12.14.2011

Serious. Seriously?

Moritz Eggert - © Christian HartmannThis year my Music in the Humanities experience was very gratifying. I already have ideas on how to do it differently next time and develop ways to get the students to engage. One of the most influential teaching models for me is my German teacher at ACC, Frau Suzanna Martin. In her attempt to get us to say German phrases, she always showed herself reading and willing to play the bigger fool than any of us. "Play my stupid game!" she would cry while singing the "accusativen Prepositionen" song. All that to say, I have fun in my class, but not so fun that people feel unsafe. I'll see when I get my reviews back.

I did manage to get more people to talk, during and after class, and one introduced me to the following composer. My student, the token "old guy in the front row" (his words) says that he knows Moritz Eggert (1965-) from board game conventions that they both attend! He found out recently that this guy is an internationally known avant-garde composer. He's written eight operas, a collage of all 22 of Mozart's operas, and designed the opening ceremonies of the FIFA World Cup 2006. He appears as a soloist, collaborator, conductor, has won tons of prizes... And apparently he love board games!

I checked out his German website to try and get a little flavor of his music. He frequently uses the title Hämmerklavier. The title, as explained in Hämmerklavier I: Ins freie (1994) has to do with the conceptualization of the instrument's relationship to the performer. To really get into the experimental mindset of what this looks like in his music, here are some YouTube recordings of Hämmerklavier III: One Man Band (1994). I love the energy of the first one, especially the foot stomp, but the second has better sound and the angle gives you a better idea of what is happening to the piano. It looks really fun to play, though maybe not too fun to listen to. :) It really hits home the experimentation some composers are drawn to. I wonder what the sheet music looks like.





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