Regamey, Constantin

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Regamey, Constantin

Regamey, Constantin , Swiss pianist and composer; b. Kiev (of a Swiss father and a Russian mother), Jan. 28, 1907; d. Lausanne, Dec. 27, 1982. He went to Poland in 1920 and took piano lessons with Turczyriski (1921–25), then turned to linguistics and took courses in Sanskrit at the Univ. of Warsaw and later at L’École des Hautes Études in Paris, graduating in 1936. Returning to Poland, he taught Sanskrit at the Univ. of Warsaw (1937–39); concurrently he ed. periodicals on contemporary music. He was interned by the Germans during World War II, but managed to escape to Switzerland in 1944. He received an appointment to teach Slavic and oriental languages at the Univ. of Lausanne; also gave courses in Indo-European linguistics at the Univ. of Fribourg. However, he did not abandon his musical activities; he served as co-ed, of the Revue Musicale de Suisse Romande (1954–62); was president of the Assn. of Swiss Composers (1963–68) and a member of the executive board of the ISCM (1969–73). In 1978 he became partially paralyzed; he dictated the last pages of his last work, Visions, to Jean Balissat, a fellow composer, who also orchestrated the work. As a composer, he adopted free serial methods, without a doctrinaire adherence to formal dodecaphony. In 1963 he moderated his modernity and wrote music using free, often composite, techniques.


DRAMATIC: Don Robott, opera (1970); Mio, mein Mio, fairy tale opera, after Bacilli and Lindgren (1973). ORCH.: Variazioni e tema (1948); Music for Strings (1953); Autographe for Chamber Orch. (1962–66); 4x5, concerto for 4 Quintets (Basel, May 28, 1964); Lila, double concerto for Violin, Cello, and Chamber Orch. (1976). CHAMBER: Quintet for Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1944); String Quartet (1948). VOCAL: 7) chansons persanes for Baritone and Chamber Orch., after Omar Khayyam (1942); 5 études for Woman’s Voice and Orch. (1955–56); 5 poèmes de Jean Tardieu for Chorus (1962); Symphonie des Incantations for Soprano, Baritone, and Orch. (1967); 3 Lieder des Clowns for Baritone and Orch. (1968; from the opera Don Robott); Unidentity and Infinity for Silent Narrator, Woman’s Voice, and an unidentified number of Instruments (1969); Alpha, cantata for Tenor and Orch., to a Hindu text (1970); Visions for Baritone, Chorus, Orch., and Organ, after the life of the prophet Daniel (1978–79; orchestrated by J. Balissat).


Musique du XXe siècle: Présentation de 80 oeuvres pour orchestre de chambre (Lausanne and Paris, 1966).


H. Jaccard, Initiation à la musique contemporaine: Trois compositeurs vaudois: Raffaele d’Alessandro, C. R., Julien-François Zbinden (Lausanne, 1955).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire