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Bernhard Watzer


July 19, 2013

Myriad : Hello, Mr Watzer, thanks for answering some questions. You won the First Prize of the 27th Tune Friendly Contest with your piece "7-teen for Fairground Organ"  and we wish first to know who you are.
Could you please introduce yourself ?

Thank you very much! It is my pleasure to answer your questions.
My name is Bernhard Watzer. I was born in Heidelberg. Since about 25 years I live with my family in Marburg. Both cities, Heidelberg and Marburg, are beautiful old university towns of Germany.
I'm working in a scientific laboratory at the Philipps University of Marburg. Mass spectrometry is my job-related field of activity. And music is one of my favourite private activities! 

Myriad: On what kind of hardware are you working ?
BW: My hardware is not very special. I use a M-Audio MIDI keystation, a Roland Sound Module SC33, M-AUDIO BX5A studio monitor speakers, and a Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz, 1GB RAM PC. In former times I used an Atari with the NOTATOR software. Since many years I use the software from MYRIAD. First the MA, and later on the HA. About a year ago, the VS was added. And it would be wonderful if I could still use my Miroslav Philharmonik with the Harmony Assistant.
Myriad: What has been your music itinerary ?
BW:At age 12, I started to make music. Only as a hobby.
This was later extended with ensemble playing and followed by some interpretation and conducting courses. After numerous arrangements for various ensembles there followed some minor compositions. After all these years it is still a very, very nice hobby.
Myriad: Do you play an instrument (or several) ?
BW:Midi-Keyboard, Accordion and Bass-Accordion (ensemble)
Myriad: What are your tastes in matter of music ? You can quote artists
or music genres if you want.
BW:This is a difficult question. My music taste is extremely diversified. No style is left out. In music, there are no borders. Music from North to South and East to West. I hear baroque to classic, country and pop, folk, rock, film music and musicals. From string to brass, from traditional to modern, from solo to orchestra, and so on.
Myriad: More precisely, what are you currently listening to ?
BW:That's a really long, long list.   :-) :-) :-)
The following are some exemplary current pieces of various genres and origin.
From Great Britain:
"Capital Children's Choir" with "Chinese: Choral Tribute to Lily Allen"
A piece of music that really gives goosebumps.
"Harry Potter V"  End Credits Soundtrack
In my opinion the best final track of all HP movies.
From Russia:
Shan-shan Sun (Chinese) plays Nikolai Kapustin's "Toccatina"
from Concert Etudes op.40.
An insane piece of piano literature. Absolutely brilliantly executed!
And something completely different....
Music from the Russian television series "Masha and the Bear" with Alina Kukushkina
and the same short part out of the computer animated film
and more nice songs "Hiccup" and "Pro Jam"
From Russia in 'cooperation' with Korea and Latvia:
Igudesman & Joo  +  Gidon Kremer & Kremerata "We Will Survive"
From Austria:
Mnozil Brass with "Moldavia"
From China:
"Butterfly Lovers Concerto"
Since many years one of my favourite violin concertos
"Hakka Pictures" Concerto
and from the same orchestra a fantastic piece of music:
"Windy City Overture"
and a beautiful choral work from Taiwan:
And a pop song of the nice actor and singer Leslie Cheung (1956-2003)
"Chin Chin Kyut Go"
From USA:
William Grand Still  "Afro-American symphony III"
Artie Shaw  "Clarinete Concerto"  Banda Sinfónica da GNR
From Venezuela (orchestra and conductor) / Mexico (composer):
Arturo Márquez  "Danzón No. 2" with Gustavo Dudamel as gorgeous conductor of this brilliant youth orchestra
From India:
Soundtrack song from "Om Shanti Om" with Shahrukh Khan
With this impressive song the contents of a planned film is told. A dramatic love story with a fatal outcome. The real culprit is present and so directly impeached.
And finally from Germany:
Herrn Stumpfes Zieh & Zupf Kapelle ["Mr. Blunt's pull & pluck band"]
Music with vocals. Usually sung with Swabian dialect.
Minor Swing (instrumental)
J'aime les filles (in French)
Bodo Wartke - "Liebeslied" (in allen Sprachen)  [Lovesong (in all languages)]
In this example, Bodo asks the audience to call three languages ​​in which he should sing the song. The audience selected Serbian, Latin and Turkish.
Karat - "Albatros"
German rock, here with classic support.
