Wendelin Bitzan

Wendelin Bitzan

Children’s Corner

My adorable children start entering the stages of Berlin! This coming weekend, Lionel will have his own music performed by a professional ensemble for the first time. His minuet for five instruments is presented in the closing concert of a composition workshop led by Jobst Liebrecht on Saturday, 24 February, 12 noon, at Apollosaal of Staatsoper Unter den Linden. On that same day he will also appear as a guitarist in the regional competition of Jugend musiziert.

In the meantime Cosima is rehearsing as a harpist with the Children’s Opera Orchestra of the Staatsoper and Giuseppe Mentuccia, preparing music by Antonín Dvořák and Marius Felix Lange soon to be performed. The first concert will take place on Good Friday, 29 March, 11:30 am, at the Staatsoper. Besides, both children have been accepted for the talent promotion programme of Musikschule Fanny Hensel.

Analysing Form in Popular Music

I compiled an overview tutorial on the formal analysis of twentieth-century popular music, available on the platform Open Music Academy, and including the models of strophe and refrain, AABA form, verse-chorus form and its variants, as well as structural elements of EDM productions. Represented styles and genres are Broadway musical, rock’n’roll, rock, pop, and trance; examples are taken from the music of George Gershwin, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, ABBA, and Faithless so far. This is my first serious approach to examining popular music, so I’ll be grateful for any remarks and comments—in particular, if you have suggestions for including convenient examples from rap music, metal, or punk rock.

The Music of Lili Boulanger

Recently I had the chance to listen to several performances of choral music by Lili Boulanger, which struck me as extraordinarily beautiful and appealing both in structure and atmosphere. In particular, there were the profound setting of Psalm 130, which I heard in a concert of Cantus Domus Berlin, and Vieille prière bouddhique with Unichor Düsseldorf. In this context I consider myself lucky to participate in performances of Boulanger’s compositions Hymne au soleil, Sous bois, and La source very soon! These pieces are part of an all-French concert programme for mixed chorus and piano, also including music by Francis Poulenc and Morten Lauridsen, and staged by Vokalsystem Berlin, conductor Johannes David Wolff, and pianist Artschi Loyan. So this is a cordial invitation to our »Realités absurdes«, taking place at Martin-Luther-Kirche Berlin-Neukölln on 17–18 February! Please refer to this website for tickets.

Medtner January 2: Article

The three piano concerti of Nikolai Medtner, his only orchestral works, belong to the most fascinating yet underrated pieces of the repertoire. Hardly ever discussed in music scholarship, they present an astonishing variety of melodic contours and formal designs. The third concerto even features a narrative dimension, portraying the mythical figure of Rusalka in derivation from a Lermontov poem. My approach to the three concerti has now been published in VAN Magazin, including a number of musical examples. Hope you enjoy the read!