Albert Moeschinger (1897-1985)


This edition mainly spotlights Albert Moeschinger's work "Clementi Hütte". It also comprises other works of this extremly gifted Swiss composer such as the "Morgenstern Lieder", "Three Folk Songs" and his "Wind Quintet". The performers are the Chamber Orchestra La Strimpellata, the Vocal Ensemble Cantemus, pianist Hansjürg Kuhn, speaker Michael Schacht and Tenorist Hans-Jürg Rickenbacher.

This content was published on January 14, 2008 - 10:39

Albert Moeschinger

Albert Moeschinger is considered one of the most gifted Swiss composers of the 20th century. His hometown Basel, where he was born, regards itself as melting-pot of various cultural influences due to sharing borders with Germany and France. This geographical position between different cultures may help to explain Moeschineger's life-long odyssey through the flourishing diversity of contemporary music styles.

Moeschinger's beginnings as a composer were phenomenal. He studied music in Berne, Leipzig and Munich between 1917 and 1923. But with respect to the traditional educational system he viewed himself as an "unteachable" autodidact. In fact he learned his craft in practice, by attending concerts and studying the scores by composers who were important to him. The unbelievable vitality, technical skill and profound inspiration of his early works clearly demonstrate here was a extremely gifted composer. By that he also succeeded in breaking out of the middle-class life that his father had planned for him as a banker.
"All of my music is inspired by some aspect of tradition, but I have never employed forms in a historical aspect...I discovered conceptual similarities in the past which I juxtaposed with my own comositions." This statement demostrates best his life-long wary and cautious position between neo-classical (such as Stravinky, for whom Moeschinger had high respect) and dodecaphonic composers.

Later, after his return from Germany in 1923, Moeschinger found a position as a teacher at the Berne Conservatory. In 1943, after a serious operation he had to abandon urban life, and spent his long remainig years in Saas Fee, Ascona and Thun (where he died in 1985).

The "Clementi cabin" work shows the composer's humorous and bucolic side. As his contribution to the festivities marking Berne conservatory move to its new quarters in 1940, Moeschinger created an imaginary mountain cabin on the top floor of the building. He defined it as the "Clementi Cabin, 3000 meters above sea level". There he placed a visitor's book in which the great composers of the past four centuries had written something during their visits to the cabin. Moeschinger himself wrote 27 entries. All of them featured in this edition here. His idea was to spotlight the most famous personalities in the history of music in a sort of musical review and parody. The musical visiting cards he created testify to his profound knowledge and respect of his musical predecessors.

The "Wind Quintet on Swiss Folk Songs, op. 53", was commissioned by Radio Berne in 1941. The request to write something typically "Swiss" was related to the "psychological" defense of the country during Second World War.
For Moeschinger, Switzerland's rich repertoire of folk songs never had the same importance as a source of creative inspiration as Hungarian folk songs did for Béla Bartók. But their use in this case was the most obvious and direct solution.

The arrangement of the well-known love song "S' isch äben e Mönsch uf Aerde" and of the Swiss alpine song "Un uf der Wält si kener Lüt" testify to the care and sensitivity with which Moeschinger treated folk songs.

Hansjürg Kuhn

Hansjürg Kuhn is a native of Berne. He studied piano, choral conducting, chamber music and song accompaniment at the Conservatory of Berne, at the Music Academy in Vienna and in Geneva. He can primarily be heard as a chamber musician and a song accompanist in concert, in radio broadcasts, and on recordings.

Michael Schacht

Michael Schacht studied at the State school of Drama in Frankfurt. He has performed on the stage in Germany and Switzerland. He has appeared in a number of Swiss film productions and works besides as a freelance actor.

Hans-Jürg Rickenbacher

Hans-Jürg Rickenbacher was born in Biel/Bienne in 1967. He studied at the Music Academy in Basel. He earned his concert diploma for voice in studies with Wally Staempfli. Rickenbacher performs a repertoire from Monteverdi to contemporary music.

Chamber Orchestra La Strimpellata

The Swiss ensemble La Strimpellata (from Berne) has earned recognition for the diversity of its repertoire over the course of the past ten years. The ensemble never ceased to surprise audiences with innovative programmes. In addition to its own concert series, the ensemble is a regular guest at various festivals. La Strimpellata produced the widely praised CD "Crossings" featuring the music of Azerbaijani composer Frangis Alizade for the BIS label.

Vocal Ensemble Cantemus

Conductor Helene Ringgenberg founded the Berne Vocal Ensemble Cantemus in 1979. The focus of its repertoire is centered on the madrigal. Another focus is this of contemporary music. For years the ensemble has promoted and performed the music of Albert Moeschinger.

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