Performing Arts, particularly music can be really impactful. Music has no language, no religion or colour, and no boundaries and narrow walls that we have built around us can hold it back. Live Orchestra shows are living testimony to this. You feel hypnotised and glued to your seats when they start their flourishes from the clarinets and build up the excitement.
The Landwehr Orchestra from Fribourg, Switzerland dating back to 1804 mesmerises their audiences when they start playing and fill the air with their harmonies. And they are here in India to commemorate 70 grandeur years of the Swiss–India Friendship treaty and will be performing live at premiere Arts centers across India. As part of the noble cause to help out the Fundraising for Kerala Flood relief and Cancer affected Children, they recently performed at the iconic Clarks Amer in Jaipur. They also performed at the Albert Hall in Jaipur and move on to Mumbai for more performances.
We were fortunate enough to attend one of these performances at the Clarks Amer in Jaipur as part of Landwehr’s India Tour. The current tour is part of an Indian-Swedish Government program where continued cultural exchange between the two nations will take place.
The performance of Landwehr at Jaipur:
Under the direction of Benedikt Hayoz, the wind orchestra presented an extensive and varied repertoire. Works ranging from spectacular descriptive pieces to street music made the ambiance hypnotic at the convention hall at the Clarks Amer. To celebrate the India tour 2018, the Landwehr created a unique musical piece where sound of symphonic wind orchestra was combined with Indian music and dance tradition.
The surprise of the evening was the Kathak Dance performance by Ms Gauri (Priscilla Brulhart), a Swiss Kathak dancer. Gauri is Swiss born and lived in India for eight years and learned Kathak from Pt. Ravi Shankar Mishra. She belongs to Benaras gharana and performs kathak in India and Europe and spreads Indian cultural heritage.
This fabulous fusion work of the orchestra and the kathak performance left everybody spellbound.
About Landwehr :
Landwehr, or Landeswehr, is a German term used to refer national armies, or militias during the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century in Europe. It practically denotes a large-scale, low-strength fortification.
Landwehr was founded in 1804 and given the name, “Corp franc”. During that period as per Napoleon Bonaparte’s act of Mediation, all the cantons were required to create military contingents to be accompanied by musical corps and the musicians strode across battle fields issuing orders, exalting the troops and intimidating enemies. This military component was the historical foundation of Landwehr.
Landwehr is today controlled by Conseil d’Etat and It no longer plays a role in the battles and wars, but in promotion music first and the foremost.
The Landwehr is the official music of the canton and city of Fribourg. Since its first concerts in 1804, today they have a team of 90 young musicians who share the heritage and carry forward the tradition with them. Music has been the lifeline of the people of Fribourg who have traditionally been singers and musicians.
Landwehr runs its own music school (EML – Ecole de Musique Landwehr) to give to very young talents, who are too young for an conservatory education, a basic education. Landwehr is the ambassador of Fribourg throughout the world. It gives dignity and grandeur to formal and historical events and enthuse audiences in the most prestigious halls.
As an official ensemble, it adds extra life to the religious ceremonies and historical events that are characteristic for the region: Receptions for Federal Councillors returning home after their election, swearing-in ceremonies for senior cantonal political authorities, funerals for significant Fribourg personalities, to name a few examples.
Outside Europe, it has performed in Iran, Japan, China, the USA, Canada, Argentina and Australia. It travelled to Croatia to bring a peaceful note during wartime. The Landwehr was the first international musical corps to participate in the large Columbus Day Parade on New York’s Fifth Avenue. The band was also the guest of honour at an audience with Pope John-Paul II, the musicians of the Guardia degli Carabinieri and the Pontifical Swiss Guard. The Landwehr also took part in the festivities to mark the 700th anniversary of the founding of the Principality of Monaco, during which it was decorated by Prince Rainier III.
This world class orchestra is constantly expanding new musical horizons. In order to ensure that this can continue, it trains the musicians of tomorrow in its musical schools. They have developed their ensemble into a world class orchestra. As amateur musicians, they are brought together by harmony and friendship. Their uniforms are the same as borne by Fribourg troops in 1858 which recall the richness of their past.