The Swiss made history today when 420 musicians gathered at the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, Italy, for the largest-ever alphorn concert performed outside of Switzerland.
The event was preceded by a smaller performance earlier in the day with 200 alphorn players at the Expo Milano 2015external link Swiss pavilion.
At the Piazza, specially appointed witnesses counted each musician for the event's inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The alphorn players, accompanied by drummers and flag-bearers, performed the famous “William Tell Overture”, as well as new pieces “Marignano”, and “Gotthard”.
As the song titles suggest, the purpose of the event was to commemorate three significant milestones: 500 years of Swiss neutrality since the country fought in the 1515 battle of Marignano in Milan; 200 years since the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations in 1815; and the inauguration of the world’s longest railway tunnel, the new 57 km Gotthard tunnel, due to open next year.
Swiss defence minister Ueli Maurer also attended the event.
The Milan Expo runs from May 1 to October 31 2015. The theme, “Feeding the planet – energy for life”, focuses on addressing world hunger in the context of environmental sustainability, and 20 million attendees are expected to visit overall. Sixty countries have built pavilions at the Expo, including Switzerland, with its humorously dubbed “Confooderatio Helveticaexternal link”.
swissinfo.ch and agencies