With its diverse influences, according to andyeducation, Swiss art music is also a reflection of the country’s eventful history. Its roots lie in the monasteries of the Middle Ages, where Gregorian chant, trope and sequence were cultivated. The musical center in the 8th century was the Benedictine monastery of St. Gallen (Notker Balbulus, Ekkehart I, Tutilo). The tradition of the Easter game was established there at the end of the 10th century. In the 12th century, St. Gallen ceded its leadership role to the monasteries of Einsiedeln and Engelberg (Engelberger Codices), which assimilated Germanic, Romanic and French style elements. Church music took off in the 13th century with the spread of spiritual games, the introduction of polyphony and the work of cantors at the cathedrals. At the same time, secular minnesong established itself, of which the Manessian manuscript is a living testimony.
With the Renaissance, music also found its way into Swiss musical life as a science. One of the leading scholars of this time was H. Glareanus, who revolutionized medieval music theory with his »Dodekachordon« (1547). The vocal music of the 15th and 16th centuries was decisively influenced by foreign composers (schools). The works of Cosmas Alder (* around 1497, † 1550) show the influence of the Franco-Flemish school, while L. Senfl, who is well-known beyond the national borders, used the polyphonic German song setting in his songs, masses and motets (tenor song). The Reformation meant a profound turning point for Swiss church music: During J. Calvin at least allowed unanimous unaccompanied church or psalms singing, H. Zwingli banned all singing from the service. Numerous organs also fell victim to this ascetic musical attitude through dismantling or destruction. Nevertheless, the simple chordal version of C. Goudimel’s psalm settings found its way into the Geneva Psalter. After the Reformation, church music only slowly flourished again, with new choir collections and a cultural dialogue with southern Germany on the Catholic side.
The founding of numerous collegia musica (e.g. in Zurich and Winterthur) led to a lively musical life in the 17th century, which offered a cross-section of (contemporary) European music history as well as the works of local composers. An early form of the operetta developed from the school drama in Central Switzerland. With the founding of the Swiss federal state in 1848, Swiss cultural life experienced a unique boom, which, however, apart from the amateur sector, was still mainly carried out by foreign artists. The Swiss Music Society, which was founded in 1808, organized large concerts and oratorios. contemporary composers from abroad like C. M. von Weber or R. Wagner attracted.
With the Eidgenössische Singerverein, founded by H. G. Nägeli in 1842, (male) choral singing also took off. Based on J. H. Pestalozzi, Nägeli also worked far beyond the country’s borders with his songs and music-pedagogical works. His pupil Franz Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee (* 1786, † 1868) carried his spirit to Frankfurt a. M., where he founded the Frankfurter Liederkranz in 1828; He was also a well-known glass harmonica virtuoso and stood with his compositions (especially numerous vocal works) on the threshold from the classical to the romantic. The songs and male choirs by F. T. Fröhlich, on the other hand, were firmly rooted in Romanticism. Among the Swiss musicians left behind F. Hegar as founder of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich as well as oratorio and male choir composer and the symphonist H. Huber left significant traces. By Johann Caspar Bachofen (* 1695, † 1755) comes one of the many “Brockes Passions” while Franz Joseph Leonti Meyer of Schauensee (* 1720, † 1789 the first Swiss operas composed (u. A. “The Engelberger Talhochzeit,” 1781). Johann Heinrich Egli (* 1742, † 1810) is valued above all as a song composer and J. J. Raff made a name for himself with an extensive body of work (including operas). A special Swiss genre, the festival emerged in 1886 based on opera, in which amateur musicians and performers present key events in Swiss history.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Swiss composers increasingly sought connection with (contemporary) European musical styles. Thus oriented H. Suter with his oratorio “Le laudi di San Francesco d’Assisi” at J. Brahms showed F. Klose works as late romantic influences as those V. Andreae and R. Oboussiers while H. Suter master operas by G. Verdi and G. Puccini were influenced; K. Huber’s work is essentially inspired by A. von Webern and, in his late work, by Arabic music and Albert Moeschinger (* 1897, † 1985) sought a synthesis of traditional and contemporary elements. Fritz Bruns (* 1878, † 1959) symphonic oeuvre, on the other hand, is based on A. Bruckner and above all on J. Brahms, while Paul Müller-Zürich (* 1898, † 1993) is considered a representative of the Neo-Baroque.
Among the leading Swiss composers of the 20th century are Ernest Bloch with his works inspired by the Jewish faith, A. Honegger, who stood out particularly through his operas and oratorios, F. Martin, who works with twelve-tone technique, and the song composer O. Schoeck. R. Liebermann was equally successful as an opera director and composer. combined jazz music with twelve-tone technique in his stage works. One of the most important Swiss twelve-tone composers is R. Kelterborn, who also experimented with serial techniques, aleatoric and free-tonal music. Played an important role as a conductor and journalistic opponent of the dodecaphony E. Ansermet. In contemporary Protestant church music, W. Burkhardin particular with the oratorios “Das Gesichte Isaajas” (1935) and “Das Jahr” (1940/41) and Adolf Brunner have emerged. On the Catholic side, Albert Jenny (* 1912, † 1992) had a pioneering role. rooted in Gregorian chant and the church modes. Left their own mark on contemporary Swiss music, among other things. also the German conductor H. Scherchen, who set up an electroacoustic studio in Gravesano in 1954 (successor: R. Liebermann), W. Vogel, who experimented with speaking choirs, and J. Wildberger, who worked with twelve-tone and serial techniques, the oboist and compositional »border crosser« H. Holliger, as well as É. Jaques-Dalcroze. Jacques Guyonnet (* 1933, † 2018) carried out research in the field of contemporary music with the Studio de Musique Contemporaine (Geneva), founded in 1959, and Pierre Mariétan (* 1935) as long-time director of the Laboratoire Acoustique et Musique Urbaine (Paris).
Contemporary Swiss music is characterized by a stylistic pluralism in which folk music elements can be found (C. Beck; Jean Hans August Daetwyler; * 1904, † 1994) as well as electroacoustic (Thomas Kessler [* 1937], Geneviève Calame [* 1946, † 1993]) and improvised music (Alfred Zimmerlin, * 1955) as well as sound experiments with Hans Ulrich Lehmann (* 1937, † 2013) and B. Furrer, who works in Austria. A cross-section through the diversity of styles of the 20th century can be found among others. in the work of A. Schibler. Exploring (new) forms of musical theater is the one that has emerged as an interpreter of contemporary music J. Wyttenbach and Michael Jarrell (* 1958) with his spoken opera »Kassandra« (1994; based on Christa Wolf); C. A. Delz works with a process known as “transcomposition” and Ulrich Gasser (* 1950) is best known for his music with sound stones.
The musical center of Switzerland is Zurich with an opera house, the Tonhalle Orchestra founded in 1868, important chamber orchestras, various festivals (including country music and jazz) and a street parade that has been taking place since 1992. Basel advanced since the 1950s z. B. through the Paul Sacher Foundation founded in 1986 (including research center for music of the 20th and 21st centuries) to a center for contemporary music, while Geneva is the home of the Orchester de la Suisse Romande, founded in 1918 by E. Ansermet. Forums for the interpretation of contemporary music are the “Ensemble Neue Horizonte Bern” (founded in 1968 by the composer Urs Peter Schneider, * 1939) and the “Days for New Music Zurich” (founded in 1986 by Gérard Zinsstag, * 1941)). In addition, a large number of other festivals enrich the cultural landscape, including the Verbier Festival in Vevey, the 1995 Opera Festival in Avenches and the Lucerne Festival.