Tag Archives: Obituary

Where there is no love, everything is in vain

Zurich composer and music journalist Rolf Urs Ringger passed away on 26 June 2019 aged 84. Obituary by guest author Thomas Meyer

Rolf Urs Ringger: Where there is no love, everything is in vain

Rolf Urs Ringger had been a SUISA member since 1960. (Photo: Keystone / Gaëtan Bally)

When he was young, he is said to have wanted to write a novel with the title “The Dandy”: The protagonist takes a taxi to the opera. The book was supposed to be about this short yet extended trip – and with that, probably a little bit about himself. Never mind, whether this was invented or whether the inheritance really might include a fragment of the novel: Rolf Urs Ringger knew, of course, what kind of bait he threw to journalists with such an anecdote. Full of mischief, he envisaged how the image of Ringger, the dandy, emerged, and was happy because that is who he was: the dandy among Swiss composers, genuinely vain, but also sensually playful with this vanity. When Adrian Marthaler visualised his orchestral work “Breaks and Takes” for TV, Ringger himself played a Delius-like, melancholic composer by a swimming pool.

“I love flirting. It does, after all, provide my production with a light and playful moment. And it is really well received by the audience. And I enjoy it.” That’s what he said in a conversation. “The moment of narcissism, now understood without bias, is prominently perceptible with me.” I liked him for this kind of self-irony which was rather natural in his case. He brought his very own and outstanding colour into the Zurich music scene which tended to be modest. He was glamorous, eclectic, urban, even though he always spent his summers on Capri where he created a few sensual sound patterns. The composer was heavily involved in creating this image.

Sound and word artist

Ringger was also a native of Zurich. Born in Zurich on 06 April 1935, he grew up here, lived and worked here, a word and sound artist. He attended the seminar in Küsnacht, he completed a thesis on Weberns piano pieces at the musicologists’ seminar Zurich with Kurt von Fischer. As rur. (his initials used for writing as a journalist for the NZZ), he belonged to the critics’ staff of the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung”, delivered trenchant and elegant, sometimes deliberately careless texts, but also wrote early portraits on those composers who only got attention to a great extent such as Edgard Varèse or Charles Ives, Erik Satie and Othmar Schoeck. Apart from great characters, there are also mavericks, and he happily remembered the nostalgics among whom he probably counted himself. In publications such as the essay collection “Von Debussy bis Henze”, he bundled these portraits.

Ringger had lessons in composition very early on, privately with Hermann Haller. At Darmstadt summer schools in 1956, he studied under Theodor W. Adorno and Ernst Krenek, shortly after for half a year with Hans Werner Henze in Rome. Those were aesthetic antipodes since Henze had already withdrawn from the avant-garde scene by then. Even though Ringger later on mentioned with a smug expectant smile that he got on better with Adorno than with Henze, he still followed his abandon of the strictly serial techniques to an orientation towards a sensual sound language. This can already be heard from the sound of his titles: “… Vagheggi il mar e l’arenoso lido…” for orchestra (1978), “Souvenirs de Capri” for soprano, bugle and string sextet (1976–77), “Ode ans Südlicht” for choir and orchestra (1981) or “Addio!” for strings and tubular bells. He also created three ballet music works, namely “Der Narziss” (1980), “Ikarus” (1991), and “Ippòlito” (1995). What he obviously never tried was to approach the great dramatico-musical forms.

Sensual sound language

Ringger was one of the first who used neo-tonal elements in the 70ies, as a Henze follower, trending rather early. I dedicated a caustic comment to this in a review back then. Of course, despite all of his self-irony, he reacted relatively offended. And yet, a few years later, he reverted to the issue with pleasure and proudly announced that I had called him the first neo-tonal in this country back then. The change towards postmodernism had proved him right.

Thus, his music often played with quotes (from Debussy, for example), indulged in impressionistic colours or in highly romantic gestures, but still remained transparent and light all the while. I did, however, treasure him most as an urban flâneur. Not where he put newspaper clippings together in a childish manner to create a collage (“Chari-Vari-Etudes”, “Vermischtes”) for chamber speaking choir but in his musical promenades. In the “Manhattan Song Book” (2002) for soprano, three speaking voices and five instruments, he is out and about in New York, observes, takes notes, comments in eleven songs, cheeky, carefree, again in a coquettish self-mirroring. When a lady, called as a not so friendly “crazy witch”, asks him whether he was the “famous composer”, he only answers briefly: “No, it’s my cousin.”

Now he passed away. “Lights!” is written at the top of his obituary, below the sentences: “He loved the sun of the Mediterranean, music and youth. He thanks all of those who have done well unto him in his life and supported his music.” Capri is going to miss him. His “Notiziario caprese” (2004) ends with the words “(very calm, nearly without pathos) Se non c’è Amore, tutto è sprecato. (very matter-of-fact) Where there is no love, everything is in vain. Inscription on a grave in Capri; about 2020.”

The obituary by Thomas Meyer was first published in the “Schweizer Musikzeitung” no. 9/10 of September/October 2019.

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Zurich composer and music journalist Rolf Urs Ringger passed away on 26 June 2019 aged 84. Obituary by guest author Thomas Meyer

Rolf Urs Ringger: Where there is no love, everything is in vain

Rolf Urs Ringger had been a SUISA member since 1960. (Photo: Keystone / Gaëtan Bally)

When he was young, he is said to have wanted to write a novel with the title “The Dandy”: The protagonist takes a taxi to the opera. The book was supposed to be about this short yet extended trip – and with that, probably a little bit about himself. Never mind, whether this was invented or whether the inheritance really might include a fragment of the novel: Rolf Urs Ringger knew, of course, what kind of bait he threw to journalists with such an anecdote. Full of mischief, he envisaged how the image of Ringger, the...read more

A tribute to Claudio Taddei

On 9 August this year, singer-songwriter and painter Claudio Taddei passed away at the age of 52. Obituary by Rossana Taddei and Sara Ravarelli

A tribute to Claudio Taddei

Rossana and Claudio Taddei. (Photo: Alejandro Persichetti)

Born in Uruguay to parents from Ticino, Claudio grew up between Switzerland and South America, where he embarked on a glittering musical career that took him to the top of the South American charts. In 2002, at the height of his fame in Uruguay, Claudio was struck down by a serious illness that led him to return to Switzerland. Here he alternated periods of intense medical treatment with a busy schedule of concerts and artistic performances, quickly becoming a popular figure in Ticino – a renowned musician and celebratedpainter.

Claudio Taddei began indulging his passion for music in childhood, together with his sister Rossana, who has also enjoyed a successful musical career in Uruguay. A SUISA member for some years now, Rossana wanted to share with us her loving and personal memory of Claudio, as a brother and artist. (Sara Ravarelli)

Dear brother, friend and companion on a journey full of adventures and dreams

A sun, a giant star full of light.
You always loved to trace the path of the sun and to the sun you now return.
There is no farewell because you live on in all your songs, in every brush stroke, in your colours, in our hearts and minds.
Dear brother, friend and companion on a journey full of adventures and dreams, we shared an eternal bond, as if two twins.
Your bright, cheerful, curious eyes reflect the broad smile of your guiding heart. You sang and told your story, your joy, your sadness, your goodness.
Let your true hand now guide the way for all of us who loved you and want to start walking again, to move forward in accepting the pain and void of your absence.
I will miss you, we will miss you. I will fill the hole by singing and telling our story, our being brother and sister.
Creativity always saves us and has always saved us.
Creativity always unites us and has always united us.
It was the strongest thread in our bond and will always be what unites us.
Every image in my memory starts and ends with a heartfelt smile.

Intensely calm
Worryingly intense
Silently noisy
Untidily tidy
Passionately quiet
Quietly passionate
Stubbornly shy
Shyly exuberant
I know you inside out, brother, yet I do not know the depth and infiniteness that you were and continue to be.

Thank you for being a mentor. Life is a gift: you must know how to lead it for the gift to become light.

“Te toca la pena, también la alegría y el amor. No dejes que nada espere, la vida hace siempre lo que quiere, más vale echarle picante y hacer que las cosas se vivan bien pa’delante.”

Rossana Taddei

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On 9 August this year, singer-songwriter and painter Claudio Taddei passed away at the age of 52. Obituary by Rossana Taddei and Sara Ravarelli

A tribute to Claudio Taddei

Rossana and Claudio Taddei. (Photo: Alejandro Persichetti)

Born in Uruguay to parents from Ticino, Claudio grew up between Switzerland and South America, where he embarked on a glittering musical career that took him to the top of the South American charts. In 2002, at the height of his fame in Uruguay, Claudio was struck down by a serious illness that led him to return to Switzerland. Here he alternated periods of intense medical treatment with a busy schedule of concerts and artistic performances, quickly becoming a popular figure in Ticino – a renowned musician and celebratedpainter.

