Tag Archives: Swiss music

“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.

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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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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.

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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

An inconspicuous medium which deserves more attention

The Schweizer Musikzeitung is so much more than a mouthpiece for Swiss music associations. It has grown to become an inspiring platform where you can find reports on musical topics across genres, languages and regions. Text by guest author Markus Ganz

Schweizer Musikzeitung: An inconspicuous medium which deserves more attention

The Schweizer Musikzeitung sees itself as a platform of the diverse Swiss music scene. (Graphics: Hubert Neidhart / SMZ)

For nearly 24 years the Schweizer Musikzeitung (Swiss Music Newspaper, SMZ) has been in circulation – a long time during which the media landscape has changed radically, keyword: internet. So you ask yourself: Why do we still need this newspaper which is still printed on newsprint paper nine times a year despite having an online presence? Or, to put the question differently: How would you argue that there is a necessity for this trade journal if it didn’t exist yet and you wanted to launch such a project?

Katrin Spelinova, who has been running the SMZ since 2007 as its editor-in-chief, does not hesitate for a moment: “We need a voice for music in Switzerland which is also heard outside the world of music.” She alludes to the fact that politicians wish that there was only once voice for all music associations.

Solid basis

The foundation of the SMZ does indeed have a link to the Federal Office of Culture (BAK). “In 1998, the BAK changed its strategy and cut financial contributions to the music associations”, explains Katrin Spelinova. “One argument was that the music associations should merge their magazines and newsletters.” That is how it was done. In the meantime, the SMZ has become an official notification channel for 12, even 30 music associations when you count the sub-organisations. SUISA is connected to SMZ as a partner and uses the publication channel in order to additionally disseminate its topics in connection with copyright in musical works and the cooperative society.

Katrin Spelinova highlights that the SMZ does not receive any subsidies from the BAK. “We used to be supported by Pro Helvetia, however, when we modernised our online appearance with the relaunch in 2013. Apart from that, our business is carried by the associations and advertising which is very important to us.” The type of financing by associations has remained the same since the relaunch in 2013. “It is a two-tier financing model. Associations require a side package which matches their needs, usually five, nine or 18 pages per year. The amount to be paid does not just depend on the number of these pages but also the number of the registered subscribers of association members.” In which case you need to add that the maximum price for such an annual association subscription only amounted to five Swiss Francs which just about covered the postage. “This income makes up 25-30% of our total income, the remainder stems from advertising and normal subscriptions which cost CHF 70.00” The main share of the roughly 18,500 subscriptions (WEMF 2021) goes to the associations.

Roughly 16 to 20 pages of the associations per issue which are aptly referred to as “basis” are no handicap for the credibility of the SMZ. On the one hand, they are clearly separated from the cover parts by the editors. On the other hand, they do not just contain the usually rather dry association news but also gripping articles such as about tradition and the importance of music reviews (issue 5/2021) or the adorably describe “Don Juan stupor: Russian pianists – gendering not necessary and the paraphrasing about Mozart operas by Liszt” (issue 6/2021).

Schweizer Musikzeitung: Katrin Spelinova

Katrin Spelinova, Editor-in-chief of the SMZ since 2007. (Photo: SMZ)

Katrin Spelinova also points out: “In the cover parts produced by the editors, we are trying to remain as neutral as possible.” The cover parts are split in a self-explanatory manner into “focus”, “reviews”, “resonance”, “campus” and “service”. The filet piece of the printed issue is the theme focus (“focus”) which is not published online. Here, you can read several in-depth texts on the topics such as “Hausmusik”, “wallet”, “voice”, “animas”, pause”, “Corona”, “supporting characters”.

Content without any style boundaries

What is central to the content is the alignment with the target group. Katrin Spelinova: “With this, we clearly refer to the active musicians whether professionals or amateurs, whether from orchestras or bands, including teachers and parents of music students, also people who are generally interested in music.” What’s decisive for picking the topics is that the Schweizer Musikzeitung is meant to be the platform for the Swiss Music Scene. “We report on everything which affects the music in Switzerland, whether that be education, performances, sound recordings or the life of music creators, and not just the life of stars which is already covered in other media types.” We would like our readers to be able look behind the scenes and to receive impulses to think about music in a rather general manner.”

In the last few years, the stylistic spectrum and therefore also the target group were increasingly expanded towards jazz and pop/rock. Katrin Spelinova wants to stick to this expansion. “It is also an experience of the music schools that you cannot make any progress with pigeonholing, i.e. to categorise into classical music, jazz, pop/rock, world music etc. And that is not least because the styles are merging.” This distinction is still made online in order to simplify access. “I do hope that this way of pigeonholing will cease to exist one day and that we will simply talk and write about music and what is associated with it.”

