Tag Archives: Swiss music

“A melody like a memory from far away” | plus video

For the project “Swiss Beethoven reflections”, Xavier Dayer not only let himself be inspired by the melody of the Swiss song used by Beethoven. He also took the situation in which the composer was as a young man at the time into consideration. Text by guest author Markus Ganz; video by Mike Korner

Xavier Dayer: A melody like a memory from far away

Xavier Dayer in the interview about his work “Cantus VII” at the end of January 2020. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Xavier Dayer is convinced that the central significance of Ludwig van Beethoven goes well beyond the circle of composers and musicians. “I would even say that he stands at the outset of the image which the broad public has of Romanticism and the clichéd figure of a composer.” Despite all of his admiration for Beethoven, he takes a sober view when it comes to categorising his variations on a Swiss folk song. “I do not think that it is his most impressive piece”, said the composer who was born in Geneva and lives in Berne, during his interview at the end of January 2020.

The variations did, however, make Xavier Dayer think about the time of creation: In 1792, Beethoven was 22 years old and about to move to Vienna. Correspondingly, Xavier Dayer considers the variations to be some sort of practice at a time when Beethoven found himself in the enthusiasm of his own music. This should be understood against a wider background. “Back then, people believed in modernity, progress; even the composers. And that preference for modernity was associated with a love for the homeland – here, his fondness for Romanticism with one for the nation, something I always had a problem with.”

In order to create his own composition, Xavier Dayer initially looked into the melody of this song, “even more than into the variations by Beethoven and their harmonisation”. The melody was so simple that it had something that he could approach from his own creation. He used it like a cantus firmus, a melody which was given from the outside and that he was going to rather hide in his own music. “It is like a memory from far away, as if you were to recall this lost enthusiasm back from memory, something that is concealed in my music which wants to be restless and calming.”

Specifically, Xavier Dayer chose the melody of the beginning of the song. “We spoke about enthusiasm. When it comes to enthusiasm, there is something purely positive in this melody which is also very clear from a harmony point of view and holds no notion of doubt. (…) In my composition, however, it is going to be concealed by some kind of fog.”

In terms of instrumentation, Xavier Dayer chose a quartet for flute, clarinet, violin and cello, “an instrumentation for which there are not too many references yet”. This was of interest to him because it meant less pressure from tradition and enabled him to have more freedom. You might wonder that the piano does not get deployed, despite the Beethoven reference. Xavier Dayer highlights that he was not trained as a pianist but as a guitarist and therefore felt some kind of a complex with respect to composers who are pianists. Still, he uses the piano as a tool for his work, particularly so in order to be able to control the harmonic progressions.

How the composition is going to sound one day, remains open during this development stage. But even when the piece has been completed, there will be a lot of space for the performers. “When it comes to the sequence of the creative steps, I am the one to suggest signs that others will then interpret with their sensitivity and experience. I absolutely and utterly adore the art of interpretation.” Xavier Dayer emphasises that he, as a listener, loves to discover how performers make the composition their own. “In this sense, this part of the creation is an essential moment because it appears in a room for the first time.” Add to that the significance of the audience. A composition is like a love letter which in itself means very little – especially if nobody read it, and even more so, if nobody replied to it (laughs).

The role of a composer would also be challenged, especially since Beethoven’s 10th Symphony, composed only in a sketch-like manner, was completed with a specifically trained algorithm for the anniversary year. Xavier Dayer did not consider this to be as a threat but as an “extremely stimulating challenge”. He felt that his students also dealt with the question what the creation of an individual still meant today “I admire artists who challenge the act of creation. (…) Maybe we are at the end of a cycle where the individual creating music had been viewed as a kind of genius and a cult had been created around that.” This also created complex consequences in his opinion. “Each note of Beethoven, each sentence by Goethe created the impression for us that we were rather small in comparison.” He thought that one could not simply continue with such a pigeonholing of the artist, who had ”everything” to say. “Today, the performer is seen in a different light: as someone who does not stand somewhere above or below but simply stands in the continuum of social connections.”

Xavier Dayer was born in Geneva in 1972. There, he studied composition with Eric Gaudibert, and with Tristan Murail and Brian Ferneyhough (IRCAM- Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music) in Paris. He is a professor for composition at the University of the Arts Berne and has been authorised representative by the “Master of Arts in Composition/Theory”. He has been the President of SUISA since 2011. The canton Berne granted him the Music Award 2020. www.xavierdayer.com
Swiss Beethoven reflections: A project by Murten Classics and SUISA on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven had not much to do with Switzerland. He did, however, write “Six variations on a Swiss song” (Sechs Variationen über ein Schweizerlied), namely the folk song “Es hätt e Bur es Töchterli” (A farmer had a daughter once). This is the starting point for the composition assignments which the summer festival Murten Classics and SUISA allocated to eight Swiss composers of different generations, aesthetics and origin.

Oscar Bianchi, Xavier Dayer, Fortunat Frölich, Aglaja Graf, Christian Henking, Alfred Schweizer, Marina Sobyanina and Katharina Weber had a choice of basing their work on the variations, the folk song used by Beethoven or Beethoven in general. The compositions were written for the ensemble Paul Klee which allows for the following maximum instrumentation: Flute (also piccolo, G- or bass flute), clarinet (in B or A), violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano.

The initiator of this project, launched in 2019, was Kaspar Zehnder who had been Artistic Director of Murten Classics for 22 years. Due to the corona crisis and the measures ordered by the authorities, it was not possible to hold the 32nd instalment of the festival in August 2020 or the scheduled replacement festival in the winter months that followed. The “SUISA day” with eight compositions of this project was performed and recorded nevertheless, without an audience, on 28 January 2021 in the KiB Murten. The recordings have been available for listening at radio SRF 2 Kultur in the programme “Neue Musik im Konzert” and are released on the platform Neo.mx3. The project is also documented online via the SUISAblog and the social media channels of SUISA.

www.murtenclassics.ch

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For the project “Swiss Beethoven reflections”, Xavier Dayer not only let himself be inspired by the melody of the Swiss song used by Beethoven. He also took the situation in which the composer was as a young man at the time into consideration. Text by guest author Markus Ganz; video by Mike Korner

Xavier Dayer: A melody like a memory from far away

Xavier Dayer in the interview about his work “Cantus VII” at the end of January 2020. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Xavier Dayer is convinced that the central significance of Ludwig van Beethoven goes well beyond the circle of composers and musicians. “I would even say that he stands at the outset of the image which the broad public has of Romanticism and the clichéd figure of a composer.” Despite all of his admiration for Beethoven, he takes a sober view when...read more

Label Suisse: A colourful fireworks display with Swiss music

For the tenth time, the Festival Label Suisse invites you to listen to Swiss music from various genres from 16 to 18 September 2022 in Lausanne. Text by Erika Weibel

Label Suisse: A colourful fireworks display with Swiss music

The three-day festival Label Suisse puts Swiss music creation in the spotlight. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

Label Suisse has been taking place since 2004 and surprises its audience with a very diverse programming every time it is held. 700,000 have attended 600 concerts and nine editions so far and are proof of the festival’s success.

