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Text and music celebrate Charles Ferdinand Ramuz

Literature and music will join forces on Thursday when the Embassy of Switzerland will present Sur un Air de Ramuz (On a Ramuz Melody) as part of the Francophonie 2018 events.

Sur un Air de Ramuz, which will be performed at the ARTos Foundation in Nicosia, is about Charles Ferdinand Ramuz, a French-speaking Swiss writer who greatly changed the literary landscape of his country through his quest for a specific literary francophone language for Switzerland. It will be presented by Swiss baritone vocalist, writer and actor Sergio Belluz and pianist Ioana Primus. Through texts and music excerpts, both the uniqueness and the universality of Ramuz’ literary world will be presented as well as the musicality of his language found in so many of his adaptations of popular Russian folk tales for the composer Igor Stravinsky and in his poems set to music by conductor and composer Ernest Ansermet and composer Jean Binet.

Ramuz (1878-1947) was born in Lausanne and was educated at the University of Lausanne. He taught briefly in nearby Aubonne and then in Weimar, Germany. In 1903 he left for Paris and remained there until World War I, with frequent trips home to Switzerland. He said that it was through his collaboration with Russian composer Igor Stravinsky for the adaptation of popular Russian tales into French – Pribaoutki (Pleasant Songs, 1914), Renard (The Fox, 1916), Trois Histoires pour Enfants (Three Children Tales, 1917) or Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale, 1918) – that he found his true calling. “With you I was in close communication”, he wrote to Stravinsky, “in the search and the taste for authenticity.” Both the search and the authenticity are as present in their work on Russian and Swiss popular culture and myths as in their search for a musical and literary idiom able to convey their brutal beauty, their humanity and their universality.

After the 45-minute presentation in French with English surtitles, the ambassador of Switzerland will host a cocktail.

Sur un Air de Ramuz
A literary and musical evening with Sergio Belluz and Ioana Primus. March 22. ARTos Foundation, Nicosia. 8.30pm. Free. Tel: 22-445455

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