Claudio Taddei began indulging his passion for music in childhood, together with his sister...read more

Michel Legrand, a life for music

Michel Legrand died on January 26th 2019. He was 86. The composer leaves behind a prestigious career spanning 60 years that earned him a worldwide reputation. The maestro with a fiery temperament conducted his life by the baton. Obituary by Bertrand Liechti, member of the Board of SUISA

Michel Legrand, a life for music

Michel Legrand, here on 17 May 2017, before the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, had been a member of SUISA since 1998. (Photo: Regis Duvignau / Reuters)

Michel Legrand was born in 1932, in Menilmontant, a suburb of Paris, into a family of musicians: his father, Raymond Legrand, was a composer and conductor, his uncle was the conductor Jacques Hélian (Der Mikaëlian). He studied the piano, the trumpet and composition at the Conservatoire de Paris, in the class of Nadia Boulanger. He developed a passion for jazz and even recorded an album in New York (1958), alongside jazz greats like Chet Baker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. At the time, the New Wave was definitively embarking upon its revival of French cinema. Michel Legrand worked with Jean Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jean Paul Rappeneau …

In the 1960s, he met Jacques Demy, whom he was to collaborate with on 9 films, including “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” (1964), which won the Palme d’or at Cannes, “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” (1967) and “Peau d’Âne” in 1970. History will recall that the script, lyrics and score of the “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” and of “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” were conceived in the Valais resort of Verbier.

“A musical giant, a genius of a composer, jazzman and conductor!”

Michel Legrand then moved to Hollywood where he won three Oscars for the score of Norman Jewison’s “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1969) with the hit “The Windmills of Your Mind”. He repeated this feat in 1972 for Robert Mulligan’s “Summer of ‘42”, and in 1984 for Barbra Streisand’s “Yentl”. At the same time, he recorded with international stars such as Frank Sinatra, Charles Aznavour, Ella Fitzgerald, Claude Nougaro, and more recently, Nathalie Dessay.

In March 2018, I had the privilege of overseeing his composition for Orson Wells’ unpublished last film, “The Other Side of the Wind”, for Netflix. Anecdotally, in a notebook accompanying this unfinished drama, the heirs of the great American filmmaker discovered an inscription with instructions from beyond the grave: “Call Michel Legrand!”

After 20 years of collaboration with Michel Legrand, I will remember him as a musical giant – a genius of a composer, jazzman and conductor.

www.michellegrandofficial.com

Michel Legrand joined SUISA as a member in 1998. In 2002, at the Locarno Film Festival, the French composer was honoured for his life’s work by FONDATION SUISA, SUISA’s foundation for the promotion of music.
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Michel Legrand died on January 26th 2019. He was 86. The composer leaves behind a prestigious career spanning 60 years that earned him a worldwide reputation. The maestro with a fiery temperament conducted his life by the baton. Obituary by Bertrand Liechti, member of the Board of SUISA

Michel Legrand, a life for music

Michel Legrand, here on 17 May 2017, before the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, had been a member of SUISA since 1998. (Photo: Regis Duvignau / Reuters)

Michel Legrand was born in 1932, in Menilmontant, a suburb of Paris, into a family of musicians: his father, Raymond Legrand, was a composer and conductor, his uncle was the conductor Jacques Hélian (Der Mikaëlian). He studied the piano, the trumpet and composition at the Conservatoire de Paris, in the class of Nadia Boulanger. He developed...read more

Charles Aznavour’s songs are part of our collective identity

Charles Aznavour joined SUISA in 1976 and was one of our best-known members. The countless tributes on TV, radio and in the press around the world since his death are a reminder, if one was necessary, of the scale of his legend. They can also teach us a few important lessons. Obituary by Xavier Dayer, President of SUISA

Charles Aznavour’s songs are part of our collective identity

Charles Aznavour, pictured at the Teatro Regio di Parma on 30 October 2009, wrote lyrics and music for innumerable chansons over the course of his career. (Photo: Fabio Diena / Shutterstock)

As a singer and performer, Charles Aznavour was a genius, yet he was also an extraordinary composer and lyricist and he highlighted this essential aspect of his activities time and time again.

In the public archives of French authors’ rights society SACEM, we can find the entrance examination he took to join the society as an author in 1947. Yes, it’s true: at that time all new members had to pass an entrance exam! It is particularly moving to read the lyrics to a song called “Si je voulais”, corrected by SACEM in red ink.

It’s a powerful reminder of the steps taken by Charles Aznavour, son of Armenian immigrants, on his path from obscurity to global fame. One cannot help but see this journey as a hymn to the openness of our modern societies to the constant acceptance and awareness that cultures are enriched by these ties. At this very moment, a “Charles Aznavour” of tomorrow might be on a boat crossing the Mediterranean.

Today, Aznavour’s gravelly voice and his songs, with their distinctive words and melodies, are a part of who we are, our collective identity. His work is part of our “today” and his career is a message of hope to all creators.