Katrin Spelinova does, however, confirm the impression that the SMZ is well-known in the classical music creation sector but much less so in the pop/rock and jazz sectors, despite editorial efforts with stories from these areas. She is still optimistic: “Due to the merger between the Schweizer Tonkünstlerverein [Swiss Sound Artist Association] with the Verein Musikschaffende Schweiz [Association Music Creators Switzerland], we now have more readers from that sector and expect that this is going to continue to increase.”

The newspaper format and the relatively plain and dry layout are a handicap with the younger readers who are mainly active on the internet and are used to a more attractive and colourful design. Katrin Spelinova is aware of that. “This is surely an issue which we must consider more and more in order to attract the attention of the students at music universities to the SMZ. We attempt to be present on social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. But if such a presence is really meant to convince, it requires an enormous effort.”

Print despite online presence

The question still remains why the SMZ still issues a printed edition despite enhanced online presence, is this not somewhat anachronistic? Katrin Spelinova emphasizes that you can also subscribe to the SMZ as an e-paper but this share was very small and amounted to less than a percent of the readers. “It is absolutely important that this newspaper gets delivered to the letterboxes so that readers are reminded nine times a year what their association is doing for them. With our enhanced cover section they also have the opportunity to read something about aspects which they would not actively look for on the internet because it is not even on their radar.” Add to that a business-related reason: “We cannot finance ourselves online. Advertising business still mainly runs via the print issue.”

Schweizer Musikzeitung: print paper

The SMZ is still printed nine times a year on newsprint paper in addition to having an enhanced online presence. (Photo: Pia Schwab / SMZ)

As such you could ask yourself how the online and print versions differ from each other. Katrin Spelinova: “Since we only publish nine times a year, we can provide a current report in the summer break online, which would be too late in the next print issue in September. And what is also very important is that we can place teasers into the hardcopy for longer texts which no longer find space in it and then refer the readers with a QR code to the integral online version. This creates more room to manoeuvre for us.”

The chat page in the printed part where two personalities exchange their view on a topic is rather interesting. This is something with particular online potential. It could nudge discussions with an expansion of the chat as a presented online discussion platform which regularly presents a topic that is discussed by experts in a controversial manner and then could be discussed further by the readers. Katrin Spelinova also sees a chance here. “We have relatively little direct feedback, also not via the commentary function. Last year, on the occasion of the Beethoven anniversary, we presented a work each week and asked the readers to tell us their relationship to or their experience with said composition. But only very little happened, we could not feel much from our readers.”

Bridge function between languages and regions

Thanks to the online presence the news really is news. Here, the quality of the SMZ shows itself by a careful selection such as with notes on insights from music research. Katrin Spelinova mainly looks after the matters affecting the associations and is very well supported by Wolfgang Böhler who many people might still know from the online magazine “Codex flores”. “He has a very good overview over what’s happening in the cultural political arena in the cantons and the municipalities.” Add to that the news from Jean-Daniel Humair who looks after the French part of the SMZ in Lausanne; Pia Schwab also contributes as part of the editorial team. “But it is a capacity problem to look after the French part as extensively as the German part.”

Italian texts are therefore a huge exception even though the exchange between the regions and languages is held high. “We try it, because the bridge function of the SMZ is important. You must not forget: For music creators from the Ticino, it can be more interesting if a report about them is written in German so that they draw more attention in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. We therefore have reported about the Ticino as a peripheral region, this year, we will focus on the Jura, next year about Grisons.”

What would be desirable is to feature more reviews which are important for music creators according to Katrin Spelinova. “What’s decisive for us is that the CDs have a link to Switzerland and are not from superstars which are already present everywhere else. In addition, concert reviews should, if possible, reflect a flow or a phenomenon in several examples. Specifically in one of the last issues there was a text on nine string quartets of Swiss composers who were performed within two weeks in Brunnen and in Zurich. As such you can also convey a context which contributes more than a pure concert review.”

Music associations involved:
Eidgenössischer Orchesterverband (EOV), Forum Musik Diversität (FMD), Konferenz Musikhochschulen Schweiz (KMHS), Musikhochschule Kalaidos, Schweizerischer Jugendmusikwettbewerb & Arosa Kultur (SJMW), Schweizerische Musikforschende Gesellschaft (SMG), Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Musik-Medizin (SMM), Schweizerischer Musikpädagogischer Verband (SMPV), Schweizer Musikrat & CHorama (SMR), Schweizerischer Musikerverband (SMV), SONART – Musikschaffende Schweiz, Genossenschaft der Urheber und Verleger von Musik (SUISA) und der Verband Musikschulen Schweiz (VMS).