The festival opens its doors every two years and is free to the public, as the cost of the music is covered by sponsors. There are 69 concerts on 10 stages: The programme presents the musical diversity of Switzerland and ranges from classical to new folk music, hip-hop, pop, rock, electronic, jazz and experimental music to contemporary music. During the festival days, the colourful fireworks from a wide variety of genres transform Lausanne into the epicentre of Swiss music.

Birthplace of numerous compositions

In the run-up to Label Suisse, composers are instructed to create new works that will be premiered during the three-day festival each time it is held. One of the creations of the festival to be held this time was made in collaboration with the radio station RTS to celebrate the anniversary of 100 Radio in Switzerland. This is a joint composition by Yilian Cañizares and Arthur Hnatek, both of whom have already been presented with the Swiss Music Awards. Another newly created work called “Dédale” will be premiered by L’Orchestre du Grand Eustache. Antoine Auberson has also composed “La Pastorale Alpine” with organist Benjamin Righetti for this year’s Label Suisse. The orchestra Harmonie Lausannoise also worked together with Michel Godard and achieved a tailor-made creation with Yumi Ito, Benz Oester and Lucas Niggli.

Pianist Colin Vallon, in turn, has brought together students from the Lucerne and Zurich Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts to create a new composition together. Artist Lisa Tatin is also going to bring a work to life on Sunday, 18 September, blurring the lines between concert and artistic performance.

As such, Label Suisse provides an important stage for both performers and composers, making a visit to the festival even more exciting for its audience.

For a detailed programme and more information on the website of the festival:
www.labelsuisse.ch

SUISA is a sponsor of this diverse and exciting festival, which focuses on Swiss musical creativity.

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For the tenth time, the Festival Label Suisse invites you to listen to Swiss music from various genres from 16 to 18 September 2022 in Lausanne. Text by Erika Weibel

Label Suisse: A colourful fireworks display with Swiss music

The three-day festival Label Suisse puts Swiss music creation in the spotlight. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

Label Suisse has been taking place since 2004 and surprises its audience with a very diverse programming every time it is held. 700,000 have attended 600 concerts and nine editions so far and are proof of the festival’s success.

The festival opens its doors every two years and is free to the public, as the cost of the music is covered by sponsors. There are 69 concerts on 10 stages: The programme presents the musical diversity of Switzerland and ranges from classical to new folk music,...read more

“The precision applicable to notation requires almost more time than composing itself” | plus video

For the composition project “Swiss Beethoven reflections”, Aglaia Graf developed a concept with several movements. These are based on two, three motifs or themes which have been inspired by a work of Beethoven. Text by guest author Markus Ganz; video by Mike Korner

Aglaia Graf: The precision applicable to notation requires almost more time than composing itself

Aglaia Graf during the talk about her composition in March 2020. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

From the start, it was not an easy task for Aglaia Graf to find a suitable path to her own composition in the course of this project. First, the composer and pianist from Basel took a look at the notes of the Swiss folk song used by Beethoven and read its lyrics. Then she went for a walk with her dog and sang the song – expecting that it would trigger something in her and inspire her for her own composition. “However, nothing sprang to mind, I could not find a connecting point I could grasp.” Not even when she studied Beethoven’s variations. “I must say that I am not that thrilled by this work even if you can retrace quite well which elements he used to build up his variations.” It was probably some kind of a conceptual work by him and that is why it has not directly inspired me for my composition.

Then Aglaia Graf thought that she could pick up the general element of the folk song and set out to find other Swiss folk songs that appealed to her. “I found very beautiful ones and looked whether there was material which I could work with.” But yet again, she turned away from that approach. She came to the conclusion that she had to develop a concept in order to really get going. Thus, she decided to relate to Beethoven in general.

When asked what personal significance Ludwig van Beethoven had for her, Aglaia Graf posed a counter-question: “For which musician does Beethoven not have a special significance?” Especially in the life of a pianist he was very important from the very beginning and was a companion through life. “You grow with his music and you develop alongside it.” It was also an absolute reference point whenever you composed a piece. “By playing his works you already learn a lot in terms of composition, albeit indirectly. This also happened to me, both consciously and subconsciously, and he has certainly left many traces.”

Aglaia Graf has also had other special experiences when it comes to Beethoven. “When I sit with his pieces as a composer or a pianist, it is possible that I brood over a few notes for many hours. The perception of a specific section is an experience, the timeframe extremely long. The audience, however, who is listening to the piece, only experiences this moment in maybe two seconds.”

Therefore, it is not only the analytical derivation that is exciting. “Beethoven had, like hardly any other composer, a feel for how listening to his music could be experienced in terms of time.” As a composer it could happen quickly that one – because one spent so much time with so few notes – became too complex and packed too much into the piece. It would, in such cases, no longer be possible for the audience to savour this experience in the short time that they were listening to it. With Beethoven, however, this was the case, and that was something that had always fascinated her. “If you sit in a concert, you see, rather you hear, how a building gets constructed, stone by stone. This influenced me very much, as a musician, as a composer, as a human being.”

With the decision to base her composition on Beethoven in general, Aglaia Graf made quick progress. She developed the concept of several movements, which are based on two, three motifs or themes which have been inspired by a work of Beethoven. “This could also be appealing to the audience: as a small piece of homework or rather listening work to detect which piece of Beethoven such a passage has been inspired by.” With a brainstorming, she began to search for motifs or themes that she could integrate: “Which ones do I have in my memory, which ones are known to a wide audience, so that they have a recognition effect”. She selected a few and pondered thought it over which would be suitable for which movement so that they would result in a meaningful sequence.

First, Aglaia Graf wanted to only use these motifs and themes as connecting points. “But it actually ensued that, in the final movement, variations arose from it.” They related to the theme of the last movement of the “Gassenhauer Trio” (Piano Trio Op 11) – and that is how the circle of the six variations of Beethoven on a Swiss song closes. “My first movement also relates to the first movement of the ‘Gassenhauer Trio’ but does not, like the other movements, contain any variations.” Aglaia Graf stresses that she had not adopted the Beethoven motifs “1:1”, of course. In terms of the folksong-like theme in the last movement of the “Gassenhauer Trio”, she had not simply taken the melody as an element but “the rhythm and the character which I have changed slightly – in the original it is dance-like and popular, in my piece it is humoristic.”

The plan emerged at the beginning of 2020 to write four short trio movements for piano, cello and clarinet. “My last commissioned composition was for solo clarinet, so I already found myself in that sound world. I also play with the English cellist Benjamin Gregor-Smith in a duo. This is how the instrumentation came about; in addition, Beethoven also wrote fro this instrumentation, i.e. the famous ‘Gassenhauer Trio’.”

At the time of the conversation, mid-March 2020, she already had composed large parts of the first, second and fourth movement for this instrumentation – “even if that was partly only in the back of my mind”, she adds with a laugh. “The first movement is literally complete, including the full notation with all details, when it comes to the other two movements, I only have the notes themselves so far. The precision applicable to notation, which is already clearly present in my mind, requires almost more time than composing itself.” For the third movement she now leans towards designing it as a kind of interlude to the final movement, probably for cello solo. With regards to the composition parts which are not based on motifs, “I have picked up certain composition elements which are very important for Beethoven or in classical music in general, especially in the first movement.”

Aglaia Graf was born in Basel in 1986. She completed her concert diploma as a pianist there with a distinction and continued her studies in Vienna and Paris. She attended master classes of Andràs Schiff, Paul Badura-Skoda, Dimitri Bashkirov, Klaus Hellwig and many more. Since she was 15, she has been composing many works, mainly for piano and cello/piano. She runs a piano class at the Basel Music Academy and holds master classes, most recently in Russia. In 2006, she was awarded with the European Culture Scholarship Award. www.aglaiagraf.com
Swiss Beethoven reflections: A project by Murten Classics and SUISA on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven had not much to do with Switzerland. He did, however, write “Six variations on a Swiss song” (Sechs Variationen über ein Schweizerlied), namely the folk song “Es hätt e Bur es Töchterli” (A farmer had a daughter once). This is the starting point for the composition assignments which the summer festival Murten Classics and SUISA allocated to eight Swiss composers of different generations, aesthetics and origin.

Oscar Bianchi, Xavier Dayer, Fortunat Frölich, Aglaja Graf, Christian Henking, Alfred Schweizer, Marina Sobyanina and Katharina Weber had a choice of basing their work on the variations, the folk song used by Beethoven or Beethoven in general. The compositions were written for the ensemble Paul Klee which allows for the following maximum instrumentation: Flute (also piccolo, G- or bass flute), clarinet (in B or A), violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano.

The initiator of this project, launched in 2019, was Kaspar Zehnder who had been Artistic Director of Murten Classics for 22 years. Due to the corona crisis and the measures ordered by the authorities, it was not possible to hold the 32nd instalment of the festival in August 2020 or the scheduled replacement festival in the winter months that followed. The “SUISA day” with eight compositions of this project was performed and recorded nevertheless, without an audience, on 28 January 2021 in the KiB Murten. The recordings have been available for listening at radio SRF 2 Kultur in the programme “Neue Musik im Konzert” and are released on the platform Neo.mx3. The project is also documented online via the SUISAblog and the social media channels of SUISA.

www.murtenclassics.ch

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For the composition project “Swiss Beethoven reflections”, Aglaia Graf developed a concept with several movements. These are based on two, three motifs or themes which have been inspired by a work of Beethoven. Text by guest author Markus Ganz; video by Mike Korner

Aglaia Graf: The precision applicable to notation requires almost more time than composing itself

Aglaia Graf during the talk about her composition in March 2020. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

From the start, it was not an easy task for Aglaia Graf to find a suitable path to her own composition in the course of this project. First, the composer and pianist from Basel took a look at the notes of the Swiss folk song used by Beethoven and read its lyrics. Then she went for a walk with her dog and sang the song – expecting that it would trigger something in her and inspire...read more

Floating Notes Festival: outside the mainstream

The second Floating Notes Festival took place in San Bernardino, Grisons, last weekend. This year’s event once again showcased experimental and avant-garde music, with six artists and bands presenting a broad spectrum of musical creativity to the audience. SUISA partnered with the festival again this year. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

Floating Notes Festival: outside the mainstream

The Floating Notes Festival offers experimental and avant-garde music in the factory building at the source of San Bernardino mineral water, located 1600 metres above sea level. (Photo: Giorgio Tebaldi)

Getting a new music festival off the ground in Switzerland takes courage: we have a more densely packed festival calendar than almost anywhere else in the world. And, above all, you need to stand out from the crowd if you want to attract an audience.

Sound experiments

This is exactly what the Floating Notes Festival does. Established in 2021 by composer and harpist Kety Fusco, it took place for the second time on the weekend of 22/23 July 2022. The festival seeks to push musical boundaries and showcase artists whose music is far outside the mainstream. It revolves around experimental music – and at Floating Notes, ‘experimental’ refers to instruments, as well as sounds. For example, the first iteration of the festival in 2021 saw Swiss sound artist Simon Berz play his instrument ‘Tectonic’, which he built out of resonant volcanic stones from Iceland. At this year’s festival, Bern-based composer, accordionist and sound artist Mario Batkovic followed a set on a traditional accordion with one on a ‘digital accordion’ that he made himself.

The other artists at the Floating Notes Festival also performed experimental and avant-garde music. On the first evening, Zurich-based composer and sound artist Noémi Büchi took to the stage, as did composer, artist, percussionist and winner of the Swiss Music Prize Béatrice Graf, from Western Switzerland, and the Ticino-based artists’ collective Niton (Zeno Gabaglio, El Toxyque and Luca Xelius Martegani). On the second evening, the programme included Mario Batkovic alongside Italian songwriter and musician Marta del Grandi and her co-musicians, as well as Víz, the solo project by Zurich-based composer, artist, musician and performer Réka Csiszér.

Music at the source

The location of the festival is just as non-mainstream as the music and artists it presents: it is held in the factory building at the source of San Bernardino mineral water, located 1600 metres above sea level, around 40 minutes’ drive from Bellinzona and an hour away from Chur. The Italian-speaking village in the canton of Grisons is primarily known as a tourist destination – and now the Floating Notes Festival has added a cultural attraction to its line-up.

www.floating-notes.com

SUISA has sponsored the festival from its inception.

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The second Floating Notes Festival took place in San Bernardino, Grisons, last weekend. This year’s event once again showcased experimental and avant-garde music, with six artists and bands presenting a broad spectrum of musical creativity to the audience. SUISA partnered with the festival again this year. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

Floating Notes Festival: outside the mainstream

The Floating Notes Festival offers experimental and avant-garde music in the factory building at the source of San Bernardino mineral water, located 1600 metres above sea level. (Photo: Giorgio Tebaldi)

Getting a new music festival off the ground in Switzerland takes courage: we have a more densely packed festival calendar than almost anywhere else in the world. And, above all, you need to stand out from the crowd if you want to attract an audience.

Sound experiments

This is exactly what the Floating Notes Festival...read more

“The clarinet should act as an individual, struggling and seeking the way” | plus video

Katharina Weber is basing her composition work for the project “Swiss Beethoven reflections” not only on Beethoven’s variations on a Swiss song and its lyrics. She also infuses it with the sound world of John Cage. Text by guest author Markus Ganz; Video by Mike Korner

Katharina Weber: “The clarinet should act as an individual, struggling and seeking the way”

Katharina Weber talking about her work “Badurbelisli”, which was still being created at the time of the interview in February 2020. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Ludwig van Beethoven and his “Variations on a Swiss song” have a special meaning for Katharina Weber. “These variations are among the first pieces of a great composer that I was allowed to play as a child.” The pianist and composer from Berne explains in a conversation held at the beginning of February 2020 also that music has always been important in the life of the family since the grandmother was a violinist and the grandfather nearly had become a pianist.

Katharina Weber still considers Beethoven’s variations to be very intriguing since each of them was very characteristic. “And I asked myself whether Beethoven had also referenced the lyrics for example with the partly march-like, then again, the very soft, lyrical parts.” The story of the original song therefore stood at the start of her deliberations how she could implement the composition assignment. The lyrics are about Dursli who wants to marry Babeli but is rejected by her parents because Babeli was still too young and Dursli therefore goes to Flanders to serve in a foreign war.

This story touched Katharina Weber immediately which is why the idea to take it as a basis was obvious. “It is a tragic love story if you consider that even today many people have to leave their homes.” She also personally views the story as a metaphor for love as an ideal: “He promises that he is going to hold on to it all of his life”. It was ultimately about the polarity between realistic constraints and idealistic desires.

During the Christmas holidays in 2019, Katharina Weber developed not only the basic concept of the piece and started to write down notes in an improvising manner. “I decided then to use the clarinet as an individual vis-à-vis the strings which act, in a way, as the family of Babeli, or society itself. The piano part was going to relate to the variations by Beethoven but not to the harmony; instead, to the rhythmical variants so that it is possible to recognise Beethoven.” “A completely different world of sound” should, however, prevail, and that is how we get to John Cage.

Katharina Weber tells me how the composer Urs Schneider once talked a lot about Cage in his lessons. “He told me that Cage did not like Beethoven and his strife for higher things and the search for faraway loved ones that Mozart was much grounded in life. He created a polarity between Beethoven and Mozart which occupied me a lot back then.” The first modern pieces which Katharina Weber played at the age of about 13 years with the piano teacher Janka Wyttenbach, the wife of the composer Jürg Wyttenbach, were works by Cage. “We played the piano pieces by Cage which I had first practised on the normal pianoforte at home, and then on a specially prepared pianoforte in the Conservatory – it sounded so different that really was a special experience.”

Now, Katharina Weber refers to John Cage in her composition by alienating the piano sound with magnets on the piano strings just like Cage had developed in “Sonatas and Interludes”. Cage was important to her “because he taught us to accept happenstance.” She did not want to play off the monument of modern times against the two of the past, Beethoven and Mozart. She was rather trying to bring these three together.

A good month after the Christmas period, Katharina Weber established quite a few things. The sound of the strings which represent the family, should result in harmonious structures. The clarinet as a solo instrument should, however, appear in a melodic manner and add movement – “as an individual which is fighting and searching the way”. She was, however, also using the double bass as a counterpart to the “family” of violin, viola and cello, to represent the captain who was signing on Dursli as a mercenary. The fact that the father does not want to release his daughter under any circumstances and Dursli still does not give up his set goal is something the composer wants to hint at throughout the entire piece by the flageolet sounds of the violin which appear very distant, an enormous vastness like the sky”.

Katharina Weber now tries to imagine how the individual instruments should sound and then checks them at the piano; including the notes that she had already written down. She continues to do so until the used notes and rhythms “hold” as she explains with a laugh. “The tonal space of the ‘family’, for example, is first rather tight and then expands by way of the double bass which reaches low.” Of the last verse which was breaking the boundaries of a folk song so that Katharina Weber simply goes ahead and auditions them, she wants to use the whole text, spoken or sung or even as a recitative:’ U wenn der Himmel papierge wär/u jede Stern ä Schriber wär/u jede Schriber hätt siebe, siebe Händ,/si schribe doch all meiner Liebi kes End’. [And if the sky was paper and each star was a writer and each writer had seven, seven hands, they would still not be able to write an end to my love] “Of the other ten verses, I only want to use a few words so that you can just about guess the story.”

At the time of the conversation, much is still only a draft, so it is possible that a lot can still change. Katharina Weber expects nevertheless that something was going to influence her piece in a way which is typical for compositions by her: “The harmonious space which I intend to create with the strings is similar to the space in another one of my pieces where the flute plays a soloist role.” Katharina Weber is also sure that this is going to be a composition laid down into the last detail even though she has made herself known with improvised music, too. “It would be difficult to leave space for improvisation; also because it is a relatively large ensemble and there is only little time (for practice).” She had a clear idea how her composition should sound. “And yet, I am pleased every time when I hear the actual sounds of the instruments and their sensuality.”

Katharina Weber was born in Berne in 1958. She studied piano in Basel and Berne with Jürg Wyttenbach, Urs Peter Schneider, Erika Radermacher and Jörg Ewald Dähler. She also attended master classes with Yehudi Menuhin, György Kurtág, Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, Alex von Schlippenbach, Barre Phillips and others. Katharina Weber teaches piano and improvisation at the Music School and Conservatory in Berne and at the Berne University of Arts. www.katharinaweber.ch
Swiss Beethoven reflections: A project by Murten Classics and SUISA on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven had not much to do with Switzerland. He did, however, write “Six variations on a Swiss song” (Sechs Variationen über ein Schweizerlied), namely the folk song “Es hätt e Bur es Töchterli” (A farmer had a daughter once). This is the starting point for the composition assignments which the summer festival Murten Classics and SUISA allocated to eight Swiss composers of different generations, aesthetics and origin.

Oscar Bianchi, Xavier Dayer, Fortunat Frölich, Aglaja Graf, Christian Henking, Alfred Schweizer, Marina Sobyanina and Katharina Weber had a choice of basing their work on the variations, the folk song used by Beethoven or Beethoven in general. The compositions were written for the ensemble Paul Klee which allows for the following maximum instrumentation: Flute (also piccolo, G- or bass flute), clarinet (in B or A), violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano.

The initiator of this project, launched in 2019, was Kaspar Zehnder who had been Artistic Director of Murten Classics for 22 years. Due to the corona crisis and the measures ordered by the authorities, it was not possible to hold the 32nd instalment of the festival in August 2020 or the scheduled replacement festival in the winter months that followed. The “SUISA day” with eight compositions of this project was performed and recorded nevertheless, without an audience, on 28 January 2021 in the KiB Murten. The recordings have been available for listening at radio SRF 2 Kultur in the programme “Neue Musik im Konzert” and are released on the platform Neo.mx3. The project is also documented online via the SUISAblog and the social media channels of SUISA.

www.murtenclassics.ch

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Katharina Weber is basing her composition work for the project “Swiss Beethoven reflections” not only on Beethoven’s variations on a Swiss song and its lyrics. She also infuses it with the sound world of John Cage. Text by guest author Markus Ganz; Video by Mike Korner

Katharina Weber: “The clarinet should act as an individual, struggling and seeking the way”

Katharina Weber talking about her work “Badurbelisli”, which was still being created at the time of the interview in February 2020. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Ludwig van Beethoven and his “Variations on a Swiss song” have a special meaning for Katharina Weber. “These variations are among the first pieces of a great composer that I was allowed to play as a child.” The pianist and composer from Berne explains in a conversation held at the beginning of February 2020 also that music has always been important in the...read more

“Songs must have a lyrical depth for me”

On 25 May 2022, the “Best Hit” for the best composition will be determined by public voting at the Swiss Music Awards. Nominated for the award presented by SUISA are Zian, Joya Marleen and Lo & Leduc. We wanted to know from Zian and Henrik Amschler what role the lyrics play for the song “Show you”. Interview by guest author Markus Ganz

Zian and Henrik Amschler: “Songs must have a lyrical depth for me”

Zian (left) and Henrik Amschler. (Photos: Jen Ries; Nina Müller)

How important are, in your opinion, the lyrics for a song?

Zian: For me, it’s quite clear: The lyrics are crucial in determining whether a song can last longer or not. All of the songs that people listen to over and over again for decades, are songs that also have a lyrical depth. That’s why lyrics are extremely important. In the short term, their importance may be equal to that of the music, which is in line with SUISA’s royalty split. In the longer term, however, lyrics are arguably more important because they create an additional level.

So, is the music or the sound more ephemeral than good lyrics?

Zian: I believe that the sound underlines the lyrics more than anything else. If you listen to a song, you must find yourself in a sound that supports the lyrics. You can see stand-alone lyrics as poetry, if they are good lyrics. But, after all, we’re aiming to tell a story in three minutes that might have happened over several years.
Henrik Amschler: I don’t think transience is a bad thing. Lyrics per se are not as ephemeral as music, which always follows trends. However, this is highly dependent on the artists and the nature of their music; in dance music, for example, there is no need for depth in the lyrics – it should rather encourage you to dance. With artists like Zian, on the other hand, it is very important what they say in the lyrics, and accordingly the songs are less ephemeral.

By writing English lyrics, you are expanding your potential audience. But wouldn’t dialect texts be a more obvious choice?

Henrik Amschler: You have to remember that both the Swiss music market and the people in Switzerland in general are strongly influenced internationally, especially by the English-speaking world. What this means is, with certain styles, you can start on a different level with English lyrics than you would with lyrics written in dialect. Many Swiss artists have also shown that you first have to be successful abroad in order to be noticed at all in Switzerland, to be taken seriously.

Do you have a typical approach when you write your song lyrics?

Henrik Amschler: In principle, it’s safe to say that we have a pattern. Quite often, Zian presents me with an idea and asks for my opinion. If I’m excited, I’ll say “let’s go”, otherwise we’ll continue to discuss it. In the process, however, I am then more responsible for the musical aspects. Zian is always in the centre, because the lyrics must come from him, from his personality.
Zian: Yes, because the lyrics have to be honest.

So the credibility of Zian’s songs depends on the fact that when you listen to them, you feel that Zian is singing about something personal?

Henrik Amschler: The lyrical intention must always be recognisable in terms of coming from him; as such, he is more involved in the text than I am; I have more of a supporting function. The song “Show You” was born out of a personal story of Zian, like all our songs.

What is usually the trigger point for the lyrics, for a song?

Both: It could be anything.
Zian: Quite often it is any old situation, and then suddenly you feel that there is something there and that you can continue to work on it.
Henrik Amschler: With Zian, even when writing the lyrics, you notice that he is very musical, he is a multi-instrumentalist after all.
Zian: Above all, it’s about having a strong emotion here for me, putting a lot of heart into it.
Henrik Amschler: Often it’s what we feel like doing, what’s in our head and needs to be put into a text, and then we make the music to go with it.
Zian: Quite often, a word is crystallising and then, we feel which world this song belongs to. That can be sad and still take the direction towards “happy”.

Do you then develop the music and lyrics in parallel?

Zian: Yes, up to a certain point, where it is then worth defining the lyrics, because we have defined the world of the song; until then, part of the lyrics still is an incomprehensible “mumbled English”.
Henrik Amschler: Yes, once we’ve established the framework of the song, we go deeper into the lyrics, and deeper into the production.

Do you sometimes still have to adapt lyrics to an advanced production?

Zian: This happens rarely, because at some point the lyrics are finished; striving for perfection is good, but you can’t really achieve it. First of all, it has to be right in terms of the feeling, and of course it has to fit the music, the world that we have created with this song.
Henrik Amschler: For me, it’s quite clear: I always prioritise Zian with his unique voice and profound lyrics.
Zian: But you also have to understand that we are moving in the pop sector, the lyrics should not be too complex and abstract – people should be able to understand them. The more words you need, the less room for interpretation people have when they listen to the song.

“Show You”
Composition and lyrics: Tizian Hugenschmidt, Henrik Amschler.

www.zianmusic.com
www.henrik-hsa-amschler.ch

Swiss Music Awards: SUISA honours the songwriters of the “Best Hit”
In the “Best Hit” category at the Swiss Music Awards, the most successful national songs of the Swiss hit parade of the previous year are nominated. The winning song is determined by the audience voting during the TV show. For the first time this year, SUISA is the presenting partner of the “Best Hit” Award, highlighting the work of the songwriters and lyricists of the winning song. In 2022, the songs “Show You”, “Tribute” and “Nightmare” are nominated in the category “Best Hit”. (Text: Giorgio Tebaldi)
www.swissmusicawards.ch
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On 25 May 2022, the “Best Hit” for the best composition will be determined by public voting at the Swiss Music Awards. Nominated for the award presented by SUISA are Zian, Joya Marleen and Lo & Leduc. We wanted to know from Zian and Henrik Amschler what role the lyrics play for the song “Show you”. Interview by guest author Markus Ganz

Zian and Henrik Amschler: “Songs must have a lyrical depth for me”

Zian (left) and Henrik Amschler. (Photos: Jen Ries; Nina Müller)

How important are, in your opinion, the lyrics for a song?

