Am Koppenplatz

Garrett Sholdice

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Koppenplatz is a quintessential Berlin square. Located in the Spandau quarter of Berlin’s Mitte district, and bordered by Großen Hamburger Straße, Linienstraße and Auguststraße, it was the site of an urban cemetery in the 18th and 19th centuries.

I discovered Koppenplatz for the first time whilst walking home from a morning spent working on this piece in a little practice room on Friedrichstraße. The ‘openness’ of the space seemed to happen all of a sudden. I wasn’t sure exactly which way I should continue walking, and I stood in the quietness for several minutes before moving on.

This experience of temporary suspension, uncertainty and stillness, became inextricably linked to this piece for me – hence the title: ‘Am Koppenplatz’ (‘At Koppenplatz’).

The piece was commissioned by pianist Michael McHale to act as a companion piece to Donnacha Dennehy’s aphoristic piano miniature, North Circular (the title of which also invokes an urban location: Dublin’s North Circular Rd.)

And so, as is often the case with my pieces, there is homage at the heart of this music too: homage to Michael McHale, a very sensitive musician whom I admire a lot, and homage to my former teacher Donnacha Dennehy, to whom I am very grateful.

(Note by Garrett Sholdice, 2012)

Subtitle: Prelude # 6

Am Koppenplatz was first performed by Michael McHale at Methodist College, Belfast, on 22 November 2012.

A recording of Am Koppenplatz appears on Michael McHale’s solo album, The Irish Piano, available to purchase here.

Listen to an excerpt here: