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Das Schatzkästlein «Musikdorf Ernen»

Es ist ja nicht so, dass man der vielen sommerlichen Musikveranstaltungen überdrüssig wäre, die in unserem Land nach wie vor aus dem Boden spriessen, als würde es bald einmal verboten. Das letzte Beispiel ist wohl Andermatt. Das Bedürfnis ist da und ein interessiertes Publikum pilgert jedes Jahr vorwiegend in die Berge, um sich musikalisch aufzutanken. Die renommierten und finanziell gut betuchten Festivals trumpfen mit grossen Namen auf, bringen Qualität auf höchstem Niveau. Aber das gilt eben auch für die kleineren, die mit bescheidenem Budget stets zur Hochform auflaufen. Dazu gehört ohne Zweifel das «Musikdorf Ernen».

Ein denkwürdiger Abend im Musikdorf Ernen!

Im Rahmen des Orchesterkonzerts vom 30. Juli 2019 wurde dem Verein Musikdorf Ernen vom Staatsrat des Kantons Wallis der «Kultur- und Wirtschaftspreis 2019» verliehen. Mit im Publikum waren zahlreiche politischen Würdenträgerinnen und Würdenträger des Kantons sowie der Gemeinde Ernen.

Der Zauberer und die Verführerin

Wenn in Ernen um 18 Uhr von Westen her die Sonnenstrahlen die heiligen vier Damen auf der linken Seite in der Pfarrkirche St. Georg noch goldener erscheinen lassen als sonst, und wenn am Flügel dem Pianisten der Takt ins rechte Bein schiesst und sich die Ferse ohne Anstrengung auf und ab bewegt, dann ist nicht Barockmusik angesagt, sondern Jazz. Ein Crossover-Ensemble mit einer klassischen Sopranstimme.

Literarische Grenzüberschreitungen oder eine Hommage an Madame Nielsen und ihren endlosen Sommer

Das Festival Musikdorf Ernen, ein Musikfestival, das alljährlich im Walliser Bergdorf Ernen, inmitten idyllischer Natur, besonders aber in seinem geschichtsträchtigen Dorfbild,

Notations: A Seasoned Musicologist Speaks

To the Musikdorf Ernen’s tremendous advantage, the renowned German musicologist Wolfgang Rathert has become something of a “permanent fixture” during the festival’s annual “Piano” week.

Notes from a lay naturalist

From high above Ernen’s neighboring village of Mühlebach, the hike down from the lovely Chäserstadt may not be one for wobbly knees, but it certainly stands its ground for beauty.

Profiling Claire Huangci, pianist

The second concert of the Musikdorf Ernen’s celebrated “Piano” week featured the dynamo American pianist Claire Huangci, winner of the prestigious Géza-Anda Foundation competition (2018). Claire kindly took time out of her pre-concert schedule to talk with me for this blog post.

Andreas Zurbriggen, Composer in Residence 2019

Earlier this year, the Festival Musikdorf Ernen appointed Andreas Zurbriggen its Composer in Residence 2019. The première of his “Zweisamkeiten”—a work for 4-handed piano commissioned by the festival—is slated for performance on August 3 as part of the chamber concert (Kammerkonzert) series.

Zur frohen Aussicht — All Eyes on the Visual Arts

Curated this year by Josiane Imhasly for the third time, Ernen’s annual “Zur frohen Aussicht” summer exhibition takes prizes for originality and imagination. As a series of installations around the village, the featured artworks are defined by, or clearly consider, their relationship to their inhabited space, neighboring buildings and/or landscape. Some explore new tactile materials; others examine questions of modern perception. The duration of its summer run from 7 July to 29 September means that visitors to Ernen can discover eight artistic positions, each one backed by a clearly defined purpose and rationale.

Dreisamkeiten

Dynamische Interpretationen und filigranes Zusammenspiel: Das Trio Gaon gab im Rahmen von «Kammermusik kompakt» sein Debüt in Ernen und beeindruckte durch die Leichtigkeit, mit welcher es den Konzertmarathon zu einem Kaleidoskop an Klangwelten verwandelte.

Kulturelle Glanzlichter im Wallis: ein neuer Kulturführer

«Seitensprünge für Kulturliebhaber*Innen» ist ein wahrer Ideenstrauss für Besuchmöglichkeiten im faszinierenden Kanton Wallis.

The «Newcomers» program: Ernen welcomes the winners!

The motto of the 2018 Musikdorf Ernen’s festival, «On the move», is one that refers both to the individual concert program offer, and to the profile of the festival itself. Artistic Director Francesco Walter has said that the organizers strive to steadily «keep moving» so that guests will be able to enjoy something novel in the festival every year. That said, the music village will—for the first time this coming fall—welcome the winners of the Orpheus Swiss Chamber Music Competition in concerts with varied repertoires. The prestigious «Orpheus» was founded in 1974 to support young, talented chamber music ensembles at the beginning of their professional careers. To date, close to 300 prize-winners have benefited from its support, and many have gone on to international acclaim.

One’s political zeal, another’s lavish table: The Jost-Sigristen House Museum

One day last week, the Head of the Ernen Tourist Office, Irene Clausen, kindly took me on a special tour of the handsome Jost-Sigristen House Museum, a house that proudly stands smack in the middle of Ernen.

An interview with architect Pascal Abgottspon

An interview with architect Pascal Abgottspon, site manager for the restoration of the St. Georg parish church in Ernen

SMArt: Between culture and sustainable development

What better way to see and connect with the work of one fine photographer than to visit it with another? Here in Ernen, select images by the Mongolian photographer Tamir Bayarsaikhan (born 1985) are being shown through September in his first solo exhibition, «Shadow on Us.» I shared a viewing of it with Bernard Brand, the affable South African who is this year’s official photographer for Musikdorf Ernen. 

