<span class="vcard">Wendelin Bitzan</span>
Wendelin Bitzan

Beach’s Beautiful Ballade

Finished a paper on a fascinating pair of works by American composer Amy Beach (1867–1944), whose music has intrigued me a lot recently. Her Ballade for piano in D-flat major, Op. 6, of 1891 is based on an earlier song with lyrics by Scottish poet Robert Burns, My luve is like a red, red rose, Op. 12 No. 3. I am looking at the form, harmony, and motivic-thematic work in a comparative study of these pieces, and exploring the intertextual relation of the piano parts. Available online soon!

Scriabin Turns 150

This is a somewhat belated Aleksandr Scriabin birthday post, expressing my gratitute for all those rewarding experiences with his music, and excitement to take part in a conference in Reading later this year in honour of his 150th anniversary. More news to follow! For now, here’s Konstantin Balmont‘s 1925 poem Zvukovoy zazïv (Call of Sound):

He felt through symphonies of light.
He appealed to fuse into one floating temple –
Touches, sounds, incense,
And processions, with dances as a sign,
The whole sunshine, the fire of flowers and summer,
The whole lunar prophecy through the stars,
Thunders here, and a small splutter there,
The banter of a musical sunrise.
Waking up in heaven while dreaming on earth.
Spreading whirlwinds of sparks in pierced dust,
In the fire of sacrifice he was tireless.
And he danced in a fervent funnel,
Until he woke to death with twinkle on his face,
The insane elf, the invocation, the ringing Scriabin.

A Resourceful Colleague

Do you know that Israeli guy living in Switzerland who passionately talks in English about Italian and Franco-Flemish music? If not, you absolutely should check him out. Elam Rotem, a devoted musician, scholar, and communicator, continuously shares his expertise of the Renaissance and Baroque repertoire and music theory on his website and YouTube channel Early Music Sources. In addition to a database of sources, the available videos show multiple approaches to the analysis of selected compositions, and examine questions of style as well as practice of historical composition and improvisation. Given the many followers and appreciations of this page, it’s not at all like I tell something new here. Yet I just felt the urge to appreciate a resource that has given me so many delightful moments and cannot be recommended highly enough.

Next Steps at DTKV Berlin

It’s been a fruitful week for Deutscher Tonkünstlerverband Berlin. After a joint meeting with Christian Höppner last Monday, discussing perspectives of cultural politics and professional representation of freelance musicians in Berlin together with my colleague Simon Borutzki, we had a very productive general assembly yesterday. The participating members showed high commitment in running for and electing new delegates for Landesmusikrat Berlin, initiative neue musik, and the DTKV federal delegate assembly. Moreover, they decided unanimously to pass a new statute that will allow digital communication and virtual meetings, and facilitate member participation and decision-making for the future. Looking forward very much to the activities and challenges to come!

Medtner Collective Volume Out Now

It’s finally out! Nikolai Medtner: Music, Aesthetics, and Contexts. A belated commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the composer’s death, this publication was spent on a great deal of my time and efforts for the past two years. Yet it was worth every minute! My sincere thanks go to Christoph Flamm, the best co-editor I could think of, and to all the authors of the twelve chapters who contributed their perspectives of research and performance practice from the US, UK, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Ukraine. The volume is available from the publisher, or from the retailer of your choice.