Subscriptions

Surprising, fresh and always setting the tone: The Schweizer Musikzeitung can be acquired as a printed edition 9x a year delivered to your letterbox or as an e-paper. The latter is delivered as a pdf by e-mail or can be downloaded in the print archive.

The subscriptions include access to the digital print archive (Articles since 1998).

Annual subscription or e-paper, 9 issues: CHF 70.00
Annual subscription for students with valid credentials: CHF 35.00
Trial subscription (3 issues): CHF 20.00
Trial subscription (3 issue) for students with valid credentials: CHF 10.00

Order via e-mail: abo.schweizer-musikzeitung (at) galledia.ch
Order by phone: +41 (0)58 344 95 50
Order via online form: www.musikzeitung.ch/de/abonnieren
(Text: SMZ)

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The Schweizer Musikzeitung is so much more than a mouthpiece for Swiss music associations. It has grown to become an inspiring platform where you can find reports on musical topics across genres, languages and regions. Text by guest author Markus Ganz

Schweizer Musikzeitung: An inconspicuous medium which deserves more attention

The Schweizer Musikzeitung sees itself as a platform of the diverse Swiss music scene. (Graphics: Hubert Neidhart / SMZ)

For nearly 24 years the Schweizer Musikzeitung (Swiss Music Newspaper, SMZ) has been in circulation – a long time during which the media landscape has changed radically, keyword: internet. So you ask yourself: Why do we still need this newspaper which is still printed on newsprint paper nine times a year despite having an online presence? Or, to put the question differently: How would you argue that there is a necessity for this...read more

Cla Nett: Passionate Blues musician, dedicated lawyer

On 27 September 2021, Cla Felice Nett, lawyer, musician and SUISA member since 1981 passed away after a long and severe illness. Obituary by guest author Marco Piazzalonga

Cla Nett: Passionate Blues musician, dedicated lawyer

Clat Nett was a regular visitor of the SUISA General Meeting; shown here during the 90th GM of the Cooperative Society in the Hotel Schweizerhof in Lucerne back in 2013. (Photo: Beat Felber)

Cla spent his early life in Engadine. Just before he started school, his family moved to Basel where his father began working as a teacher. After primary school, Cla went to a humanistic high school where he graduated with A levels type A (Latin and Greek). Following that, he completed law studies at the University of Basel where he acquired a “cum laude” licenciate.

Already as a teenager, Cla was a fan of the Blues, mainly self-taught how to play the guitar and started performing with his first bands. In 1975, he founded the Lazy Poker Blues Band with whom he was able to celebrate successful times in the 1980s and 1990s, both at home and abroad.

Cla and his formation played to an audience of 45,000 as representatives for Switzerland at the “Concert for Europe” in the Berlin Olympic Stadium, accompanied Joe Cocker for one month through Germany, toured the then GDR, recorded longplays in Chicago and played in clubs and at Open Airs all across our country.

Cla Nett managed to link music with his legal training. In the Board Committee and as President of the Expert Committee of Phonographic Producers at Swissperform and as Managing Director at the Swiss Performers’ Cooperative, SIG, he was able to contribute his know-how and experience. Cla also worked as an associate judge at the court of appeals in Basel.

Due to health-related reasons, Cla had been forced to take it easy over the last few years when it came to music and job. Even this year, in July, he practically fought his way out of bed to the stage of the Magic Blues Festival in the Valle Maggia in order to play with his Lazy Poker Blues Band one last time. Cla Nett leaves behind a wife, two adult children and one grandchild.

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On 27 September 2021, Cla Felice Nett, lawyer, musician and SUISA member since 1981 passed away after a long and severe illness. Obituary by guest author Marco Piazzalonga

Cla Nett: Passionate Blues musician, dedicated lawyer

Clat Nett was a regular visitor of the SUISA General Meeting; shown here during the 90th GM of the Cooperative Society in the Hotel Schweizerhof in Lucerne back in 2013. (Photo: Beat Felber)

Cla spent his early life in Engadine. Just before he started school, his family moved to Basel where his father began working as a teacher. After primary school, Cla went to a humanistic high school where he graduated with A levels type A (Latin and Greek). Following that, he completed law studies at the University of Basel where he acquired a “cum laude” licenciate.

Already as a teenager, Cla was a fan of...read more

“Techno and ländler music are very closely related to each other”

Electronically processed everyday sounds are combined with elements of ländler music to create a new listening experience: this is what the double bass player and composer, Pirmin Huber, wants to develop and realise for his new project. The “Get Going!” grant is supporting him with this project. Text/interview by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Pirmin Huber: “Techno and ländler music are very closely related to each other”

The Schwyz composer and double bass player Pirmin Huber. (Photo: Arthur Häberli)

The Schwyz composer and double bass player, Pirmin Huber, has been experimenting with new ways of combining Swiss folk music with other genres to create new sounds since he completed his jazz studies (majoring in composition) at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Whether as a soloist or as a member of the “Ländlerorchester” (Ländler Orchestra), “Stereo Kulisse”, “Ambäck” or of the “Gläuffig” formation: Huber redefines folk music and blends it with techno, jazz, classical or electronic music. Now Pirmin Huber wants to conduct a type of “field recording” research with the help of electronically manipulated everyday noises and the folk music sounds of his double base and other instruments he plays. The whole thing should lead to a work that challenges our listening habits, thus reflecting the world at this extraordinary time.

Pirmin Huber, how did the idea for this project come about?
Pirmin Huber: I started out playing folk music, that is to say acoustic music, and I have increasingly delved into electronic music. By tinkering with new recording techniques, I have come up with ideas that I want to develop further. I grew up on a farm, and we also had a carpenter’s workshop there. I was as fascinated by the sounds of the saw as I was by all the other sounds, and I already tried to imitate them with my musical instruments at that time. In my “Get Going!” project, I start with the sounds I can create with my instruments, double bass, Schwyzerörgeli (an accordion first made in the canton of Schwyz), guitar, piano or Glarus zither, and combine them with typical everyday sounds that I make seem unfamiliar with the help of electronic music. Since my youth, I have been asking myself the following question: how can you make music from these sounds. Now I can afford quite a few tools, thus giving me the opportunity to get deeply involved with the project.

What comes first? The sound collection and then the composition or is it the other way around?
It’s a mixture of the two. New opportunities keep opening up while I work. It’s all part of the process. It’s important to me that I create a very specific mood with my music. The finished work will consist of several pieces that flow together or at least relate to each other. It could be described as a type of suite.

You shift from one style to the next with ease. As a double bass player, you always set the tone. Can connections or interfaces between folk music, classical music, jazz, pop, rock or techno be identified from this position?
Perhaps. In any case, techno and ländler music are very closely related genres. This may be difficult to understand from the outside (laughs), but the energy that comes from playing is the same for techno as it is for ländler music, which is after all also dance music. I think you first have to have played both to experience this common feature. In my project, I am trying to create a kind of modern ländler music with electronics and grooves.

Nature and urban life: do you get the inspiration you need from these conflicting elements?
I need both. As soon as one of them is no longer there, it feels like something is missing. That’s probably why it’s logical that I want to bring these two opposing poles together. I’ve had three strings to my bow for a long time: folk music, contemporary music and techno. However, I feel that they are one.

The “Get Going!” grant is intended to provide start-up financing without any result-related expectations. What do you think of this funding model?
I think it’s great! The freedom it gives us serves as motivation to really achieve something great. After all, I had conceived the idea for my project a long time ago, but then things kept getting in the way. And much ultimately depends on whether you can afford to execute such a project and also implement it without any stress. “Get Going!” allows me to do just that.

FONDATION SUISA started awarding new grants in 2018. Under the heading of “Get Going!”, creative and artistic processes that do not fall within established categories are given a financial jump-start. Each year, our Portrait Series profiles recipients of Get Going! funding.
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Electronically processed everyday sounds are combined with elements of ländler music to create a new listening experience: this is what the double bass player and composer, Pirmin Huber, wants to develop and realise for his new project. The “Get Going!” grant is supporting him with this project. Text/interview by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Pirmin Huber: “Techno and ländler music are very closely related to each other”

The Schwyz composer and double bass player Pirmin Huber. (Photo: Arthur Häberli)

The Schwyz composer and double bass player, Pirmin Huber, has been experimenting with new ways of combining Swiss folk music with other genres to create new sounds since he completed his jazz studies (majoring in composition) at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Whether as a soloist or as a member of the “Ländlerorchester” (Ländler Orchestra), “Stereo Kulisse”, “Ambäck” or of the “Gläuffig” formation: Huber redefines...read more

The sound of the mountain

For the first time ever, the Floating Notes Festival will be held at the San Bernardino in Graubünden this year. Floating Notes is all about experimental music. In this blog, festival organisers and performers describe how the unique landscape is influencing music and the performances. SUISA is a sponsoring partner of the festival. Guest contribution by Elena Rotondi

Floating Notes Festival: The sound of the mountain

The Floating Notes Festival is going to take place from 23 to 25 July 2021 in Mesocco near the San Bernardino. (Photo: Sebastiano Piattini)

Kety Fusco, founder and programme director of the Floating Notes Festival has a rather specific idea what the heartbeat of her festival is going to be: The performers are going to engage in experimental and unpublished sound research that adapts to the place of the performance, taking into consideration their own artistic and musical backgrounds, and that will make it impossible to separate the content of the performance from the place where it has been created. As a consequence, the Floating Notes Festival is going to be completely new event because music and venue will be brought together in a unique performance. Kety Fusco will launch the opening night of the festival at the spring of the San Bernardino (GR) with her electronic harp on Friday, 23 July.

