Wendelin Bitzan

Wendelin Bitzan

Music Theory Faculty Concert

Dear folks, I’ll have the considerable pleasure to perform two of my own compositions in a faculty concert next Friday, 10 February, 7:30 pm, at Joseph Joachim hall, Berlin University of the Arts. As the opener to a versatile programme including viola d’amore, jazz vocals, and improvisations on Schubert, my piano cycle Children’s Kaleidoscope will experience its first complete performance, along with the sombre November Lament (yes, still not matching the month of presentation). Admission is free—it’d be so much of a delight if you joined the audience!

Lied and Recitation Concert

Cordial invitation to a noteworthy concert at the Berlin University of the Arts, Joseph Joachim hall, on Saturday, 28 January, 7 pm: We’ll take the term Recital seriously and confront a German Lieder programme with recitations of the corresponding poems. Students from the voice classes of professors Julie Kaufmann and Elisabeth Werres will be performing a colourful variety of songs, including two of my own compositions, while my colleague Alwin Müller-Arnke declaims Goethe, Heine, Rilke, and George, accompanied by some lofty introductions from my lips. Admission is free—do pay us a visit!

New SoundCloud Channel

There were a number of live and studio recordings, mostly from my school and university years, that used to linger on my hard disks. In addition to my composer profile and that of my choir, I have now launched a separate SoundCloud page dedicated to performances of other people’s piano music. Here you will find some pieces by Bach, Schumann, Franck, Scriabin, and Gershwin. I’d be so delighted if thou wouldst kindly lend me thine ears!

Update: I uploaded additional recordings dating from 2005–2009, including piano music, duo chamber music, and some romantic lieder and musical songs. Particularly recommendable are the compositions by Enrique Granados, Leoš Janáček, Alban Berg, Francis Poulenc, Viktor Ullmann, and Dmitry Shostakovich, but you’ll also find pieces from the standard canon of keyboard music such as Bach’s, Chopin’s, and Brahms’s. Have a look at my SoundCloud performer profile!

Postfactual Retrospect

My satirical retrospect on the music year of 2016 has been published at German blog Musik – mit allem und viel scharf. The four episodes deal with aspects of musical performance, composition, and academic life, drawing on a handful of recent Facebook posts—you will probably recognize some of them. Postfactual alert in advance: Please be aware of your sense of absurd irony and subtle mockery being put to the test 😉

Conflicting Key Signatures

The denomination of key signatures of musical works does not always reflect the actual reality. For example, Beethoven‘s Kreutzer Sonata, Op. 47, is referred to as an A major work due to the tonality of the introduction and the finale, whereas the sonata-allegro part of the 1st movement is in A minor. A slightly different case is Schumann‘s String Quartet, Op. 41 No. 1, where the introduction also determines the alleged tonality of A minor, regardless of the fact that the first sonata-allegro is in F major. Even more curious is the key of Schubert‘s Impromptu, Op. 90 No. 4, notated and generally given as A flat major, even if the music clearly begins in A flat minor.

Isn’t it a bit awkward to only look at a piece’s beginning when identifying its overall key? To me it seems reasonable to consider the main section of a movement more relevant than an introduction, as long as the latter only switches between major and minor modes—such as Mendelssohn‘s Rondo capriccioso, Op. 14 (correctly termed an E minor work, even if its introduction is in E major), or Dvořák‘s Eighth Symphony, Op. 88 (a G major work with a 1st-movement introduction in G minor). According to that principle, we should speak of the Kreutzer Sonata as an A minor composition. On the contrary, the abovementioned Schumann remains an A minor work, as indicated by three of its four movements, and despite the 1st movement moving to the submediant. What do you think?