Words are always pale in comparison with the power of musical expression. They cannot convey how deeply grateful we are at SUISA to have handled rights management for Charles Aznavour. This is truly an immense honour and we would like to offer our sincere condolences to his loved ones.

www.aznavourfoundation.org

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Charles Aznavour joined SUISA in 1976 and was one of our best-known members. The countless tributes on TV, radio and in the press around the world since his death are a reminder, if one was necessary, of the scale of his legend. They can also teach us a few important lessons. Obituary by Xavier Dayer, President of SUISA

Charles Aznavour’s songs are part of our collective identity

Charles Aznavour, pictured at the Teatro Regio di Parma on 30 October 2009, wrote lyrics and music for innumerable chansons over the course of his career. (Photo: Fabio Diena / Shutterstock)

As a singer and performer, Charles Aznavour was a genius, yet he was also an extraordinary composer and lyricist and he highlighted this essential aspect of his activities time and time again.

In the public archives of French authors’ rights society SACEM, we can find...read more

“A Cello talks like a human”

Apart from his activities as a paediatrician, Dr. Beat Richner has been a musician all of his life. From 1972 onwards, he performed under the pseudonym “Beaotcello”. For his poetic and cabaret music programmes, he wrote music and lyrics of several works himself. The long-term SUISA member passed away in the early hours of Sunday, 09 September 2018 at the age of 71. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Beat Richner: “A Cello talks like a human”

The paediatrician who played music, Dr. Beat Richner – here a production image from the movie “L’Ombrello di Beatocello” by Georges Gachot – had been a SUISA member since 1978. (Photo: Gachot Films / www.lombrellodibeatocello.com)

Beat Richner was born on 13 March 1947 and grew up in Zurich. After taking his baccalaureat, he dedicated himself to music for a year. The 19-year-old publicly performed a programme called “Träumerei eines Nachtwächters” (Musings of a night watchman). During his subsequent studies of medicine, he developed the character of the music clown “Beatocello”. Beat Richner became known in the Swiss cabaret scene under said pseudonym. In the context of his humanitarian engagement in Cambodia, the paediatrician-musician also attracted interest abroad.

In 1978, Beat Richner became a SUISA member. He was the composer and lyricist of songs which he wrote mainly for the Beatocello music programmes. His compositions carry titles such as “Chatz und Muus” (cat and mouse), “SʼTröpfli” (the droplet), “Zirkus” (circus), “Doctor PC” (doctor PC), or “Dong und Deng” (Dong and Deng) and have been recorded onto various CDs. Other recordings feature the cello player as a performer of works by Bach, Vivaldi and Bruch.

The cello was a loyal companion for Dr. Beat Richner. In an interview with the “Schweizer Illustrierten”, he mentioned that he played the instrument for 30 to 40 minutes every day. That way, he would stay fit to play during concerts which he held each Saturday in Siam Rep for visitors from all over the world in order to inform about the hospitals he founded and to raise donations. “A cello does talk like a human then”, Beat Richner said during the interview. “A simple, a warm and comforting voice.”

www.beat-richner.ch

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  1. Dodo Leo says:

    An Beatocello erinnere ich mich oft, immer wieder gerne und, als wenn es gestern gewesen wäre, dass ich seine Lieder gehört habe.
    Das trifft es aber eigentlich nicht ganz, viel mehr war Hr. Richners Figur eine ständige und haltgebende Begleitung meiner Kindheit. Der Umstand, warum ich seiner Musik und Geschichten als Kind begegnete, kommt daher, dass ein erheblicher Teil dieser Kindheit – vor allem in der früheren Phase – im Kinderspital stattfand. Ich hatte ein kleines, silbergraues Kassettengerät, mit dem man nur vorwärt spulen konnte, und das ein bisschen schepperte. Das machte mir nichts aus, denn was ich hörte, war viel mehr als Musik. Es waren Gefühle des Trostes, Linderung der Angst.
    Wenn Hr. Richner in dem Interview mit der »Schweizer Illustrierten« davon sprach, das Cello würde “sprechen wie ein Mensch”, dann kann ich das nur bestätigen. Für mich war es ganz genau so, ich erinnere mich gut. Einmal, so meine ich mich jedenfalls ebenfalls erinnern zu können, war er sogar bei uns auf der Station. Aber, vielleicht ist das auch Wunschdenken eines Erwachsenen, der sich wünscht, es wäre damals so gewesen. Irgendwie war er sowieso immer da.
    Ich halte inne und senke mein Haupt, verbeuge mich in tiefer Annerkennung und Dankbarkeit an einen selbstlosen Mann, der mir und vielen anderen im Leben so viel gegeben hat und sage; Danke Hr. Richner.
    Dodo Leo

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Apart from his activities as a paediatrician, Dr. Beat Richner has been a musician all of his life. From 1972 onwards, he performed under the pseudonym “Beaotcello”. For his poetic and cabaret music programmes, he wrote music and lyrics of several works himself. The long-term SUISA member passed away in the early hours of Sunday, 09 September 2018 at the age of 71. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Beat Richner: “A Cello talks like a human”