This, she tells us, shall be the manifest of the idea which stands behind the festival: the desire to unite the aesthetics and history of the San Bernardino, to revive a place which has, historically, always been a point of attraction for international travellers and which still pulls many visitors thanks to the untouched beauty you can still find in some places. All of this with a view to the future with the atmospheric, innovative and experimental music which is going to populate the environment and fill it with new meaning.

The performers appearing in the programme have been asked how the creative process was influencing their preparation for the festival and their performance on stage. Camilla Sparksss who is going to perform in the Fonte Minerale in the evening, tells us how she is experimenting with a live set specially for the Floating Notes Festival: “Sounds are created which, in my view, come rather close to the sound of the mountain and its gravitas, with its echoes and its dangers. It is going to be a performance which could be perceived as very experimental by people. But you just have to close your eyes and imagine a journey into the interior of the rocks in order to become one with the mountains.”

It is also interesting how Adriano Koch, a young musician, who is going to conclude the evening on Friday, 23 July, links his appearance to the place where he is going to perform: “It is always motivating to see how a place or a venue can change the energy and the artistic message of a song. As such, it is important to me to record a performance in order to preserve this special moment which will never happen again.”

This festival in Graubünden could not continue without the present of the pioneer of instrumental and sound research: The next day, Saturday 24 July, Simon Berz is going to perform a live concert with stones on the San Bernardino pass. The musician explains: “I have created my instrument TECTONIC from volcanic sound stones which I found in Iceland. The stones are now going to sound in another ‘stone room’, the one in San Bernardino.”

The Floating Notes Festival also excels by an event which connects music and body: a guided meditation by Keri Gonzato who will be accompanied with music by Federica Furlani, alias Effe Effe, played back from a sound recording. A soundscape, just made for meditation at more than 2,000 metres above sea level.

The soundtrack of the festival will be premièred on Saturday, 24 July. Ticino-based musician Chiara Dubey has been commissioned with the soundtrack. She describes the creative process of her composition as follows: “In the beginning, there was the idea that I would probably be inspired by the sounds of natural elements into which I would delve into upon my arrival at the San Bernardino. For example, the rustle of the fir trees or the lapping of the water. Since this concert is my first pre-taste of the mountains after a weird year of communal solitude and deafening silence, I decided that I would look inwards for this piece: I was listening to my thoughts and it seemed as if I was finding an old friend again after a long time. I am sure that I was not the only one who had this experience. And I hope that both for me and all attendees it will be liberating to let this song, ‘Stranger’ rumble in the night of the festival, also because our stage will be surrounded by a spectacular mountainous landscape, by a raw, natural, free beauty.”

The closing act of Saturday evening will be Peter Kernel, a well-known duo from Ticino that will be part of the festival in an unusual context and with an equally unusual performance. As such, Aris Bassetti and Barbara Lehnhoff are not going to perform as a typical rock band but prepare an exclusive DJ set which consists of music from the past and will lead us into the future so that it best resonates in the crevices of the surrounding mountains: “For us, it is a central issue to create a certain connection with the audience; we must understand each other in order to create an unforgettable experience. For Floating Notes, we decided to do something exclusive, something that we usually don’t do. We will not perform a normal concert but an experimental DJ set. We will play music which somehow fits well into the context of the mountains and fresh air and we will try to mix it in our own way.”

The Floating Notes Festival is going to take place from 23 to 25 July 2021 in Mesocco (GR) near the San Bernardino. Swiss artists Kety Fusco, Camilla Sparksss, Chiara Dubey, Leoni Leoni, Peter Kernel and Adriano Koch, Federica Furlani (Effe Effe) from Italy and the Icelandic musician Simon Berz are going to perform at the festival. There will also be a guided meditation by Keri Gonzato. Further information can be accessed at www.facebook.com/floatingnotesfestival.
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For the first time ever, the Floating Notes Festival will be held at the San Bernardino in Graubünden this year. Floating Notes is all about experimental music. In this blog, festival organisers and performers describe how the unique landscape is influencing music and the performances. SUISA is a sponsoring partner of the festival. Guest contribution by Elena Rotondi

