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The Dialectics of Gerd Kühr’s Corona-Meditation: An Analytical Essay

Sharif, Malik

text Journal Article Open Access


Abstract (English)

Gerd Kühr’s Corona-Meditation premiered on April 30, 2020, in a transnational online performance with more than 50 musicians, hosted by the Graz-based music festival Styriarte. The piece, written for a variable and unlimited number of pianists, is a creative response by Kühr to the social and cultural consequences of the measures implemented in Austria and other countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This essay is a critical musicological encounter with this composition. It aims at providing a close analytical, emically informed, and historically contextualized understanding of the Corona-Meditation’s multi-faceted character, thereby contributing a detailed case study on the impact of the pandemic on musical creativity to the expanding scholarly discourse of “COVID-19 musicology.” In this regard, the essay also seizes an opportunity to expand this discourse beyond the present prevalence of social-scientific and psychological viewpoints by employing approaches more germane to the humanities, especially critical and reflexive engagement with the details and particularities of individual cultural artifacts. The essay’s trajectory begins with an account of the genesis and premiere of the Corona-Meditation, which provides the contextual backdrop for the following music-analytical engagement with the piece. After a section describing the methodological and theoretical frame, a series of salient structural and processual features of the composition is considered in musical analysis. Drawing on comments by Kühr on the compositional design of the Corona-Meditation and considering different actual performances and potential realizations, these investigations move through the macro-, meso-, and microlevels of the piece and are linked in their analytical narrative by a recurrent guiding metaphor of “dialectics.”

The Dialectics of Gerd Kühr’s Corona-Meditation: An Analytical Essay
Sharif, Malik |  
Österreichische Gesellschaft für Musikwissenschaft
Journal Article
786 - Keyboard & other instruments
Open Access