Zian: For me, it’s quite clear: The lyrics are crucial in determining whether a song can last longer or not. All of the songs that people listen to over and over again for decades, are songs that also have a lyrical depth. That’s why lyrics are extremely important. In the short term,...read more

“Music puts the lyrics into context”

On 25 May 2022, the “Best Hit” for the best composition will be determined via audience voting at the Swiss Music Awards. The nominees for the award to be presented by SUISA are Lo & Leduc, Zian and Joya Marleen. We asked Lo & Leduc about the role of the lyrics for the song “Tribut”. Interview by guest author Markus Ganz

Lo and Leduc: “Music puts the lyrics into context”

Lo and Leduc. (Photo: Maximilian Lederer)

How important are, in your opinion, the lyrics for a song?

Lo: That’s something you can argue about. In our case, however, they are important, I surely have a bigger talent for lyrics than for singing. From our point of view, making music with Swiss German lyrics is generally more challenging than with English lyrics because the former automatically create a bigger distance to the contents. And if you are using lyrics in dialect, you are only making music for a relatively small audience.
Leduc: The lyrics are our primary craft.

Do you have a typical process when writing song lyrics?

Lo: Very different, everything is possible. Most of the time, one of us has an idea, this can even be the refrain or a melody. After that, we usually work individually, sometimes also together. Towards the end, at the latest, we finish all lyrics together. Sometimes one could call this fine tuning, sometimes also: We write a second verse and then have to rewrite the first one. There is no fixed process, the only thing that has become somewhat commonplace is that I hold an archive of lyrics and Luc an archive of photographs.
Leduc: It is almost pathological how I am trying to categorise our moments because I need some structure in order to think and work within the folders. It is often very interesting if you can place a new idea with the other one this way. What is also important is that we bring our own perspectives to the table. With a new approach, you do not just collect ideas but you also filter out the ideas which could become relevant for the song in question. Then we give the song idea a bit of time to brew, and later on simmer it together some more.

The music of the song “Tribut” is from the producer team Jugglerz. How was the cooperation, especially the coordination of music and lyrics?

Lo: This song is a special case. The idea for the lyrics is about ten years old; because it was unfinished, however, it was just lying around. When we began our cooperation with the Jugglerz in 2020/2021, we listened to many beats and draft songs and came across a guitar riff which simply captured us: Hey, that actually fits to a stone old text! So, we took it off the shelves again, rewrote it and adapted it to the music

Was this old version of the lyrics one without music?

Lo: No, but there was already music for it, and we have tried over the last ten years to make a song out of them a few times, but we always got stuck.
Leduc: It is therefore a lovely example that sometimes the time is not right for a song yet. “Tribut” contains the oldest line of the current album “Mercato”, but also the newest: The end of the refrain was the last bit that we wrote for the album, rather wide splits so to speak.

How clear was the definition of the cooperation with the Jugglerz?

Leduc: Sometimes the line how we share the work between music and lyrics is rather sketchy, but we presented clear versions and realised that their drafts matched ours. And then, we kept adapting our lyrics to the new beat they created.

“Tribut” has a multi-layered set of lyrics regarding what songs can express and what they cannot express. What was the starting point for the original version?

Lo: The basic idea is to find the first verse at the outset; the feeling, to write a love song knowing that you cannot give love its due with it, this kind of contradiction. The lyrics read “but love is no song” (aber Liebi isch kes Lied), this opens the world for this song and ends on the note that music is, after all, just a vehicle to capture such feelings but not quite in such a direct manner.
Leduc: With respect to lyrics, everything was available in the very early version. We then increased the aspect of music so that it is a kind of data storage of memories, even if no music is played. In the case of vinyl of tapes, you can even recognise the pauses between the songs and place them into the overall order.

What was the mutual influence of your lyrics and the music of Jugglerz when it comes to the creation of the song?

Lo: First, we adapted the key of their draft beat, which was a 30-second loop without arrangement. We then adapted the lyrics and fixed the arrangement together with Jonas Lang in the studio: the lengths of the stanza, pre chorus and so on. After that, we had to practically rewrite the refrain lyrics because it no longer worked. We had to adapt the lyrics to the music once more in the end where the original version of the draft beat can be heard.
Leduc: It is there that you can see really well that the reminiscence of this original beat led to the song.

Quite often, a set of song lyrics only reveals its impact, its meaning with the song. What does music contribute in terms of effect with respect to the rather self-evident lyrics of “Tribut”?

Leduc: It places the lyrics into context, a very nice example is the moment where it breaks at the end and changes into a parallel flat key. So what you know is practically changing into a kind of a parallel world.
Lo: I believe this happens even beforehand. The mood is not sad but there is a certain melancholy in the music.
Leduc: Yes, I have the feeling that the very consequent trap aesthetics is helping to create some sort of a counterweight to find a balance so that the resulting song is not a nostalgic one, something that happens too often in dialect pop.

“Tribut”
Composition: Jonas Lang (DJ Jopez), Joachim Piehl (Sir Jai), Martin Willumeit (DJ Meska) (Producer team aka Jugglerz).
Lyrics: Lorenz Häberli (Lo), Luc Oggier (Leduc).

www.lo-leduc.ch

Swiss Music Awards: SUISA honours the songwriters of the “Best Hit”
In the “Best Hit” category at the Swiss Music Awards, the most successful national songs of the Swiss hit parade of the previous year are nominated. The winning song is determined by the audience voting during the TV show. For the first time this year, SUISA is the presenting partner of the “Best Hit” Award, highlighting the work of the songwriters and lyricists of the winning song. In 2022, the songs “Tribute”, “Show You” and “Nightmare” are nominated in the category “Best Hit”. (Text: Giorgio Tebaldi)
www.swissmusicawards.ch
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On 25 May 2022, the “Best Hit” for the best composition will be determined via audience voting at the Swiss Music Awards. The nominees for the award to be presented by SUISA are Lo & Leduc, Zian and Joya Marleen. We asked Lo & Leduc about the role of the lyrics for the song “Tribut”. Interview by guest author Markus Ganz

Lo and Leduc: “Music puts the lyrics into context”

Lo and Leduc. (Photo: Maximilian Lederer)

How important are, in your opinion, the lyrics for a song?

Lo: That’s something you can argue about. In our case, however, they are important, I surely have a bigger talent for lyrics than for singing. From our point of view, making music with Swiss German lyrics is generally more challenging than with English lyrics because the former automatically create a bigger distance to the contents. And if...read more

“If everything was easy to understand, the lyrics would be boring”

On 25 May, 2022, the “Best Hit” for the best composition will be determined by public voting at the Swiss Music Awards. Nominated for the award presented by SUISA are Joya Marleen, Lo & Leduc and Zian. We wanted to know from Joya Marleen and Thomas Fessler what role the lyrics play for the song “Nightmare”. Interview by guest author Markus Ganz

Swiss Music Awards: “If everything was easy to understand, the lyrics would be boring”

Joya Marleen and Thomas Fessler. (Photos: Rouven Niedermaier; Emanuel Muhl)

How important are lyrics are for a song in your opinion?