«Meer sollte er heissen»

Mit Chorwerken aus verschiedenen Epochen eröffnete der SOLAND Chor die Reihe «Kammermusik plus» hier im Musikdorf Ernen.

Eternal spheres, sublime cello: The first of the Festival’s choirs

Contemporary as well as classical compositions belong to the repertoire of the fine SOLAND choir. Its members confidently venture into the modern genre as readily as they tackle the classical vocal repertoire. And inasmuch as the choir is interested in the art of developing sound, it engages professionals and newcomers alike in joint performances.

Unique grape varieties, a distinctive USP: Chanton wines

Lucky for us, it’s all in the family. Back in 1944, Oskar Chanton launched a wine enterprise in the community of nearby Visp that would specialize in wines indigenous to that hardy mountain region. When the elder Chanton retired, his son Josef-Marie—known as «Chosy»— took over the helm. And in 2008, he, too, passed over responsibilities for the enterprise to his son, Mario. Now in the third generation, Mario continues the Chanton tradition of growing rare grapes with pioneer drive and commitment.

Prison, rack, stake, or gallows: The Zendenrathaus and witch hunts in Ernen

The Zendenrathaus in Ernen is an imposing, solitary three-story building on the east side of the so called “Hengert,” which roughly translates to “village square.” There’s an uncanny resemblance between the Swiss-German word—for a place to catch up on the news out of doors—to the English “hang out”, meaning to meet up and speak with friends in a casual way. Miracles in language never cease!

Food for the soul: A proliferation of flowers

One has to marvel at the lush garden plots that seem to dot much of the landscape between here in Ernen and the neighboring village of Mühlebach. In them, the visitor will see vegetables and grains, fruits and salad greens, but also a remarkable proliferation of flowers: cornflower blue next to the yellowy chamomile, parsley and hyssop next to lavender and sage. These are the plots of the Bergland production, whose produce is grown according to the stringent criteria of biodynamic cultivation.

A treasure in Niederernen, and insights from Binn

«Pray to St. Anthony!» Not being Catholic myself, it was thanks to dear Mrs. Simonato, the Italian woman who helped us with the children when I went back to work, that I knew the appeal. If a homework assignment was missing, if a book had been misplaced, she called on St. Anthony’s graces to find it. And imagine; here, in nearby Niederernen, was a little pilgrimage chapel that carried his name and made a wholly inviting impression. I just had to visit it.

The best of Baroque and Beaumont

Tuesday evening marked the fourth of this year’s Baroque concert series, one traditionally performed in front of the magnificent high altar (1758-61) of Ernen’s parish church of St. Georg.

From the gorge to the gallows: a casual ramble

Anyone who returns to Ernen year after year invariably notices that in the town’s infrastructure is forever being improved, that the area’s cultural and historical highlights are increasingly being given their due. Efforts to enrich the visitor’s experience are many, in no small part because of the support of the Landschaftspark Binntal, the umbrella organization whose commitment to sustainable tourism has been cited as exemplary by visitors and experts alike.  

A Dance Film and Jazz Sound Join Forces

As much a joint venture as it was pioneer project, a dance film and jazz concert recently celebrated its world première for the large audience in the Ernen town hall. It tapped the creative energies of two artists who shared neither age group nor genre, nationality nor history, but whose talents merged to make a memorable performance.

Quand on dit que la musique adoucit les mœurs…

Aujourd’hui, la programmation musicale des orchestres et des festivals est surtout dictée par les conventions et par les impératifs financiers. À l’affiche, on trouve, à côté du nom des sponsors, les noms d’une vingtaine de compositeurs, nés grosso modo entre 1770 et 1870. Le résultat ? Une vision extrêmement étriquée de la musique, un appauvrissement de la vie culturelle, une démotivation croissante des interprètes.

„It’s more complicated than that!“

Literaturseminar im Festival Musikdorf Ernen: Viel mehr als die Summe seiner Teile!

Sally Beamish: Composer, Violist, and Mistress of Multitasking

One of Musikdorf Ernen’s artists this season is the highly sought-after and equally personable British composer and violist, Sally Beamish.

The Sepp Blatter Foundation awards a substantial prize

The Sepp Blatter Foundation recently awarded a sum of CHF 25,000 to the Musikfdorf Ernen in acknowledgement of its efforts, achievements, and the enormously positive resonance of its annual festival has spurred. “As if pennies from Heaven!” confessed Francesco Walter, Artistic Director of the Musikdorf Ernen Festival, describing his initial reaction to news of the generous prize.

Alasdair Beatson – der Virtuose am Flügel

Er kommt aus Schottland, meinem Lieblingsland. Sein leicht gekräuseltes hellbraunes Haar ist ganz leicht nach vorne ins Gesicht gekämmt – so schien es mir – wie bei Komponisten oder feinen Herren aus dem 19. Jahrhundert, die sich oft auf Stichen festhalten liessen – mit steifen Stehkrägen, die ein Nicken verunmöglicht hatten. Von Ohr zu Ohr ein halbkurzer Bart gleicher Farbe wie das Haar, auf dem Hinterkopf der Ansatz einer Glatze, wie bei Mönchen aus dem Mittelalter. Seine schwarze Jacke und die Hose umhüllen leger seinen Körper, die Füsse stecken in dezent blauen Socken, die in dunklen Schuhen – eine Mischung aus Turn- und Strassenschuhen – halb verborgen bleiben.

Chef Klaus Leuenberger: The Same Kind of Cooking, but Better

Klaus Leuenberger, formerly chef at the Restaurant St Georg on the Dorfplatz, has taken over the helm at the ErnerGarten in the village’s all-new Generationshaus. I asked him to share his story.