My performing as a singer fulfills my dream from childhood and with my voice I feel to be in the centre of my vocation. Singing is an activity that brings joy and I love to sing and to teach others to sing. Having had no formal training other than that of the composers through their music and my own music too for that matter I was always keen to retain a natural approach to singing. Composing for choir and solo-voices has necessitated coming to understand more about the voice. Over the years the demand of the piano to be a performer has proven to be too time-consuming. Since the autumn of 2004 I have had the amazing good fortune of working with William Hancox. He is a singing teacher/coach and of course a fabulous accompanist. His understanding of the voice training and development has enabled me to develop a new technique with an open voice that I never thought possible, but it has not only sharpened my hunger for performing as a singer but stimulated my creativity as a composer as well
More recently the work with Julie Groves on the Songs to the Story of Parzival has added new dimensions to singing and working with a solo instrument in a duo relationship is an exiting medium. My continuous working with the compositions of Kodaly has brought me lots of inspiration over the years.
Repertoire for Baritone and Piano:
Songs by Dowland, Purcell, Schubert, Schumann, Wolf, Mahler, Ravel, Butterworth, Gershwin, Coward, Kodaly, Brinch and others.
I have worked extensively in workshop and teaching environments and offer a workshop tailored to the needs of the participants. This can include:
- A variety of warm-up exercises. The main purpose for me in such sessions is for the participants to feel free to sound their voice and to exercise the balance of listening and singing. To access the music in the most profound way at the simplest level of technical ability. This I pursue with a light-hearted and joyful approach as I have consistently found that a joyful soul is more easily brought into song!
- Singing with large groups of people for periods of 10 minutes to 60 minutes. I have a large selection of rounds and songs and part songs, many, I find particularly beautiful and are in some ways challenging either melodically, rhythmically or harmonically. Through these a deeper experience of music making is achieved and the music can do its work in the soul of the participant.
- A selection of children’s songs that are both well and little known, these have a good effect when sung with adults!
I am open to suggestions and willing to work with any material as long as I can somehow find a connection to the music myself.
Section for the Performing Arts: Long Night of Music in Munich
“New gateways to the soul through listening”
On 6 May the Anthroposophical Society participated in the Long Night of Music in Munich, offering concerts with works based on the Schlesinger scales and encouraging listeners to join in.
The Long Night of Music is structured in such a way that new 45-minute musical programs start every hour on the hour in different places. Listeners are conveyed to the various sites by shuttle buses. While our audiences earlier in the evening were mostly made up of familiar faces from the Munich anthroposophical group (Arbeitszentrum München) – some of whom stayed till the end – we were joined later by more and more people who had not been to Munich’s Rudolf Steiner House before. Involving them actively in meaningful activity for which no previous knowledge was required was successful PR work, I thought.
This was particularly true for the final highlight, which went from midnight to 1 a.m. Emi Yoshida managed to get everyone present to move in a joint eurythmy piece that was based on the Schlesinger scales. She used gestures, which were discovered more than ninety years ago in relation to the seven chakras and the seven planets, in order to introduce eurythmy and its artistic, harmonizing and healing potential. The patient use of scales opens up new channels to the soul, allowing for a generally enhanced musical experience.
The Schlesinger scales
The scales, which Kathleen Schlesinger discovered almost a hundred years ago using ancient Greek flutes, presenting them shortly afterwards to Rudolf Steiner at the Goetheanum, are derived from the sequence of tones (up to the fifteenth) with the same overtone and their respective octaves. With this (‘Undertone’) sequence – in addition to the more familiar overtone series (tones with the same fundamental) – Goethe’s request that minor and major moods should be regarded as equivalent poles in music can be met.
Such an innovative approach asks for innovative compositions: Kazuhiko Yoshi¬da from Munich (DE) has composed pieces based on the relationship with the seven classical planets discovered by Schlesinger. Two of Yoshida’s pieces for lyre were performed in eurythmy by the Aleph Ensemble (Emi Yoshida and Reinhard Penzel). Bevis Stevens from Überlingen (DE) has created a conversation between this intonation and a chromatic melody on the flute. Gotthard Killian from Arlesheim (CH) presented a short oratory based on words spoken by Rudolf Steiner in relation to Isis Sophia. Gregers Brinch from London (GB) contributed very natural sounding songs derived from these scales. Christian Ginat from Dornach (CH) used the scales in alternating modulations and in contrast to their reversed overtone sequence. Knut Rennert from Leipzig (DE) brought a composition, in which he had used this approach to accompany a Welsh song, as well as an improvisation based on two of the characteristic intervals of the overtone scale: the natural seventh, extended into a ‘Slendro’ scale – which can be called the archetypal musical culture of humanity, – and its natural sixth, which demonstrates Near Eastern influences; all this under the overall title of “Prayer for our Syrian Friends”. All the composers named performed their own pieces with the exception of Bevis Stevens who was unable to attend.
The group, which meets 2-3 times annually to conduct research into this kind of music, also includes the Basel flautist Joachim Pfeffinger (CH).
Greatly enjoyed playing
Anybody wishing to learn more about this subject will find details in Heiner Ruland’s work (for instance Expanding Tonal Awareness, Rudolf Steiner Press 2014), which has inspired many of us to study it in greater depth. Other works of interest (for German-language readers) are Gotthard Killian’s book on the Pythagorean monochord (Die Monochordschule des Pythagoras, 2006) and Michael Kurtz’ Rudolf Steiner und die Musik (2015).
In commemoration of Heiner Ruland’s death on 25 March 2017 the third movement of his viola sonata was played.
At 10 p.m. everyone present was involved in joined music-making, using original instruments researched and built by Knut Rennert, who had brought several of them along. The interest of the players and their joy in playing was tangible. | Christian Ginat, Dornach (CH)(edited by GB)