Joya Marleen: Mega important, lyrics are essential! Olivia Rodrigo, for example, has written very beautiful, but also rather crass lyrics that are right in your face, lyrics where everything fits together; Amy Winehouse also impressed me with the very personal honesty of her lyrics.
Thomas Fessler: Yes, lyrics are rather important, not least because their royalty share at SUISA amounts to 50 percent, that is the same share as that of the music.

Do you have a typical approach when you write your song lyrics?

Joya Marleen: I like to start with words that somehow sound good or convey an idea of where the song might be going or what a story looks like. Accordingly, I may have three words that must appear in the song and then the add the feelings that go hand in hand with them. This can be the way the song is then formed. But mostly, I write the melody to the three words first.
Thomas Fessler: These words already contain the mood of the song. The rest is, initially, “yogurt text”: incomprehensible or meaningless text for places where the text is not yet fixed.

The nominated song “Nightmare” shows how important a single word can be and how it can already trigger many emotions. Joya, did the word nightmare spark the lyrics to the song of the same name?

Joya Marleen: Yeah, along with “Hold on, hold on”, it almost lends itself to providing a sailor vibe, a nightmare on a ship, that atmosphere fits well.

Did the music arise from this, from the rocking of these three words, as it were?

Thomas Fessler: Joya had recorded this refrain, the combination of these words and the melody, with her smartphone in a preliminary version and sent it to me. And I thought, uh, this is something special, you can make a great song out of this.
Joya Marleen: At the beginning, the song had a strong reggae influence …

… which is still easy to hear in the rhythmic intonation, in the swaying of these three words …

Both: Yes!

Joya, did you know what this song was going to be about when you heard the word nightmare? Or did the meaning of the song develop bit by bit?

Joya Marleen: I wanted this word to create an eerie mood. That is why I described this person who is waiting for a nightmare because they were bored. The nightmare is essential for them in life, they are looking for a toxic challenge. The song sounds bizarre, but is actually very melancholy, despite the contrasting vocal part “Hold on!”, and this creates a certain tension.

Did the rest of the lyrics then develop in parallel with the music?

Thomas Fessler: Joya also worked on the lyrics during the music recording, here on the sofa in the control room – and then finished them on the train ride home, as she always does … The lyrics have no clear storyline, they rather create a mood, they are lively and fresh, a bit quirky and also a bit chaotic. And that’s also a good thing, because if everything was easy to understand, the lyrics would be boring. You still have to be able to imagine something when you are listening to the song.

“Nightmare”
Music: Joya Marleen and Thomas Fessler.
Lyrics: Joya Marleen.

www.joyamarleen.com
www.571.ch

Swiss Music Awards: SUISA honours the songwriters of the “Best Hit”
In the “Best Hit” category at the Swiss Music Awards, the most successful national songs of the Swiss hit parade of the previous year are nominated. The winning song is determined by the audience voting during the TV show. For the first time this year, SUISA is the presenting partner of the “Best Hit” Award, highlighting the work of the songwriters and lyricists of the winning song. In 2022, the songs “Nightmare”, “Tribute” and “Show You” are nominated in the category “Best Hit”. (Text: Giorgio Tebaldi)
www.swissmusicawards.ch
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On 25 May, 2022, the “Best Hit” for the best composition will be determined by public voting at the Swiss Music Awards. Nominated for the award presented by SUISA are Joya Marleen, Lo & Leduc and Zian. We wanted to know from Joya Marleen and Thomas Fessler what role the lyrics play for the song “Nightmare”. Interview by guest author Markus Ganz

Swiss Music Awards: “If everything was easy to understand, the lyrics would be boring”

Joya Marleen and Thomas Fessler. (Photos: Rouven Niedermaier; Emanuel Muhl)

How important are lyrics are for a song in your opinion?

Joya Marleen: Mega important, lyrics are essential! Olivia Rodrigo, for example, has written very beautiful, but also rather crass lyrics that are right in your face, lyrics where everything fits together; Amy Winehouse also impressed me with the very personal honesty of her lyrics.
Thomas Fessler: Yes, lyrics are rather important, not least because...read more

Endo Anaconda forever!

Poet, composer and musician Endo Anaconda passed away on 1 February 2022. The singer of the Berne dialect band Stiller Has (“silent hare”) had been a SUISA member since 1990. Obituary by guest author Jürg Halter

Endo Anaconda forever!

Writer, lyricist and spoken word artist Jürg Halter commemorates his friend Endo Anaconda in this guest blog. (Photo: Nina Rieben)

Since Endo has died, but is far from being dead, I can only write of Switzerland’s greatest dialect poet in the present tense – Endo Anaconda will forever remain as young as well as “alterswild” (name of an album by Stiller Has, “old and wild”). Life sometimes turns out to be a ghost train and Endo appears as an impressive ghost wave rider – he also swings as a singing dandy, merry as a hare, cigarette in the corner of his mouth, on the road in his red convertible on a never-ending tour somewhere between Bern, Trub, Venice, the Alabama Hills, Olten, Vienna and Wallisellen.

Endo acts as a comforting warm-hearted alpinist against adverse life and evil old age. He is a prancing troublemaker, Endo disrupts operational establishment passionately, he rocks the scene as a genuinely post-pubescent operations disruption on stilts. Endo is a highly sensitive and attentive person who interferes with wisdom. He not only notices that there is a lot wrong with our society, he can also name and poeticise it in song lyrics, columns and conversations in a stubbornly precise and painfully accurate way. But never with condescending, self-important gestures, because he knows that he, like all of us, is part of the problem of humanity. Endo has a historical awareness of our abysses. Endo shines as the maladapted in the midst of the adapted. He is incomparable as an artist. Tom Waits, Jim Morrison, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Biggie or Leonard Cohen would envy him for many a songtext. But the dialect is also a prison – Bern is everywhere? – No, thanks.

Endo’s poetry is worldly rich, he lives it and it lives him. To the last. His art, his poetry is existential, in the most beautiful as well as in the most self-destructive sense. Endo’s black humor shines in the darkness. Like the Aare in the moonlight. Behold! Archangel Endo, Archendo. Always too little or too much, but never enough.

Endo is exorbitant. Loving. Needy of love. He loves his three children, he loves women, he loves people. Endo is a generous, tender, warm embrace. Uninhibited. Endo allows injury to happen, shows his wounds, unasked – beautifully spoiled. Endo is a humane loner. A trade unionist. A crazy mocking chicken in a wolf skin. A contradiction. A grumpy tomcat. A scout sitting on hot coals. A country hunter. A lonely cowboy riding against the sun. Fleeting like a butterfly. Volatile as life … please don’t!
Perhaps Endo would call out at this point: “Laugh a little! Laugh already! I want to see you laugh for crying out loud!” Then he himself would burst into his hearty, smoky, finely rattling laughter.