The paediatrician who played music, Dr. Beat Richner – here a production image from the movie “L’Ombrello di Beatocello” by Georges Gachot – had been a SUISA member since 1978. (Photo: Gachot Films / www.lombrellodibeatocello.com)

Beat Richner was born on 13 March 1947 and grew up in Zurich. After taking his baccalaureat, he dedicated himself to music for a year. The 19-year-old publicly performed a programme...read more

The shadow man of dialect rock

He composed many of the hits which made Polo Hofer, in particular, famous. Hanery Amman has passed away at the age of 65. Obituary by Ane Hebeisen, guest author

The shadow man of dialect rock

Hanery Amman, a member of SUISA since 1976, in a photo taken at a meeting of SUISA members in Bern on 10 November 2009. (Photo: Wolfgang Rudigier)

When you asked Hanery Amman what his dream was, he would answer that he hoped to be able to make music until the day he died. Life was not always kind to him and would hold in store more than a few disasters and disappointments, but at least that one dream came true: he did what he loved most to the very end – he made music.

It would be exaggerated to say that he displayed any great productivity in his music-making. He had too many other adversities to cope with. Only a fraction of his lifetime output was ever published; we assume that, somewhere in Interlaken, a treasure trove of Hanery Amman essays and studies is awaiting discovery.

The soul of Rumpelstilz

Hanery Amman’s music career got off to an early start. At school he played the banjo and the ukulele. But the piano in the school’s music room would change the entire course of Hanspeter “Hanery” Amman’s career. As soon as he started playing it, he realised that the piano was capable of producing far more emotion than the nasal-sounding plucking instruments.

After his apprenticeship as a precision mechanic, and a detour in the theatre (he is known to have played the general “Treffpunkt Vietnam”, a play staged at the Zurich Zimmer-Theater), he started meeting regularly with his old neighbour, a certain Urs “Polo” Hofer, to play music. The two had lived with their parents in the same house in Interlaken for a long time; the Hofers were witnesses at the Ammans’ wedding, and Polo – who was seven years’ older – used to push baby Hanery’s pram around the neighbourhood.

At the time, nobody knew that they would stay close – sometimes more, sometimes less – to the end of their days; nor that the town of Interlaken would name a square after them.

At their get-togethers, the roles were clearly distributed. Hanery Amman composed the music, Polo Hofer wrote the lyrics. Hofer was the salesman, singer and the cool guy; Amman was the soul of the project and decisively shaped the sound of 1.0 dialect rock. Their blueprint was Udo Lindenberg who had succeeded in merging the German language with the music of the times. Their aim was to do the same with the Swiss-German dialect.

The first Swiss Reggae

Rumpelstilz brought together the most diverse and raging energies. Hanery Amman’s piano playing was influenced by such opposites as Elton John and Chick Corea, for example; the band admired fusion-jazz saxophonist Jim Pepper as well as Bob Dylan and, because their temporary percussionist (and future world music guru) Res Hassenstein was well-acquainted with Caribbean music, they decided to add Reggae to their repertoire.

Hanery Amman wrote his first big hits in this period: “Teddybär” (officially the first dialect Reggae) or the six and one-half minute long “D Rosmarie und i” preluded by a sparkling piano introduction, with a solo in the middle which swung from boogie to blues to jazz. He loved fusion.

Hanery Amman later described his years with Rumpelstilz as the most formative in his career. He liked to say that the band was multicultural at a time when the term “Multi-Kulti” did not even exist. It was with Rumpelstilz that he developed his own style and individuality both as a musician and a composer.

Disbanding of Rumpelstilz

Rumpelstilz may have been extremely successful, but they were by no means sacred in Switzerland at the time. Not even in Interlaken, Hanery Amman’s hometown, was the man with the long blond hair considered a worthy shepherd of Switzerland’s musical tradition; on the contrary, people thought he should go and get some proper work.

In 1979, tension between Hanery and Polo caused the group to disband, which is to be expected when two hard-headed “Gringe” from the Bernese Oberland collide. In an interview shortly afterwards, Hanery explained : “There were two bellwethers in one band. At a certain point, success went to Polo Hofer’s head. That hurt the band.”

And it was also about money: despite the band’s huge success, money was always tight, and nobody really knew why. In hindsight, he was to describe his relationship with Hofer more objectively: “We complemented each other and needed each other”. With age, they regarded each other as friends.

An evergreen hit

After they broke up, Polo Hofer founded his SchmetterDing while Hanery Amman tried to go it alone under his own name. In 1980, he released “Burning Fire”, a solo album produced in Germany; the songs were in English, the style lively Americana rock; in interviews he explained that he wanted to tour with his songs and that in any case Berndeutsch was not really a good language for rock.

