Wendelin Bitzan

Wendelin Bitzan

Female Composers in Music Theory Classes

I compiled a playlist of music by female composers which I have used with great benefit as examples and exercises in my music theory classes. Most of the pieces turned out easy to integrate into the curriculum and suited my topics and purposes very well. Here is a list of fine compositions ranging from Maddalena Casulana to Sofiya Gubaidulina. Please let me know if you think something is missing or should be included for whatever reason.

Music for my Children

After my previous attempts to compose music for my children had all turned out too complicated, I tried again and produced a little song without words, dedicated to my daughter and son. It is to be performed on their respective instruments, harp or guitar. Also, there is a version for piano. If you think it might suit your children or pupils as well, feel free to get hold of it! #musicforchildren

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.