The Musical Tradition of Basel
17 July 2022
Basel has a musical tradition of many centuries. The music theory and compositions of Bonifacius Amerbach (1495-1562), including the Codex Amerbach, were famous in the sixteenth century.
This homo universalis was also an art collector, jurist, humanist and above all, a friend and contemporary of Erasmus of Rotterdam (1469-1536), who lived, worked, published and finally died in Basel.
Hans Holbein the Younger (1496-1543), Bonifacius Amerbach, 1519. Collection Kunstmuseum Basel. Foto/Photo: TES
The Amerbach Collection is the first unofficial museum in the world. In 1661, the city of Basel made this extensive collection accessible to the public. In the 19th century, this collection gave rise to the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Musikmuseum and the Antikenmuseum Basel.
Music is in Basel’s DNA
Basel is a city of music, as is evident not only from the many orchestras, choirs and other ensembles but also from the extensive musical training of its inhabitants. Around 10,000 inhabitants play the piccolo and many more the tambourine or other instruments from an early age.
Musical education for children remains of a high standard. It is no coincidence that the innovative chamber orchestra was founded in Basel in 1926.
The Fasnacht (the Basler Carnival)or a wine festival, for example, the Fête des Vignerons in Vevey, combines music, dancing, vocal art, masquerade and choreography. The Fauteuil Theatre and the Charivari Association are well known in Basel and Switzerland.
The Basel Tattoo
The Basel Tattoo is part of this tradition. This originally military gathering of army bands is enriched in Basel by dancing, singing and dialogue with the audience. The praise of the cow in the song Le Ranz des Vaches is not absent either. In Switzerland, the farmer and his cows are held in high esteem, even in the cities.
The Tattoo, the Fête des Vignerons and the Carnival also have a joyful and relaxed atmosphere without serious incidents. From 18 July to 8 August 2019, more than a million visitors came to Vevey (canton of Vaud) to attend the performances in the temporary arena (with twenty thousand seats).
The visitors consumed a lot of wine late into the night, and in glasses, without significant problems or broken glasses. A carnival is a different event, but the proceedings are identical.
The Tattoo is also a festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. Below is an impression of the premiere on 15 July 2022 (©TES) and on 16 July.