Yes! Let’s be gratefully disturbed, poetically animated, that we knew and know him among us. And because someone like Endo deserves more than applause and memorial minutes, we should laugh for him now, laugh at us, for us. Defying death, laughing for life. May Endo now fly somewhere out there, through the universe, light as a feather, whistling new and old melodies. The universe in which we, the living and the dead are all and remain seekers. There is no way out because the damn universe is everywhere. My heart is bleeding – Endo Anaconda forever!

The poet, composer and musician Endo Anaconda was born Andreas Flückiger in Burgdorf in 1955. He became known mainly as the singer of the Bernese band Stiller Has – not only in Switzerland but also in nearby countries. He has been honoured with various Swiss and international awards throughout his career, such as the Salzburger Stier (1995), the German Cabaret Awards (1995) and the Swiss Music Awards (2017).
Endo Anaconda released twelve studio albums and three live albums, selling over 250,000 records.
Jürg Halter, born 1980 in Bern, writer, lyricist and spoken word artist. Regularly performs throughout Europe, the U.S., Africa, Russia, South America and Japan. Numerous book and CD publications. Most recently, the poetry collection “Gemeinsame Sprache” (Dörlemann, 2021) was published, in which the poem “Schwarze Tauben fliegen auf” dedicated to Endo Anaconda can also be found.
www.juerghalter.com
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  1. Renate says:

    Ach Jürg… Du fehlst – mir – die Schweiz ist so leer ohne Dich.

  2. mark says:

    ach ist das schön, diesen nachruf zu lesen. so richtig wortgewandte sprachkünstler, die mit ihren volltreffern das herz des schreibgegenstandes wie auch das des lesenden frei legen, als sei es das einfachste der welt, sind leider selten heute. danke jürg halter.

  3. Daniel Blatter says:

    Dieses eigenartige Gefühl, wenn sich Lachen und Weinen hin und her wechseln, kurz innehalten, und nicht wissen, ob man erfreut oder traurig ist; Dieses endlich sich wieder spüren, widerfährt mir, beim Lesen dieses Textes, bei Auftritten von Jürg Halter und bei Liedern von Stiller Has. Zum Beispiel bei „Merci“ wo zu diesem beschriebenen Gefühl, noch Ekel und Wut auf den schweizerischen Zeitgeist hinzukommt. Danke den Poeten für die (liebevolle) Treffsicherheit auf unsere Herzen.

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

Poet, composer and musician Endo Anaconda passed away on 1 February 2022. The singer of the Berne dialect band Stiller Has (“silent hare”) had been a SUISA member since 1990. Obituary by guest author Jürg Halter

Endo Anaconda forever!

Writer, lyricist and spoken word artist Jürg Halter commemorates his friend Endo Anaconda in this guest blog. (Photo: Nina Rieben)

Since Endo has died, but is far from being dead, I can only write of Switzerland’s greatest dialect poet in the present tense – Endo Anaconda will forever remain as young as well as “alterswild” (name of an album by Stiller Has, “old and wild”). Life sometimes turns out to be a ghost train and Endo appears as an impressive ghost wave rider – he also swings as a singing dandy, merry as a hare, cigarette in...read more

“Musicians in Conversation”: Podcast by Helvetiarockt

Under the title “Musicians in Conversation”, Helvetiarockt – the Swiss coordination office and networking platform for female musicians in jazz, pop, and rock, launched a podcast series in December 2020. The second series starts on Friday 7 January 2022. The focus is on fostering the visibility of role models and on networking within the Swiss music scene. SUISA is a partner of the new podcast series. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

“Musicians in Conversation”: Podcast by Helvetiarockt

In the first episode of the Helvetiarockt podcast, musician and sound engineer Anna Murphy talks about the creative process in songwriting and her path to becoming a sound engineer: she encourages other women to embark on a career in music production. (Photo: Valentina Mahler)

Anna Murphy, La Nefera, Jessiquoi and Jasmin Albash Natalia Anderson – these are just a few of the female, non-binary, trans and intersex musicians and DJ’s who will be given their say in the second series of Helvetiarockt’s “Musicians in Conversation” podcasts. The podcasts discuss music in general, and creative processes and individual experiences in the music business. In the process, Helvetiarockt is looking to create multifarious role models for female musicians.

The podcast guests and their stories are highly motivational cases in point. They show that there are different paths and possibilities for a professional career in the music world, and that no one taking this step is alone. The podcast does not only address aspiring musicians; it essentially seeks to inspire everyone – including non-musicians – and offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the music business.

The interviews are conducted by Natalia Anderson, a Geneva-based musician, DJ, and journalist from London. In its press release, Helvetiarockt quotes Natalia Anderson: “We are trying to demystify the music business and show that there are many different ways to get involved in music. The podcast is about giving visibility to underrepresented groups in the Swiss music scene – in all their facets.”

Women in the music industry

Compared with their male colleagues, women are a minority in the Swiss music industry. According to Helvetiarockt, the share of female musicians on Swiss stages is a meagre 11%. In music production, women are even fewer – only 2%.

This is also reflected in the share of SUISA’s female membership, which is currently only slightly over 19% of the total. Even if the trend is inching upward – in recent years, the proportion of women among SUISA’s new members was 21% in 2018 and 2019, 23% in 2020, and 26% in 2021 – the gender imbalance in the Swiss music industry remains comparatively high given that women represent over 50% of the general population.

The Helvetiarockt podcast aims to give this (still) minority group of musicians and creators greater visibility and to help and encourage aspiring musicians make their way ahead in the music business.

SUISA partners Helvetiarockt

SUISA is partnering the second series of “Musicians in Conversation”. SUISA has supported Helvetiarockt, financially and in terms of visibility, since 2019 as part of a sponsoring commitment.

The second series of the Helvetiarockt podcasts starts on Friday 7 January; a new episode will be released every second week. The guest on the first episode is Anna Murphy, sound engineer, composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. In this podcast, Anna talks about the creative process in songwriting and the road to becoming a sound engineer: she encourages other women to embark on a career in music production.

To access the podcasts “Musicians in Conversation”, follow this link:
www.helvetiarockt.ch/podcasts

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Under the title “Musicians in Conversation”, Helvetiarockt – the Swiss coordination office and networking platform for female musicians in jazz, pop, and rock, launched a podcast series in December 2020. The second series starts on Friday 7 January 2022. The focus is on fostering the visibility of role models and on networking within the Swiss music scene. SUISA is a partner of the new podcast series. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

“Musicians in Conversation”: Podcast by Helvetiarockt

In the first episode of the Helvetiarockt podcast, musician and sound engineer Anna Murphy talks about the creative process in songwriting and her path to becoming a sound engineer: she encourages other women to embark on a career in music production. (Photo: Valentina Mahler)

Anna Murphy, La Nefera, Jessiquoi and Jasmin Albash Natalia Anderson – these are just a few of the female,...read more