05. July 2022

Dr. Thomas Husted Kirkegaard Guest Lecture

Dr. Kirkegaard (National Museum of Denmark) will give a talk entitled "Music Theory, Theosophy, and Enchanted Modernity: Tekla Griebel Wandall’s Microcosm of Tones"


In this talk, I will focus on the unpublished music theory treatise Microcosm of Tones [Tonernes Mikrokosmos] by the Danish composer Tekla Griebel Wandall (1866–1940). Based on archival research and my recently published biography (in Danish), I will give an introduction to this forgotten composer and to the treatise she finished at the end of her life after decades of work. The treatise is based on Theosophy and advances a gnostic musical ontology in which tonal music comprises the “eternal truth” through its correspondence with Theosophy’s “Septenary Principle” of man and cosmos. Drawing on the field of Western Esotericism Studies, I will discuss how Microcosm of Tones places Griebel in the context of reenchanted modernity – the many spiritual, mystical, and esoteric currents that flourished in turn-of-the-century culture. Among other things, I will show how Griebel did not think of her project as standing in opposition to the emerging field of modern musicology; rather – and as a consequence of Theosophy’s fundamental negotiation of science and religion – she thought of her ideas as being in correspondence with musicology’s scholarly ideals.   


The talk will take place on Zoom.

Please contact Ms. Diana Gleiss if you would like to attend.