The graphic worlds of the composer Hermann Meier
Is a research assistant at the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, where she is also responsible for the archives of Hermann Meier.
Studied musicology, art history and media studies in Fribourg (Switzerland). She is a freelance journalist and is writing a doctoral thesis about Hermann Meier.
Works as a musicologist at the Bern University of the Arts HKB and as a freelance writer. His research areas are the music of the 20th century, microtonality, experimental music theatre, and Robert Walser.
2017. 224 pp., ca 130 colour illustrations. Paperback, CHF 48.00 / EUR 48.00
Published in October 2017.
The composer Hermann Meier (1906–2002) from Solothurn pursued visionary musical ideas in his works. In the 1950s, he set himself free from the usual practices of the avant-garde. With his large-scale graphic composition plans, he conjured up notions of a “Mondrian music” instead, of “architectonics with rectangles”. His works were hardly ever played during his lifetime, but Meier is today being discovered as one of the most significant representatives of the avant-garde in Switzerland. In tandem with an exhibition of his works in the Solothurn Art Gallery, this first book about Meier is now being published.
Although he worked in the remote village of Zullwil in the “Schwarzbubenland” region in the east of Canton Solothurn, Hermann Meier followed contemporary artistic trends with great interest. Taking his own version of serial theory as his starting point, he set himself free of melodic procedures in the 1950s, working instead with hard blocks of sound. In his old age, he composed only electronic works for many years. What remained unchanged, however, was his highly visual working method. Meier created large-scale, graphic composition plans that he then “set to music” in a second step in his composition process. His work thus offers insightful analogies for scholarly debates about the music of the 20th century and about graphic notation.
This is the first documentary volume about Meier’s work. Besides twelve essays, it also includes numerous illustrations, a work catalogue and a detailed inventory of the sources in his archives. This publication thus serves as a “handbook” for Hermann Meier and offers an insight into a hitherto neglected chapter of Swiss music history.
Heidy Zimmermann: “Koordinatensysteme musikalischer Gedanken” (“Coordinate systems of musical ideas”).
David Magnus: “Ästhetische Operativität. Über die Verbindung von Klang und Bild in der musikalischen Notation” (“Aesthetic operativity. On the link between sound and image in musical notation”).
Pascal Decroupet: “Klangmorphologien, Strukturbeziehungen und Übersichtsdiagramme. Zur Rolle der bildhaften und grafischen Skizzen bei seriellen und postseriellen Komponisten” (“Sound morphologies, structural relationships and overview diagrams. On the role of pictorial and graphic sketches for serial and post-serial composers”).
Jörg Jewanski: “Musik nach Bildern oder Musik wie Bilder. Beziehungen zwischen Musik und Malerei im 20. Jahrhundert” (“Music after images or music like images. Relationships between music and painting in the 20th century”).
Doris Lanz: “‘Versuchen Sie Brasilia in ein Musikstück zu verwandeln’. Zur Rolle des Visuellen in Wladimir Vogels Werk/Œuvre und Lehrtätigkeit” (“‘Try and turn Brasilia into a piece of music’. On the role of the visual in Wladimir Vogel’s oeuvre and his teaching”).
Roman Brotbeck: “‘Das kleine Hänschen’ Hermann Meier. Die Schweizer Wladimir-Vogel-Schüler im Vergleich” (“Hermann Meier, ‘Little Hans’. Wladimir Vogel’s Swiss students in comparison”).
Michel Roth: “‘Grosse Wand ohne Bilder’. Sämtliche Orchesterwerke von Hermann Meier, ein Leseprotokoll” (“‘A large wall without pictures’. The complete orchestral works of Hermann Meier. A reading log”).
Christoph Haffter: “‘… alles unerbittlich zerreissen!’ Das Ideal der aufgehobenen Zeit in Hermann Meiers Orchesterwerken der 1960er-Jahre” (“‘… tear everything up, relentlessly!’ The ideal of cancelled time in Hermann Meier’s orchestral works of the 1960s”).
Marc Kilchenmann: “Die Rolle der grafischen Pläne im Kompositionsprozess bei Hermann Meier” (“The role of graphic plans in Hermann Meier’s compositional process”).
Michelle Ziegler: “‘Ich glaube nicht mehr, dass ich mit gewöhnlichen Instrumenten weiterfahren kann’. Hermann Meiers Klaviermusik an der Schwelle zur Elektronik” (“‘I don’t believe that I can continue with normal instruments any more’. Hermann Meier’s piano music on the cusp of electronics”).
Michael Harenberg: “Flächen – Strukturen – Schichtungen. Zu den technischen Bedingungen der elektronischen Musik Hermann Meiers” (“Surfaces – structures – layers. On the technical requirements of Hermann Meier’s electronic music”).
Michelle Ziegler, in conversation with the pianists Gilles Grimaître and Dominik Blum: “Das Gebäude muss zum Klingen gebracht warden” (“The building must be made to resound”).
Pictures from the Exhibition Mondrian-Music
at the Art Gallery in Solothurn
28th of October 2017 - 4th of February 2018
Other events during the exhibition
Saturday, 28 October 2017
5 p.m., opening reception in the Solothurn Art Gallery
7.30 p.m., Orchestra concert with the Biel-Solothurn Symphony Orchestra in the Franciscan Church in Solothurn
Saturday, 4 November 2017, 4 p.m.
Public guided tour with a short concert
Tuesday, 14 November 2017, 12.15 p.m.
Wednesday, 22 November 2017, 2 – 5 p.m.
Kids’ club “listening with your eyes”, for children aged 7 – 12, with Claudia Leimer, art communicator.
Saturday, 2 December 2017 from 1:30 p.m.
Concert day “Music after pictures”
Solothurn Concert Hall
Four short concerts, a brief introduction and a CD launch, with Dominik Blum.
Works by Hermann Meier, Earle Brown and Morton Feldman
Sunday, 17 December 2017, 11 a.m.
Public guided tour with a short concert
Subject to change without notice