In the Bernese Oberland he had little success. But he did play a few concerts in Germany and Austria. Alongside he composed film scores or wrote songs for the Italian pop singer Rita Pavone. He soon ended his cooperation with the German production company, set up his own studio in Interlaken, gave concerts and did what he liked best: wrote songs.

One of these was called “Kentucky Rose” and would probably also have been buried in his archives if Polo Hofer, who was touring with his SchmetterBand, had not heard a demo tape of the song. He simply added lyrics in Berndeutsch, and landed the biggest hit in the history of Swiss music: “Alperose” made Hofer and Amman immortal.

Under his stubborn Bernese skull, Hanery Amman had a heart of gold. Friends say he was a quirky but extremely lovable character. One often hears attributes like direct, honest, stubborn and highly sensitive. He had a good sense of humour and often showed flashes of his wit and warmth.

What he did not like at all, however, were musical lapses: in May 1984 he went to the studio with his band to record an album. He found the result so poor that he refused to release it. Why was soon known: in an interview he criticised his musicians’ work. The band had not been sufficiently motivated on that day. The outcome: Scrap it! Change the Band!

The “Chopin of the Bernese Oberland”

Hard years followed. After an operation for an infection of the inner ear, he developed a tinnitus which would make it nearly impossible for him to play music for a long time. He still played a few concerts, initiated a Rumpelstilz reunion and helped cut three concerts in the Anker in Interlaken (he lived just above the concert hall). The resulting recording “Live im Anker” is one of Switzerland’s best known concert albums.

Amman’s next solo album was only released in 2000. “Solitaire”, as it was titled, was greeted by enthusiastic critics but did not make it further than 90 on the Swiss hit parade. People were then listening to Manu Chao, the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Britney Spears; Amman’s long-brooded and carefully arranged dialect pieces seemed out of fashion. Nor did his doctors have any good news. In 2007, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. A disease that has now, ten years’ later – and five months after Polo Hofer – taken his life.

He never complained about his fate, even though life “dealt him one blow after another”, as he recently said. On the contrary, he felt very grateful. Hanery Amman was never one to push his way into the limelight. His songs made Polo Hofer famous, not him. Show business was a world full of con artists and dazzlers, he would say, and he never really felt at ease in it.

He was happiest at the piano when he could hear his fingers playing. He worked mostly at night (often naked, as he once revealed) – it was his way of meditating the moodiness of the world. “When everything “goes to pot”, in the end you still have music”, was his motto.

If he had had someone at his side to bring a little order to his work and ease his recurring bouts of self-doubt, the man Polo Hofer dubbed the “Chopin of the Bernese Oberland” might have left behind a world-class oeuvre. But the Interlaker never cared much for consultants.

Nevertheless, what he did publish is saved in Switzerland’s long-term memory of dialect music. In his final months he was working on an instrumental album which he hoped to finish before he died. That was not to be. The night before New Year’s eve, Hanery Amman passed away at the age of 65, surrounded by his closest family.

As he sang so beautifully in his solo album “Solitaire”: “U we de meinsch, die Wält göng under, de si d Stärne geng no da”. (When you think the world has ended, the stars are still there.) There is now one more star in the firmament.

www.haneryamman.ch

This obituary by Ane Hebeisen was published in a similar form in Der Bund and the Tages-Anzeiger at the beginning of January 2018.

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He composed many of the hits which made Polo Hofer, in particular, famous. Hanery Amman has passed away at the age of 65. Obituary by Ane Hebeisen, guest author

The shadow man of dialect rock

Hanery Amman, a member of SUISA since 1976, in a photo taken at a meeting of SUISA members in Bern on 10 November 2009. (Photo: Wolfgang Rudigier)

When you asked Hanery Amman what his dream was, he would answer that he hoped to be able to make music until the day he died. Life was not always kind to him and would hold in store more than a few disasters and disappointments, but at least that one dream came true: he did what he loved most to the very end – he made music.

It would be exaggerated to say that he displayed any great...read more

Adieu, great Jörg Schneider!

Without a doubt, Jörg Schneider was part of the most popular actors in Switzerland. He also directed films, lent his voice to the “Kasperli” character and wrote fairy tales and musicals. As a lyricist of more than 200 songs, whose music he partially composed himself, he had been a SUISA member for a long time. At the end of August 2015, Jörg Schneider passed away, aged 80. Obituary by guest author Monika Kaelin

Adieu, great Jörg Schneider!

Jörg Schneider, shown here in a picture of 2013, wrote many song lyrics and composed the music for some of them. (Photo: Christoph Kaminski)

He had to leave us all too early. He, who always stuck to a healthy nutrition, never overdid it, but had completely committed himself to the stage. Jörg Schneider was a perfectionist, translated many pieces from English and high German into Swiss German, wrote more than 200 song lyrics, played the main part in all of his own boulevard productions, had success in TV series such as “Polizischt Wäckerli”, and in “Motel” as Koni Frei, was convincing as accountant Oskar Wehrli in the long runner soap “Lüthi und Blanc”, directed films ‘on the side’, wrote fairy tales and musicals, lent his voice to the “Kasperli” character and had to face the hard truth of suffering from untreatable cancer after 55 years on stage.

Not an easy task for such a bubbly and eager to work exceptional artist who – as a trained teacher and subsequently promoted professional actor – had originally committed himself to classics. It was in light entertainment, however, where he found his great audience and continued to delight millions of Swiss viewers over the years. The popular actor was a creative actor both in front of and behind the stage curtain who wrote, produced and stage-managed. The original Zurich-born actor was a cheerful person by nature. If something annoyed him, he got rid of the event with a sarcastic saying and a laugh.

Multi-talented exceptional artist

The versatility of exceptional artist Jörg Schneider becomes particularly evident when taking a look into his intensive artistic activities. Side by side with Ruedi Walter, Jörg Schneider played the role of Wladimir in the high-profile performance of the Beckett piece “Warte uf de Godot” in the dialect adaptation by Urs Widmer. In the summer theatre Winterthur as well as the open air theatre Hohe Promenade in Zurich, he played in many more classical theatre pieces.

In 1963, he started his TV career as a young actor in “Vico, ist’s wahr?” and travelled together with Vico Torriani through Switzerland. He had his great breakthrough with the radio play, the stage production and the TV series “Polizischt Wäckerli” from 1966 onwards.

Jörg Schneider remains unforgotten as the father of 41 Kasperli stories which enthused generations of children and still are a big hit today. He contributed to the creation of innumerable childrens’ musicals and fairy tale plays for the Zurich Märchenbühne and the Opera House Zurich.

Other places of activity in Zurich were the Schauspielhaus, the Corso Theatre, the Theatre at the Hechtplatz and, above all, the Bernhard Theatre. In the Musical “Z wie Züri”, I had the honour to play alongside him for the first time as an actress in 1976. Jörg gave me many tips during this production and explained to me, for example, how I should say something to ensure I had the punchline in the bag. His advice was the best actor’s training that I ever had the pleasure to enjoy, as I could learn directly while acting on stage.

Magnificent life’s work

In the following years, there were many more new pieces each year, which Jörg Schneider successfully performed with his ensemble in the Bernhard Theatre and on tour in Switzerland. In 2014, he finally had to break off his farewell tour with the dialect tragicomedy “Häppi Änd” due to health reasons. During this hard time of suffering and pain, he still bravely starred in the cinema movie directed by Paul Riniker, “Usfahrt Oerlike” together with Matthias Gnädinger, who also recently passed away. The film was awarded the “Prix du Public” at the 50th Solothurn Film Days where the magnificent life’s work of Jörg Schneider was honoured with standing ovations. The Prix Walo had been awarded twice to Jörg Schneider. In 1995 he received it as an actor, in 2014 for his life’s work.

In March 2015, his last work was published, the autobiography “Äxgüsi”. After his suffering as a cancer patient, Jörg Schneider peacefully fell asleep in the arms of his beloved wife Romy at home in Wetzikon for the last time on 22 August 2015, free of pain and with a smile on his face. He was a good man and colleagues and friends among actors and his audience will sorely miss him. Thank you dear Jörgli for everything what you have created for us all your life, with joy, love and dedication.

In friendship your
Monika Kaelin

Monika Kaelin is a composer, lyricist, singer, entertainer and moderator as well as theatre, music and event organiser, President of the Association Show Szene Switzerland and TV producer for the Prix Walo. She was a member of the SUISA Board between 1999 and 2015.

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Without a doubt, Jörg Schneider was part of the most popular actors in Switzerland. He also directed films, lent his voice to the “Kasperli” character and wrote fairy tales and musicals. As a lyricist of more than 200 songs, whose music he partially composed himself, he had been a SUISA member for a long time. At the end of August 2015, Jörg Schneider passed away, aged 80. Obituary by guest author Monika Kaelin

Adieu, great Jörg Schneider!