Myriad:  And what kind of music don't you listen to anymore?
BW:An even more difficult question. Perhaps purely atonal music.
But if there are rhythmic phrases... it could be different.
Myriad: If you had to chose a piece to be put into a capsule to be sent to the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri, what would be your choice?
BW:It could be Mozart's g-minor symphony.
Myriad: If you had to be out of the world during a whole year, what are the two albums you would take away with you ?
BW:I think I would take a jam-packed mp3-player with me. Otherwise, I would not go!  :-)
Myriad: About the piece which won the contest, what has been the source of your inspiration ?
BW:The source of inspiration has been, as so often: women.
First, I needed a gift for my daughters 17th birthday. And second, after addition of a drum set, a friend of mine told me: 'Now this sounds like circus-music'.
And from circus-music to a fairground organ it was not far off.
Myriad : What have been the progress of your composition (technical details will be of interest for the readers) ?
BW:The first version was created for piano. A bit later I arranged it for small brass ensemble.
A drum set was added. When I read about the competition, it was clear that this current work would be suitable for a new instrumentation which should sound like a mechanical fairground organ. After selection of organ and organ-like instruments, I had to add some typical percussion instruments: xylophone, vibraphone and glockenspiel. That's it.
Myriad: Do you have an anecdote to recount ? Not necessarily related to your piece, but related to music in general.
BW:Orchestra competition. Tense silence. The conductor raises his arms.
At this special moment, a sheet of music flies from the music stand of the timpanist and disappears exact vertically into an extreme narrow slot of the stage construction.
My brother, the timpanist, got a very red face and it took several minutes to bring the sheet back.
Myriad : What are your goals or your project in relation with music?
BW:Continue to use music for relaxation and as compensation for the professional activity.
Myriad : Do you have a personal Web site ?
BW:Yes, I have one:  http://www.watzer.de/
Myriad : Do you want to pass an advice or a message to the readers of this interview ?
BW:Maybe this: Use the Myriad software and make it more popular!
Myriad : What other questions would you have wanted to be asked ? What would have been your answers then ? What would be your wishes for improvements to the software?
BW:My answer would be:
Harmony Assistant is a very great software! For years I have been working almost daily with the HA, and in my opinion there are little things that would make work a bit easier:
[1] Personalised windows should be moved just by clicking on the title bar. With this small modification an accidental click next a button does not move the entire window.
[2] When trying to use the mouse to select a note you often gets the setting of stem length. The lengths of the stems are usually absolutely fine. So it would be quite reasonable only in combination with a button (e.g. s = stem) to select the stems.
[3] Perhaps a new combined tool: Insert a note & transfer of properties in one tool. Clicking on an empty space, a corresponding note will be inserted. Clicking on a note/pause a selected property will be transferred.
[4] If a software crash would occur it would be useful if the list of recently used files would be saved. Otherwise older versions will be reloaded.
Note: After work I usually set the computer into hibernation (XP options: shut down / standby / hibernation). This saves a lot of time at boot and all programs are as you left them.
[5] Since I always work simultaneously with many open files, it would be very helpful, if each file would remember in which folder it was stored. Currently is hard to keep the drive in order.  And maybe a new button/option to save the files with an automatically incrementing version number. That would be cool. :-)
[6] The display of the numerical values should be above the sliders, so that the mouse cursor would not cover numerical values of sliders (e.g. note delay).
Furthermore, it would be helpful to show (and select easily) simple basic values. E.g. for the note delay: No delay (0).  And finally an extra button or key combination to activate the display of the note delay would be just fine.
Myriad : Thank you for having answered these questions.
BW:Thank you for the interview.

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