300 pages. 156000 words. 982000 characters. 710 footnotes. Around 300 works cited. 128 music examples. Roughly 6 years of work. — That’s my PhD dissertation in musicology, submitted today to the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts, and titled »The Sonata as an Ageless Principle«. It is a study of Nikolai Medtner‘s early piano sonatas, examined as manifestations of a traditional genre and central paradigm of instrumental music, and analysed from various perspectives. To those of you interested in the forthcoming open-access publication, I will send a notification as soon as it is available online in full. For the time being, here is an abstract of the thesis and a pre-published chapter on the general features of Medtner’s musical language.
Looking forward to the Berlin-Brandenburgian first performance of my composition »Lyric Diptych« for two female voices and piano, included in a fascinating recital programme presented by Anne-Sophie Balg, Caroline Seibt, and Marina Mitrovski of Ensemble 2achtundachtzig, on Sunday, 23 September, 5 pm, in the Protestant Church Kleinmachnow. Folk songs and adaptations are awaiting you, among them my rendering of Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach‘s »Ein kleines Lied«. The venue is just around the corner from Berlin. Catch a bus and drop by!
Lassies and Gendermen, let me introduce you to one of the greatest hypocrites in German music business—Enjott Schneider. A successful and influential representative of film music industry, president of the German Composers Association, and honoured with the highest academic and professional merits, this man doesn’t miss an opportunity to denigrate the system that feeds him. Here are some testimonials of his blatant double standards (quotes in in my translation):
(1) In a public discussion on the sense and nonsense of the term ›maestro‹, he contemptuously mocks German audiences for their alleged vanity and superficialness: »The average attendant of classical concerts is rarely a responsible citizen: […] he is just interested in celebrity hype and […] reactionary, masochistic self-suppression.«
(2) In an interview just published in this month’s nmz, he exuberantly praises the Chinese government for its cultural policy, and particularly for funding his recent mammoth opera project with fabulous production conditions. At the same time, he again dismisses the European music scene for its shortlived capitalism: »Everything is subordinated to capital and rigid economic principles«, focusing on »the ego’s hyperindividualism«, and »›freedom of art‹ has long become an eyewash«.
I say: Enjott, stop lamenting the system. You are one of the most powerful figures in it, so start improving its deficiencies if you really mean to change something. If not, please do me a favour—just enjoy your wealth and STFU.
How can we restore employability for classical music graduates? I keep denouncing it all the time, but here is somebody who is capable of finding the right words on the absurd and deplorable state of professional music education in Germany. Please read and share this noteworthy interview with Esther Bishop in VAN Magazin, conducted by Sophie Wasserscheid. It’s really about time that a paradigm shift takes place in the current system of dysfunctionality, self-referentiality and maladministration, and to rethink music performance curricula from scratch. But alas, wise words won’t change anything—and I have serious doubts whether music universities will be able to carry out reforms on their own initiative.