Jörg Schneider, shown here in a picture of 2013, wrote many song lyrics and composed the music for some of them. (Photo: Christoph Kaminski)

He had to leave us all too early. He, who always stuck to a healthy nutrition, never overdid it, but had completely committed himself to the stage. Jörg Schneider was a perfectionist, translated many pieces from...read more

Beny Rehmann’s Evergreens live on

Beny Rehmann, popular Swiss trumpeter, band leader and composer, died last December aged 78. His evergreens such as the “Schiffsfeger-Polka”, “Oh Katharina”, “Morgenmuffel”, or “Jeden Tag geht die Sonne auf”, shall live on and stay on for posterity as his musical legacy. Obituary by guest author Hans “Housi” Bracher

Beny Rehmann’s Evergreens live on

Beny Rehmann, who died in December 2014, had been a SUISA member since 1967. (Photo: StudioArt.ch)

Beny Rehmann was born on 11 September 1936 in Kaisten AG as the twelfth of thirteen children. When he turned 16, he got a trumpet as a present from his brother. He graduated from military training school as a trumpeter, was discovered by Georges Hofer as a solo talent and admitted into the music society Strengelbach (MGS).

On New Year’s Eve 1962/63, he had his first appearance with his quartet “Die lustigen Tiroler Musikanten”. The performance was a huge success, including pieces such as “Tanz beim Dorfwirt”, or “Die Dorfschöne” von Slavko Avsenik. Beny had listened to a live concert with the “Original Oberkrainer” on the radio and was so enthused by it that he joined up with me to play this wonderful kind of music. Only a few people in Switzerland were aware of the sweeping Oberkrainer sound at the time. It is a type of music which has its origins in Slovenian folklore.

Successful with his own compositions

Encouraged by the success from the New Year’s Eve 1962/63 performance, Beny Rehmann began to compose his own pieces. He consciously emphasised his own style by using chord sequences which do not appear in Slovenian folk music.

One of the first photos of the quartet “Die lustigen Tiroler Musikanten”, with trumpeter Beny Rehmann on the left, Ueli Aebi in the middle, Albert König on the right and Housi Bracher in the front, taken in 1963. (Photo: zVg / private archive Hans Bracher)

In 1965, he participated in the well-known Blick-Festival at the time with his “lustige Tiroler Musikanten” and came third during the final in the Kursaal in Berne, after Paola del Medico and the Eugster Quartett. First sound recordings followed.

Beny renamed his formation “Beny Rehmann Quintett”, expanded the ensemble to a sextet, extended the music styles and finally performed under the name “Beny Rehmann Showorchester”.

About 4,000 live performances

With about 4,000 live performances, radio and TV appearances at the SRF, ORF, ZDF, ARD, e.g. eight times in the Musikantenstadel with Karl Moik, it was not possible to imagine the show scene at the time without him.

Beny Rehmann was a pioneer of the scene. Despite negative projections by various Swiss concert agencies, he still dared to embark upon a tour in autumn with twenty performances in well-known Swiss concert hall at the beginning of the 80ies. The result: Sold-out concerts!

Hits by Beny Rehmann turned into evergreens

His recordings were awarded with Gold (16 times), Platinum (7 times) and Double Platinum (once). In 1984, he received the Prix Walo as best Swiss Show Star. In 2012, he received another Prix Walo, this time the honorary award.

Evergreens such as the “Schiffsfeger-Polka”, “Dreamland”, “Morgenmuffel”, “Jeden Tag geht die Sonne auf” or “Oh Katharina” shall live on and stay on for posterity as his musical legacy.

Making people happy with his golden trumpet

Beny Rehmann was an open, honest, humble but also ambitious and pedantic musician. He received a great deal of support from his family who he put above everything else. He put his whole heart and soul into his compositions. Beny’s brilliant and sensitive play with the gold trumpet was unmistakable.

Since 19/12/2014, Beny Rehmann is no longer with us. He had to struggle with health problems for a number of years.

Thank you Beny, that you gave me the opportunity to accompany you over many decades as a colleague and musician and to make tens of thousands of people happy with your music.

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Beny Rehmann, popular Swiss trumpeter, band leader and composer, died last December aged 78. His evergreens such as the “Schiffsfeger-Polka”, “Oh Katharina”, “Morgenmuffel”, or “Jeden Tag geht die Sonne auf”, shall live on and stay on for posterity as his musical legacy. Obituary by guest author Hans “Housi” Bracher

Beny Rehmann’s Evergreens live on

Beny Rehmann, who died in December 2014, had been a SUISA member since 1967. (Photo: StudioArt.ch)

Beny Rehmann was born on 11 September 1936 in Kaisten AG as the twelfth of thirteen children. When he turned 16, he got a trumpet as a present from his brother. He graduated from military training school as a trumpeter, was discovered by Georges Hofer as a solo talent and admitted into the music society Strengelbach (MGS).

On New Year’s Eve 1962/63, he had his first appearance with his...read more

In Gedenken an Erwin Ernst Kunz

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Zum Tod von Jazz-Musiker und Big-Band-Ikone Roby Seidel

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