Floating Notes Festival: The sound of the mountain

The Floating Notes Festival is going to take place from 23 to 25 July 2021 in Mesocco near the San Bernardino. (Photo: Sebastiano Piattini)

Kety Fusco, founder and programme director of the Floating Notes Festival has a rather specific idea what the heartbeat of her festival is going to be: The performers are going to engage in experimental and unpublished sound research that adapts to the place of the performance, taking into consideration their own...read more

“Get Going!” goes into the fourth round

Since 2018, “Get Going!” has been a regular feature of the support portfolio of the FONDATION SUISA. Now the kick-off financing programme which promotes innovative creative approaches outside the usual “pigeonholes”, enters its fourth round. Text by FONDATION SUISA

Fondation Suisa: “Get Going!” goes into the fourth round

Last year’s recipients of “Get Going!” (Clockwise from the top left) Isandro Ojeda-García, OY, Réka Csiszér, Pirmin Huber. (Photos: Caio Licínio; Sash Seurat Samson; Romina Kalsi; Gian Marco Castelberg)

When invitations to tender for “Get Going!” were launched for the first time, in 2018, it was “a shot in the dark”, says Urs Schnell, Director of the FONDATION SUISA. Back then, the idea was to look ahead. “Instead of patting an artist on the back after the fact by awarding them a prize, we now invest the money available to us into the future instead.”

So far, four “Get Going!” contributions of CHF 25,000 each have been allocated three times. The unabated interest in this promotion process underlines the changing conditions that music creators find themselves in with respect to many issues. Since the kick-off financing is not linked to a result, it allows musicians to work free from financial and time-related pressures. “On the one hand, the environment over the last years has become more hectic, on the other hand, the pandemic has left many in a void. You can look at it from any which angle, the time factor has become a commodity that should not be underestimated”, explains Schnell.

Applications for “Get Going!” contributions until 30 August 2021

“Get Going!” is aimed at innovative and creative projects that are in danger of falling through the cracks in any conventional application system. FONDATION SUISA intends to move towards artists with “Get Going!”, says Schnell, and adds: “We want to move free creative thinking back into the centre of interest.”

From now on, creators, authors and musicians who can prove a clear relation to current music creation in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, can apply again for “Get Going!”. Four of those kick-off financing packages of CHF 25,000 each will be granted by an expert jury again this year. The deadline to submit applications is 30 August 2021.

In order to show what “Get Going!” actually offers in terms of opportunities, we are going to publish portraits of the recipients of last year’s “Get Going!” contributions on the FONDATION SUISA website and the SUISAblog over the next few weeks.

“Get Going!” on the website of FONDATION SUISA

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Since 2018, “Get Going!” has been a regular feature of the support portfolio of the FONDATION SUISA. Now the kick-off financing programme which promotes innovative creative approaches outside the usual “pigeonholes”, enters its fourth round. Text by FONDATION SUISA

Fondation Suisa: “Get Going!” goes into the fourth round

Last year’s recipients of “Get Going!” (Clockwise from the top left) Isandro Ojeda-García, OY, Réka Csiszér, Pirmin Huber. (Photos: Caio Licínio; Sash Seurat Samson; Romina Kalsi; Gian Marco Castelberg)

When invitations to tender for “Get Going!” were launched for the first time, in 2018, it was “a shot in the dark”, says Urs Schnell, Director of the FONDATION SUISA. Back then, the idea was to look ahead. “Instead of patting an artist on the back after the fact by awarding them a prize, we now invest the money available to us into the future...read more

Musikexport – quo vadis?

Covid-19, digitisation, climate crisis: Musikexport in extraordinary times. Experiences and thoughts on the subject by Marcel Kaufmann, responsible at FONDATION SUISA for its presence abroad and the export promotion.

Fondation Suisa: Musikexport – quo vadis?

Will there ever be a back to “normal” times? The Swiss joint exhibition stand at the jazzahead! Bremen 2019. (Photo: Marcel Kaufmann)

Since the internet revolution of the 90ies, the value creation on the music market shifted to a large part towards the live sector. Concerts became the most important income stream for many musicians. One of the consequences was that numerous showcase events were launched. Artists could perform in front of international experts during short live concerts. This was done in the hope that they would get bookings in bigger clubs or festivals or taken under contract by international agencies. Together with various partners, the FONDATION SUISA supports the export endeavours of the domestic creators. For many years, the foundation organises Swiss networking platforms at international conferences and events.

This well-functioning system of travel, performances and shaking hands was brought to an abrupt halt by the pandemic. It was more or less overnight that music creators lost a large portion of their income, and at the same time also their export paths.

What now? How can they bridge this period? And what would happen if the “normality” we all love so much is never to return?

FONDATION SUISA took part in many pilot projects last year, tested chat tools, supported showcase videos via streams and negotiated potential new subsidising avenues with event organisers and promoters. “An interesting experience”, “a welcome transitional solution”, but surely “no surrogate for a real live performance”: This is our verdict at the end of 2020, in conformity with a large group of music creators and event organisers.

“Networking via the internet is, to many, still a very strange concept.”

The pandemic entailed cancellations of practically all physical face-to-face music conferences and exhibitions in 2020. Some, like Midem or WOMEX tried to hold virtual events. Back then, the planning insecurity was still too high. It was impossible to even consider being able to organise concerts again in the near future. In line with this, promoters booked much less artists during such online events than for physical events with a face-to-face audience. The ambiance of a live concerts can also not be recreated on a 1:1 level. And networking via the internet is, to many, still a very strange concept.

The most recent virtually held jazzahead! in Bremen confirmed these findings to a large degree. Ok, so it was easier to establish contact among those accredited for participation via the internet than on heaving exhibition grounds. In the absence of a collective feeling, however, you soon turn into a lone fighter. The real success of the Swiss presence at the biggest jazz conference in the world this year will only emerge in a few weeks and after surveys and conversations. In the past, it was possible to draw conclusions on the last day of the conference.

The two Swiss live acts in the official showcase programme of the jazzahead! chose different approaches: The formation The True Harry Nulz performed live in Bremen in front of a handful of journalists which at least applauded after each song which could be heard in the live stream. The showcase of the Luzia von Wyl Ensemble, however, had been pre-produced without an audience in the Moods in Zurich and then streamed. The silence between the pieces and the lack of feedback leave the performers in a vacuum.

“We must constantly create new scenarios, remain open and critically assess our own impressions.”

Now that in the face of the vaccination campaigns there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel again, it would be easy to fall into a state of hopeful anticipation and do away with the online world as a pure temporary solution. In a time, however, where our entire work life is significantly changed by the digitisation, many questions arise: Is there possibly more export potential in the online world as previously assumed? Can we even afford the old “normal” in times of a global climate crisis which will survive each pandemic? A crisis which is going to have a lasting effect on generations of future music creators and take many opportunities away from them?

There are still no conclusive answers to all of these questions. The most important developments do not take place online but in our heads. And these developments take more time than the technological ones. Until then, we must constantly create new scenarios, remain open and critically assess our own impressions. The most important factor is: listen to the music creators. Because their art must find its way across the country borders, also in the future. For them, FONDATION SUISA will continue to actively monitor and influence the developments in the music export world.

New Get Going! Invitation to tender
For the fourth time, the FONDATION SUISA is going to launch an invitation to tender regarding Get Going! contributions at the end of June / beginning of July. More information regarding the kick-off financing for extraordinary projects can be found in good time on the website of the foundation: www.fondation-suisa.ch
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Covid-19, digitisation, climate crisis: Musikexport in extraordinary times. Experiences and thoughts on the subject by Marcel Kaufmann, responsible at FONDATION SUISA for its presence abroad and the export promotion.

Fondation Suisa: Musikexport – quo vadis?

Will there ever be a back to “normal” times? The Swiss joint exhibition stand at the jazzahead! Bremen 2019. (Photo: Marcel Kaufmann)

Since the internet revolution of the 90ies, the value creation on the music market shifted to a large part towards the live sector. Concerts became the most important income stream for many musicians. One of the consequences was that numerous showcase events were launched. Artists could perform in front of international experts during short live concerts. This was done in the hope that they would get bookings in bigger clubs or festivals or taken under contract by international agencies. Together with various partners, the...read more

“As a composer, you’re always a beginner” | plus video

In his composition for the project “Swiss Beethoven reflections”, Christian Henking uses the melody of the Swiss song used by Beethoven as a basis. In his six variations, he utilises different principles. Text by guest author Markus Ganz; Video by Manu Leuenberger

Christian Henking respects Ludwig van Beethoven, “this monument, this granite rock in music history”. “He is a master teacher to me again and again, independent of the aesthetics; fantastic what he has formally achieved.” As a consequence, Beethoven’s “Variationen über ein Schweizerlied” (Variations on a Swiss song) irritated him even more, as he explains in a conversation at the end of January 2020. “I really don’t understand them, thought, it wasn’t possible that they were by Beethoven.”

Since the composer from Biel and Berne could not relate to these variations, he dealt with the original song, “Es hätt e Bur es Töchterli” (A farmer had a daughter once) in more detail. But that was also rather awkward, he thought the melody was strange for a folk song, and he was also missing the elegance of the “Guggisberglied” (Guggisberg song). “At the same time, though, it holds the incredible tension of the huge tonal range. Its straightforward, pulse-like nature is also rather interesting; there isn’t really a rhythm, just those quarter notes that ‘hang about’. The song therefore has a certain emptiness and thus also offers openness.” Christian Henking thus decided to base his composition on the melody of the folk song. Then he also wrote six variations, “just like Beethoven, but rather accidentally”.

Christian Henking explains that he first analysed the melody and then cut it into individual segments. “In my first four variations I regard individual segments of the song, so to speak. The last two relate to the entire song.” He therefore stayed altogether or not altogether with the material: “In the second variation, I avoid, especially when searching for this variation, all notes that occur in the original piece.”

The basic approach was to apply different work modes, respectively different principles for each variation. The concept crystallised while composing and developed further. “I knew that I wanted to compose miniatures, short variation movements. I first wrote the 5th variation. Then I realised that I did not want to begin in such a machine-like manner, and therefore did something rather unrestricted as a contrast. One consequently affected the other. And from such relativities, many interrelations arose.”

Christian Henking very often works at the desk, and composes in his head. In order to stimulate his imagination, he often plays piano or cello. “While improvising, I often get ideas, very simple. That is my old-fashioned vein; I am really rather far away from the computer when I compose, I actually write the notes by hand onto the score sheet.” This also includes that he plays all instruments of his scores himself one time. “I like to have the instrument in my fingers. Not in order to hear its sound – I am a pianist, not a string player – but to play the fingerings, sounds and bow positions myself. Strangely, it helps me compose when I apply the haptics in this context even if it was not necessary; it provides me with a kind of grounding.”

Christian Henking selected the combination of strings trio with flute on the one hand because he wanted a small instrumentation so that no conductor was needed. He does, on the other hand, mainly find this instrumentation fascinating. “I have a close relationship with string trios per se. And then the flute joins in, as a kind of outsider, and melts with the sound of the trio.”

You must not expect a “typical Henking composition”. He rather sees “the task of a composer to look at each piece as if it was new, since as a composer, you are always a beginner”. Christian Henking has even started from scratch for each of his variations within the piece and consciously worked with different approaches and techniques: “This is what makes up the art of composing”. To start from scratch also signified to have a heap of possibilities ahead of oneself. Facing so many freedoms, one would have to reflect. He then also sees the risk to select and use a means or a method too quickly because it has worked in one place and has already been tried and tested before. “Routine is a risk and I fight against this with each note.”

During the conversation at the end of January 2020, the composition process had already been mostly concluded. “Everything is here now”, explains Christian Henking and points to numerous score sheets. “I will rethink everything again so that it is possible I apply corrections and other alterations.” Then, however, the composition will be finished into the last detail. Compared to other works, Christian Henking does not grant the performers any freedoms here.

Christian Henking was born in Basel in 1961. He studied music theory at the Conservatory Berne under Theo Hirsbrunner; Ewald Körner trained him to be a chapel master. After that, he studied composition with Cristobal Halffter and Edison Denisov, in master courses with Wolfgang Rihm and Heinz Holliger. He received various awards, among them the Culture Award of the Bürgi-Willert-Stiftung (2000), Acknowledgment Award of the Canton Berne (2002) and the Music Award of the Canton Berne (2016). He is a lecturer at the University of the Arts, Bern, for composition, theoretical subjects and chamber music. www.christianhenking.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, is Kaspar Zehnder who has 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 are available for listening at radio SRF 2 Kultur in the programme “Neue Musik im Konzert” (5 May 2021, 9pm) and will be released on the platform Neo.mx3. The project will also be documented online via the SUISAblog and the social media channels of SUISA.

www.murtenclassics.ch

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In his composition for the project “Swiss Beethoven reflections”, Christian Henking uses the melody of the Swiss song used by Beethoven as a basis. In his six variations, he utilises different principles. Text by guest author Markus Ganz; Video by Manu Leuenberger

Christian Henking respects Ludwig van Beethoven, “this monument, this granite rock in music history”. “He is a master teacher to me again and again, independent of the aesthetics; fantastic what he has formally achieved.” As a consequence, Beethoven’s “Variationen über ein Schweizerlied” (Variations on a Swiss song) irritated him even more, as he explains in a conversation at the end of January 2020. “I really don’t understand them, thought, it wasn’t possible that they were by Beethoven.”

Since the composer from Biel and Berne could not relate to these variations, he...read more