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Mesmerising Landwehr Orchestra in Jaipur

To celebrate the 150th Birth Anniversary of the Father of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi, 70 years of Friendship treaty between Switzerland and India (signed on August 14, 1948) and the 70th Foundation year of Clarks Group of Hotels, the troupe performed immersive and enriching pieces in Hotel Clarks Amer on October 19 in the presence of the prominent citizens of Jaipur and the President & Financial Minister of the State of Freiburg – Georges Godel. Landwehr of Fribourg is the certified concert and marching band of the canton and city of Fribourg. With a strong legacy starting in the year 1804, the orchestra is constantly expanding new musical horizons. They have been able to develop their ensemble into a world-class orchestra.

The musicians are united by harmony and friendship. The band has performed in numerous countries and has travelled across the world captivating the audience with their world-class music. One of the remarkable features of the band is that the musicians wear the same uniform worn by the troops of Fribourg since 1858. This, however, stands in contrast to their futuristic music meant to inspire the listener. The works of the wind orchestra display a wide spectrum of performances ranging from descriptive pieces to street music.

The Orchestra presented a glimpse into one of the oldest musical traditions of the entire Fribourgh canton and region. The comprehensive 80 piece band was formed in the early 1800s and has been in concert ever since 1804. The band holds many coveted distinctions and was the first international musical corps to participate in the large Columbus Day Parade on New York’s Fifth Avenue. The band has also been the guest of honour at an audience with Pope John-Paul II.

The evening at the Clarks was part of Landwehr’s India Tour (from 14th to 25th October 2018, playing in New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Mumbai) that has emerged as a result of an Indian-Swedish Government program where the continued cultural exchange between the two nations is taking place. Having performed in New Delhi, the distinguished musicians performed in Clarks Amer and the subsequent day at the Albert Hall in Jaipur.

The repertoire of the program included Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare (composed by Richard Strauss on the occasion of the first Vienna Philharmonic Ball), Harlequin (composed by Franco Cesarini), The Lonely Maid (Thomas Ruedi’s iconic melancholy Swiss composition), Armenian and Yiddish Dances, music from the soundtracks of Slumdog Millionaire and Lawrence of Arabia and the finale of William Tell’s Opera. The highlight of the evening though was a special composition called ‘Impressions of India’, composed by the conductor of the Landwehr Orchestra, Benedikt Hayoz. The aim of this composition was to combine the sound of a symphonic wind orchestra with Indian music tradition and the graceful movements of Swiss Kathak dancer Gauri Priscilla Brulhart. Beginning with a qawwali (played on Landwehr Orchestra’s wind instruments), the high and bright sounds condensed in a complex tihai, following by gatnikas demonstrating the chaal of a peacock. The final crescendo was a jugalbandi between the Kathak danseuse and the orchestra.

The people of Fribourg have traditionally been singers and musicians, and the members of the Landwehr share that heritage. Under the direction of Benedikt Hayoz, the wind orchestra focused on performing an extensive and varied repertoire. Works ranging from spectacular descriptive pieces to street music allow the musicians to showcase the entire spectrum of their technical and expressive skills. Throughout the year, it entertains audiences both in Switzerland and abroad.

Mr Alain Deschenaux, President, Music of Landwehr, said, “Landwehr of Fribourg, is globally acknowledged and the orchestra with over 90 musicians creates an experience second to none. What is most notable is that we are largely a peace orchestra.”

After its performance in Jaipur, the troupe then proceeded to enthral audiences in Mumbai.

As a tireless patron of the Arts, Clarks Amer and its management including Timmie and Apurv Kumar have always tried to bring unique and enriching experiences to their beloved city. Regularly hosting and organizing Art Events, Animal Welfare Summits and Music Festivals such as the extremely popular Tablu Music Festival; the Landwehr Orchestra’s performance was one of the hotel’s most culturally refined presentations and one that they are grateful to be able to share with the group’s regular Business Associates, Partners & long-term Vendors as well as imminent, culturally-active citizens from civil society.

 

Text and images by Aarti Kapur Singh

 

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