This Sunday, May 21, will see the first Berlin Medtner Concert Day take place at Logenhaus Wilmersdorf, serving as the inaugural concert of the freshly founded International Medtner Society. In two recitals starting at 11am and 6pm, six devoted musicians will introduce themselves with piano sonatas, skazki, and Goethe songs. Looking forward to the performances of Anna Warnecke, Luisa Splett, Irina Chistiakova, Darya Dadykina, Vasily Gvozdetsky, and Evgeny Nikiforov—and also to adding some introductory words and remarks based on my latest research. The concerts are nearly fully booked, so hurry up to snatch one of the last tickets. For details see the Facebook event page.
German classical music journalism has approached a state of mud-wrestling these days. Alban Gerhardt is attacked by Christine Lemke-Matwey for his political engagement, Laura Wikert‘s criticism of David Garrett earns her a mini shitstorm from his groupies, Norbert Schläbitz condemns traditional musicology, Hartmut Welscher and Tobias Ruderer settle up with Deutsche Grammophon‘s marketing policy, Igor Levit defends his unjustly harassed colleagues in an angry rant, and Alphonse Sauer seriously speaks of »journalist fascism«. Feuilletonistic trifle at its best! I feel very well entertained.
This Saturday I will be giving a talk on Nikolai Medtner’s Sonata-Skazka, Op. 25 No. 1, in the framework of the MAEK symposium at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien. The programme features presentations by PhD students from Austria, Romania, and the US. I’d be delighted to have your physical support and inquiring remarks on narrativity, cyclicity, and hybrid form in Medtner! Meet me on April 29, 3:30 pm @ Neuer Konzertsaal, Rennweg 8, 1030 Vienna.
If I weren’t travelling to Vienna, I’d most certainly be in Moscow over the weekend. Students of the Royal College of Music London will present Medtner’s complete piano sonatas on two consecutive evenings. If you have the chance, come to Moscow Conservatory‘s Rachmaninov Hall on April 29–30, 7pm, and listen to the performances of Dinara Klinton, Emily Hooker, Varvara Tarasova, Natsumi Ikenaga, Su Ton Chen, Poom Prommachart, Mario Ahijado, Adam Taylor, and professor Dina Parakhina.
Fancy a musical performance in an extraordinary location? My composition Telemanniana will be premiered in the context of Theater Magdeburg‘s youth project »Telemann bewegt«, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. Join us in one of Telemann’s favourite places in his native city—come to the Gruson-Gewächshäuser this Friday, April 21, and listen to the chorus of Hegel-Gymnasium Magdeburg and awesome baritone Thomas Florio, conducted by Astrid Schubert. Performances start at 2pm, 4pm, and 6pm, surrounded by exotic plants and flowers. More details here.
This is why I am not really interested in performers of classical music. My impression is that many artists, particularly those featured by the major labels, abuse their personality to mask the music. I cringe whenever I see a concert ad or CD cover with a performer’s name printed in capital letters bigger than the composer’s—this makes me stay away from the concert or leave the store. Their faces may be pretty and their attitude seductive, but unfortunately I am attracted by the music itself rather than by the people performing it. And what they perform is largely uninteresting—no surprises, hardly anything beyond the established canon. So all of you big shots and top sellers: Please spare me your hundreds of Moony Sonatas, Teardrop Preludes, and La Campannoyas just serving your self-portrayal. Keep your artistic profile neurosis for yourself. For being commercially controlled puppets of the music industry, you have my pity, not my sympathy. You don’t illuminate the music, you are basking in its light. Go on selling your shallow high-gloss products, but don’t expect me to watch or listen.