardless of what you celebrate these days, and a pleasant end of the year! Here is a little thing that I wanted to share with you: a live recording of the most recent performance of my music. Petra Vidmar and Erazem Grafenauer of Duo Xylocorda appear in the duo suite At the Forest Verge for guitar and marimba, forming part of a concert in Ljubljana Town Hall, Slovenia, in October 2019. Hope you listen with as much delight as I did. So long—see you in 2020!

Time for Some Confessions

(1) I eat too much and sleep too less.
(2) I should really do some sports rather than watching it on the internet.
(3) I love my job, and I am fine to commute for a certain period of my life, but in doing so I fly way too often. This is a moral dilemma. I would definitely prefer to take the train if only this was a reliable option at a reasonable price with the probability of arriving in time—but alas, it is not. Deutsche Bahn tickets from Berlin to Düsseldorf cost €70 on average (sales offers are very rare in the early morning hours when I would need to go). Travel time is about 5 hours from door to door, but since 2 out of 3 train connections passing through the Ruhr area are significantly delayed, this is hardly a recommendable choice, given that I need to start working at noon to manage my teaching load. My employer wouldn’t reimburse any travel expenses, so I have to choose the cheapest option over traveling sustainably, despite my dislike of airports and planes. Eurowings air fare is €29 or €39 for the same route, which takes me less than 3.5 hours (as long as Tegel Airport is still in service, I should add). Needless to say, I have not been late a single time since I became a weekly flyer almost two years ago.

This does not primarily show that I am a carefree opportunist (which some people might claim). Instead, this example suggests that the neo-liberal German transport policy is so badly snafu that it cannot help but continuously produce wrong stimuli for travelers, acting in favour of the motor industry (the glorious ›backbone‹ of our economy) while not giving a shit about the desolate state of the most embarrassing railway company of all times. Even though I don’t have the slightest idea how this situation could improve in the future, your opinions and ideas are, as always, warmly appreciated.

DTKV Berlin in Deep Sleep

Since the last general assembly took place five weeks ago, Tonkünstlerverband Berlin, the professional body of Berlin-based musicians, has been inactive. The newly elected executive board and the new chairman Detlef Bensmann have not presented themselves to the public so far. The organisation’s social media accounts accounts are largely unmaintained or out of date, and the website still announces many former chairpersons who were not re-elected or have withdrawn from their posts. As the current board apparently fails to make the recent developments public, here is the most important information: