Moritz Eggert

On March 3, we will be presenting «#Metoo, Hitchcock», the world premiere of a new film score by Moritz Eggert for Alfred Hitchcock's film classic "Blackmail" at our 3rd subscription concert at Burghof Lörrach.
We are very much looking forward to this collaboration and the new work!

Moritz Eggert was born in Heidelberg in 1965. After studying in Frankfurt, Munich and London, he steadily expanded his compositional output with a focus on music theater (19 operas to date), vocal and instrumental music as well as conceptual and performative works. His work often explores extremes in the intensification of aspects of the musical material. Contrary to the typical image of «serious» academic music, his art often uses irony, parody or satire as a means of captivating the audience, but does not shy away from emotionality or melody when necessary. As a blogger («Bad Blog of Musick») and author, he is a well-known critical voice in contemporary music.

To get to know him and his interest in Hitchcock's "Blackmail" better, we asked him five questions:


1. How did you first come into contact with «classical music» and why have you never been able to get away from it?

My mother had an eclectic taste in music and music was always playing in our apartment, with no distinction being made between John Dowland and the Rolling Stones. In this respect, music in general was an important part of my youth. I discovered very early on that I could imagine music in detail in my head - on long car journeys I pressed my ear against the windshield and could listen to any music I wanted in the white noise, this was long before smartphones and mp3s.
One of my first records, Svjatoslav Richter's «Pictures at an Exhibition», turned me towards classical music in particular.

2. Are there pieces/experiences that have particularly influenced you in your development as a composer?

For me, two names have been very important in exploring the field of «new music»: Erik Satie and Charles Ives. I've always had a soft spot for the musically unconventional and outsiders, and both composers are still very important to me today in terms of their thinking and aesthetics, although their music could hardly be more different. What unites them, however, is their unconditional desire for freedom and independence - I could never do anything with stylistic dogmatism and academic self-indulgence.

3. You call yourself the «Bad Boy of New Music». What does that mean and what is your mission as a bad boy?

The real «Bad Boy of Music» is of course George Antheil, but I can't compete with him because I've never brought a firearm to a concert to intimidate a revolting audience. I don't call myself that either, but I had a column in the NMZ under this pseudonym, which later became the «Bad Blog of Musick», which still exists today. In this context, «bad» doesn't mean «evil», but rather «naughty», and the avant-garde, which has become rather stuffy and complacent in recent decades, can certainly tolerate a bit of wildness and naughtiness. But above all, I was interested in the element of humor, and that's why part of our blog is to look at certain aspects of the scene with humor, something that is definitely lacking most of the time.

4. Hitchcock's «Blackmail» was released in 1929, you were born in 1965. What interests you about his films and film music in general?

I didn't originally want to be a composer, but a film director, and Hitchcock has certainly been one of my biggest idols since I was very young. I know all his films and have studied them intensively. His most important film composer - Bernhard Herrmann - is an absolute idol for me, and has certainly influenced my music a lot (which you can certainly hear in my music for "Blackmail" as a tribute). So it was no question for me to immediately say "yes" to such a project. I have a kind of love-hate relationship with film music - as a profession, it's frustrating because, especially in the commercial sector, you're talked into a lot as a composer and have a lot of freedom. Nowadays it's common to cover everything with an undifferentiated sound design anyway, which has very little to do with music. That's why most of what you hear as film music today disappoints me. In the 60s or 70s, even normal TV series had elaborate and artistically valuable music, recorded by live musicians, today everything often sounds endlessly similar and is generated entirely from the standardized digital database. But of course there are great exceptions, even today, and I would definitely enjoy scoring a really good movie. But then with the freedom that Ennio Morricone or Jerry Goldsmith, for example, were given, because they were really good!

5. The Basel Sinfonietta has set itself the goal of performing «Music at the pulse of time» and participating in public debate with its programs. How do you think this can be achieved?

We simply need more music from today in concert programs overall. New music must not only take place in special festivals, it must be given a large space in all «classical» concerts as a matter of course. Unfortunately, this is still not the case because many organizers are courting a dwindling audience instead of looking after the audience of tomorrow. It is quite clear to me, for example, that it is much more difficult to «update» a classical opera (which often only works with massive interventions in the story and a distortion of the original intention of the authors) than to simply write a new piece. Every era has certain themes, and as great as Beethoven and co are - how can they provide answers to the crises of the present? How can their music be emotionally «right»? I am therefore in favor of a conscious turn towards the present in music, then there can be a healthy balance with the classical repertoire, which of course will and should remain fascinating.
Every concert, every evening at the theater, every vernissage or reading is a place of encounter and social discourse that is vastly superior to all the digital echo chambers of the internet. Instead of toxic Facebook comment columns, people should once again seek direct encounters, as we can surely all agree.

Moritz Eggert

Photo: Felix Poehland


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