Wisc Swiss music

From Joe Salmons on Facebook a few days ago, this arresting photo of celebratory alpenhorns indoors:


Two things: the occasion and the instruments.

The event. The announcement:

Sound Salon with Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey (Archeophone Records), Deb Krauss Smith, and James P. Leary

[11/17/18, Wayside Dining Room, University Club, Madison WI]

Join us for this lively CD release party featuring the Grammy award-winning owners of Archeophone Records Meagan Hennessey and Richard Martin and folklorist and Professor Emeritus James P. Leary, with special musical guests Director of the Monroe Swiss

(Co-sponsored by the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies, Mills Music Library, and the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture.)

The CD. From the Archeophone Records site:


Alpine Dreaming: The Helvetia Records Story, 1920-1924 (various artists)

In 1920 Ferdinand Ingold, a poor but visionary Swiss settler in the small Wisconsin town of Monroe [“the Swiss Cheese Capital of the USA” and the county seat of Green County WI], audaciously launched a record label, Helvetia — invoking his homeland’s ancient name and celebrating its musical heritage. Praised in the immigrant press yet beset by fiscal challenges, Helvetia issued a scant 36 sides. Scattered, scarce, and nearly forgotten, Ingold’s entire catalog, newly restored and remastered, is offered here. Rollicking and somber, sentimental and lusty, these Swiss, German, and Tyrolean tunes and songs feature virtuoso instrumental combos, vocal quartets, and especially yodelers from Swiss communities in New Jersey, Ohio, and Wisconsin. A 60-page booklet by folklorist Jim Leary, richly illustrated with rare images, offers extensive background on the label, performers, and each track, along with bilingual lyrics unlocked by a team of translators tackling dialectical challenges. Illuminating one of the first American record labels established by an immigrant for his own community, Alpine Dreaming both recalls a bygone era and resonates with all who seek better New World lives while remembering their homelands. Produced in cooperation with the Mills Music Library and the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. List price: $27.99

The instrument. From Wikipedia:

(#3) From my 10/17/16 posting “Zwickys of New York: Chuck the mixmaster”, in a section on Sugarcreek OH and the Ohio Swiss Festival

The alphorn or alpenhorn or alpine horn is a labrophone, consisting of a straight several-meter-long wooden natural horn of conical bore, with a wooden cup-shaped mouthpiece. It is used by mountain dwellers in the Swiss Alps, Austrian Alps, Bavarian Alps in Germany, French Alps, and elsewhere. Similar wooden horns were used for communication in most mountainous regions of Europe, from the Alps to the Carpathians. Alphorns are today used as musical instruments.

… Swiss naturalist Conrad Gesner used the words lituum alpinum for the first known detailed description of the alphorn in his De raris et admirandis herbis in 1555. The oldest known document using the German word Alphornis a page from a 1527 account book from the former Cistercian abbey St. Urban near Pfaffnau mentioning the payment of two Batzen for an itinerant alphorn player from the Valais.

… The well-known “Ranz des Vaches” [‘Call to the Cows’] is a traditional Swiss melody often heard on the alphorn. The song describes the time of bringing the cows to the high country at cheese making time. Rossini introduced the “Ranz des Vaches” into his masterpiece William Tell, along with many other delightful melodies scattered throughout the opera in vocal and instrumental parts that are well-suited to the alphorn. Brahms wrote to Clara Schumann that the inspiration for the dramatic entry of the horn in the introduction to the last movement of his First Symphony was an alphorn melody he heard while vacationing in the Rigi area of Switzerland.

… The alphorn is prominently featured in television advertisements for Ricola cough drops, which are manufactured in Switzerland.

(#4) The Rossini (used in animated cartoons to indicate daybreak, and often associated with Bugs Bunny)

(#5) The Brahms: James Levine conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

(#6) 1992 Ricola commercial

(#7) 1997 Ricola commercial

Bonus. The recording of “Sah En Knab’ Ein Roeslein Steh’n” (‘Once a boy saw a little rose standing’) by a mixed quartet on Helvetia Records:

(#8) A Swiss version of the Goethe/Werner song

From Wikipedia:

“Heidenröslein” or “Heideröslein” (“Rose on the Heath” or “Little Rose of the Field”) is a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, published in 1799. It was written in 1771 during Goethe’s stay in Strasbourg when he was in love with Friederike Brion, to whom the poem is addressed.

Set to music by many composers. The 1829 setting by Heinrich Werner became a popular folk song.

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