Musique & Neige Anecdotes

by Jean and Solange Lugrin Wacker

Temple of Vers-l'Church versus English chapel of Les Diablerets ?

Since the beginning of the Festival, the concerts took place in Vers-l'Eglise. Unfortunately, it was necessary to choose between the music composed by geniuses and interpreted by brilliant musicians and the noise of a heating system whose effectiveness was however quite debatable. It was therefore decided to give the concerts in Les Diablerets. The access to the chapel for people with reduced mobility as well as the raising and lowering of a 354 kilogram Steinway were risky. These risks have disappeared with the change of the heating system in the temple. One must also admit that the charm and acoustics of the place are incomparable.

Quartetto Italiano - 1980

The moment looks exceptional. The Catholic church (we played there too) is almost too full. The cashier is radiant. Espace 2 has installed its microphones, the concert is broadcasted live on l'Heure musicale. In the hall, the pianist Nikita Magaloff has come from Château-d'Oex in a Vespa 400. How did he manage to get into this tiny car and, above all, how did he get out of it?

5:05 pm, the announcer announces: "Sorry, but the concert will not take place". The horror!

The Quartet then gave only one concert and disbanded.



The rehearsal is about to begin. The cellist has forgotten his mute.

Solange Lugrin goes immediately in search of a wooden clothespin.

Phew, the trick is done!


Munich Sextet - 1992

After the concert at the Lugrin's, the members of the Sextet enter the chalet. Ana Chumachenko sees the instruments in the living room.

- You're going to play us something!

Faced with these great performers, we are not going to make fools of ourselves.

At the end of the meal, Ana insists. Marcello Fagioni is at the piano, Thierry Waelli at the saxophone, Jean Lugrin at the drums, Wolfgang Melhorn, the cellist, takes the double bass and Oscar Lysy has taken his viola.

As we leave, Ana takes our hands: Thank you for the music! To cry...


Prague Trio - 1994

The English chapel has no dressing rooms. After the rehearsal, the musicians change in the hall. The photographer enters just as the musicians are bare-chested. The pianist quickly puts on his bow tie and settles at the piano. The moment is immortalized!


Christian Gavillet, baritone and Paul Coker, pianist - 1994

After-concert at the Lugrin's, as usual. Thierry Waelli's spaghetti is excellent. Electricity failure! We light a candle. Paul Coker rushes to the old Steinway and plays ... the Moonlight Sonata!


Trio Wyss-Oleg-Guye - 1995

The English chapel is crowded; the members of the trio are settled. We can hear noises coming from the ice rink. The musicians are waiting and Raphaël Oleg announces: - I would still like to know who is going to score the goal!

Recital by Mihaela Ursuleasa, pianist, winner of the Clara Haskil Competition - 1998

A few concerts earlier, another pianist was complaining (very rare in MN!), the piano was out of tune. The instrument supplier had warned us beforehand. She came in with a horrible red dress and she played very badly. On the other hand, Mihaela, a few sizes above, asked, at the end of her rehearsal, if there was a place where she could retire.

- Poor thing, there is only one other room, it is the boiler room and there is just a stool.

- It is perfect! she retorted. Mihaela played very well.

I Salonisti "Titanic" - 1999

For the thirty years of the Festival, a Great Friend offered a fireworks display. The concert took place at the Maison des Congrès.

A lady asked: - in case of bad weather, how will it work?

- We'll have the fireworks inside the hall!


String quartet L'Estrée and Hiroko Sakagami, piano - 2000

At this concert, we notice a listener who has a birthmark on his scalp, the same as a certain Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev. It's not a look-alike, it's him!


Not cinema!

A few concerts later, a man is sitting in the front row of the gallery. My English-speaking neighbor said to me: - he looks like Keanu Reeves. But no, Dear Madam, it's really him! Yes...


Georg Nigl, baritone, Gérard Wyss, piano, Sir Peter Ustinov and Patrick Lapp, recitalists - 2003

Sir Peter has difficulties to move. He is supported by Thierry Waelli. They enter the temple by the side door; Sir Peter sits on the bench of the first row and during a moment, he plays the organ. Physically affected, but his head is fine!


Exhibition of Agape's sculptures in ASD freight cars "The Exodus" - 2003

One hundred and fifty characters migrate in four cars completely rebuilt by PWC volunteers. Some visitors leave with tears in their eyes!


Werner Güra, tenor, accompanied on piano by Jan Schultsz - 2003

Werner Güra, great tenor, but distracted, forgot his suspenders. It is the president who will have to hold his own pants in his hand, fortunately not during the concert!


Ladies of Song - 2004

Tonight, last concert of the European tour. The Ladies of Song are welcomed in Aigle by members of the committee. The lounge car "Chez Rose" is already set up in Les Diablerets; the TPC want to be sure that it will be warm enough. What consideration! A snack is served to these ladies by a justice of the peace and a judge at the Court of Human Rights. Did they realize it? It snowed all night, now the sky is blue, what a sight!

Arrived near the House of Congress, big fights in the snow. Fastest way to make blacks, all white! This is not valid for the musical notes...



Brigitte Fournier, soprano and Gérard Wyss, piano - 2004

Before entering the temple, Brigitte says to Gerard, squinting: - if I do like that, it is that I do not know any more where I am!



Joking President

During a piano recital in the temple, all seats on the left are reserved.

A lady insists; she wants to see the pianist's hands.

- Listen Madam, the pianist plays on a left-handed piano!



January 1st concert at the Maison des Congrès - 2007

Among others, two men are tap dancing. They are only world champions: the Surbeck brothers!



The pioneering Musique & Neige Festival - 2007

Gérard Wyss, pianist, brings us two promising young musicians: Patricia Kopachinskaya, violinist and Sol Gabetta, cellist.

If the second one is extremely affectionate, the first one is dressed with a very beautiful red dress, but it is necessary to admit that the shoes are not adapted. We will know only afterwards that Patricia always plays barefoot!

Ebene Quartet - 2008

The weather on this Saturday is very sunny. The four musicians arrive from Paris: - It's a dream! The two violinists want to go cross-country skiing. Ouch, it's the first time! Hired equipment, Solange Wacker makes the loop with them. So much laughter, in spite of some falls fortunately without gravity: - If we did not have a concert this evening, we would make a loop!

40th edition of the Festival - a great moment : The Soldier's Story - 2009

It is well worth an exhibition, especially since both the author Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz and the composer Igor Stravinsky stayed in Les Diablerets; the latter composed on the workbench of the carpenter who rented him the chalet.

For the exhibition, it was necessary to meet Ramuz' daughter. An appointment was made; she received the guests in jeans and lipstick. Not all ladies in their nineties are so coquettish!

- My cleaning lady is here; I am obliged to receive you in my father's office.

What a discovery. One has the feeling that the author of our History has just gone out to smoke a cigarette and that he will reappear. No, without his black cape, because it is hanging on a nail of the office! We have just learned that this office will be maintained in the Maison de la Muette in Pully.


Tradition at Musique & Neige

At the end of the concerts, we don't offer bouquets of flowers that clutter the luggage, but a jar of honey from here ... or Bitter Diablerets!