Writings on music

Drone sichtbar machen durch Schmetterlinge

Being inspired to deal more with the concepts of La Monte Young from a seminar with the title minmal music led by Dr. Yvonne Wasserloos and Prof. Manfred Waffender at Robert-Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf in winter 2013, I wrote this text in summer 2014. It proposes some aesthetical questions towards the fifth work of La Monte Young’s series compositions 1960 that had a significant influence on the movement of Fluxus. See the instruction for the performance of composition 1960 #5 below. (For the full text in german language click on the picture below.)

compostion 1960 #5

“Turn a butterfly (or any number of butterflies) loose in the performance area. When
the composition is over, be sure to allow the butterfly to fly away outside. The composition
may be any length, but if an unlimited amount of time is available, the doors
and windows may be opened before the butterfly is turned loose and the composition
may be considered finished when the butterfly flies away.”

Musik als psychoanalytisches Protokoll: Theodor W. Adornos Problematisierung zwischen Expressionismus, Sachlichkeit, Individuum und Gesellschaft am Beispiel von Arnold Schönbergs op. 11 Nr.3

This text was part of my annual examination in the fourth semester of my undergraduate studies. For this purpose I read the very helpful analysis Arnold Schönberg: Drei Klavierstücke op. 11. Studien zur frühen Atonalität bei Schönberg by Reinhold Brinkmann. Arnold Schönbergs 3 Klavierstücke op. 11 are often used as remarkable examples for early expressionistic musical work. In his book Philosophie der neuen Musik  Theodor W. Adorno puts critical emphasis on expressionistic manifestationts especially in music. He sees them mostly just as a kind of psychoanalytical journal for the composers. In my treatise I try to examine wether this assumption can be verified on the basis of op. 11 or not. (For the full text in german language please send me a request via mail.)

Hermeneutik und Interkulturalität am Beispiel des Komponisten Isang Yun

This is my bachelor thesis that I wrote for my graduation from Heinrich-Heine-Universität in Düsseldorf. With this work my aim is to pursue an interdisciplinary perspective on the south korean/german composer Isang Yun and his intercultural significance. I try to incorporate both, philosophical and musicological theories mostly regarding the pragmatistic theory of Richard Rorty and it’s position towards the conception of hermeneutics by Hans-Georg Gadamer and the book Neue Musik und Interkulturalität by Christian Utz. Before describing the way I approached the material it is necessary to designate some biographical information about the composer Isang Yun. In 1967 he was kidnapped from West-Berlin by agents of the south korean secret agency KCIA for having contact with north korean citizens in eastern Berlin. They brought him to Seoul and kept him there as a prisoner until February 1969. During his imprisonment  he was able to compose but had to sustain horrific torture and prison conditions. The musical results of that time where an opera called the widow of the butterfly and two chamber music pieces called Ryul and Images. For my examination I put the focus on Images, mostly because it was based on paintings inside an ancient sepulchral monument in North Korea that Yun visited in 1963. For my approach to this I used Richard Rorty’s interpretation of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and George Orwell’s 1984 which is developed in his readable book Contingency, Irony and Solidarity. It’s proposition describes a way of creating sensitivity for cruelty through reading. Due Rorty’s emphasis on novels the question of my thesis asks wether this conception can be  transferred into the context of music or not. My results claim that this is only possible with a perspective not exclusively focussing on music inherent information but also incorporating data and aspects that are lying outside the musical score. In the case of Images and Isang Yun this means that a comprehensive view on a musical piece can only be derived from a research practice that is incorporating both, internal data such as musical scores, and external data such as biographical information. Relativism shouldn’t be the result of this but a way of treating both forms of material in their way as important for the subject matter as possible. (For the full text in german language please send me a request via mail.)