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René Gerber (Composer, Arranger)

Born: June 29, 1908 - Travers (Neuchâtel), Switzerland
Died: November 21, 2006

The Swiss composer, René Gerber, was born in Travers (Neuchâtel), and from 1919 onwards he lived in Peseux. Following his compulsory education he studied at the 'Gymnase cantonal de Neuchâtel' where he completed his undergraduate education. In 1929 he studied at the University of Zürich's medical faculty and at Zürich Conservatory under the tutelage of Volkmar Andreae for composition and Paul Müller for counterpoint. He then attended the 'l'Ecole Normale de musique de Paris' where studied with Paul Dukas, Nadia Boulanger, Robert Siohan and Pierre Dupont.

From 1940 until 1947 René Gerber was engaged as a professor for music at the 'Collège latin à Neuchâtel'. From 1947 until 1951 he was Director of the 'Conservatoire de musique de Neuchâtel' which he later left in order to free himself from composition and dedicate himself to his art gallery and his literary work. He lived in Bevaix since 1959.

His musical work is simultaneously tonal and modal with reminiscent polytonality. For the works which he himself calls 'spontanées' he makes use of traditional musical forms such as the suite, sonata, concerto and fugue etc.. whereas for the works he derives from a specific source he uses free forms.


Suite (1931) for flute, violoncello and harp
Concerto No 1 (1931) for harp and orchestra (2(incl.small fl)
Sonate (1932) for harp solo
Concerto (1932) for clarinet and orchestra (
Suite (1933) for flute and piano
Concerto No 1 (1933) for piano and orchestra (2(incl.small fl).2(
Suite (1933) for string quartet, flute and wood-block
|Suite (1933) for 2 flutes, 2 clarinets and bassoon
Quatuor à cordes No 1 (1933) I. Allegretto
Trois vieux Noëls (1933) for mixed choir
Hommage à Ronsard (1933) for orchestra (2(incl.small fl).1.obdam.2.2/
Aucassin et Nicolette (1933) for orchestra (2(incl.small fl)
Suite française No 1 (1933) for orchestra (2(incl.small fl)
Six divertissements (1933) 1st notebook for children for piano
Douze divertissements (1933) for piano
Thème et variations (1933) for four-handed piano
Concerto (1934) for flute and orchestra (1(small fl)
Quatuor à cordes No 2 (1934)
Trois chonsons berrichonnes (1934) for mixed choir
Trois Noëls bourguignons (1934) for two-part children's choir, flute, oboe, trumpet-c, double bass, organ
Six chants de terroir (1934) for mixed choir
Suite française No 2 (1934) for orchestra (
Six sonatines du terroir parisien (1934) for piano
Sonate No 1 (1934) for two pianos
Six chansons populaires françaises (1935) for mixed choir, soli, clarinet-c, piano, wood-block, glockenspiel, claquette, cymbal
Prélude et Fugue sur le nom de Bach (1935) for clarinet solo
Pièce brève (1935) for 2 flutes
Concertino (1935) for wind instruments (, piano and percussion
Vingt et un Noël français (1935) for mixed choir, children's choir, soli (SABar), fl, ob, tpt-c, hn-f, organ (Texts: Bernard de la Monnoye)
Concertino (1936) for flute, viola and piano
Les Heures de France (1937) for orchestra (3(1 small fl, galoubet if possible).2(1obdam) to a).bcl.3(1cbn)/
Concertino (1937) for trumpet, saxophone and piano
Trois chants (1938) for soprano, piano, and cymbal
Fantaisie sur un air de Bach (1938) for piano
Six divertissements (1938) 2nd notebook for children for four-handed piano
Six divertissements (1938) 3rd notebook for children for piano
Six divertissements (1938) 4th notebook for children for piano
Concerto (1935-1939) for bassoon and orchestra (
Ritornello (1939) for violin and piano|
Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (1939) German carol for altos and organ
Concerto (1939) for trumpet and orchestra (2(2.small fl).2(
Suite (1939) for two pianos
Pièces pour piano seul (1er cahier) (1938-1940)
Berceuse (1940) for clarinet and piano

Pavane (1941) for 3 trumpets and organ
Quatuor à cordes No 3 (String Quartet N3) (1941)
Trois Psaumes (1941) for mixed choir, 3 trumpets, children's choir and organ
Trois chants (1941) for mezzo soprano or baritone, piano and 2 percussion instruments (Texts: Gonzague de Reynold)
Concerto (1941) for violin and orchesra (1small fl.2.2(2.obdam)
Sonate No 2 (1941) for two pianos
Trois paysages de Breughel (1942) for orchestra (2.small fl(and 3. fl) to convert to d). 2.1.bcl.3/
Pièce lente (1942) for clarinet and piano
Habanera (1942) for clarinet and harp
Cinq Impressions (1942) for voice, wind orchestra (, 2 harps and percussion
The sung passages are to be performed with preference to the female voice, the spoken parts by the male
Aubade (1942) for brass (small bgl-Eb, 2 bgl-Bb, 2 pistons-Bb, 3 horns-Eb, 2 trombones-Bb, 2 baritones Bb, 1 bass Eb) and two percussion (gong, bass drum, timpani, clapper board)
Danses anglaises (1942) for two pianos
Triptyque (1943) for organ
Ballet (1943) for flute and piano
Sonate (1943) for violin and piano
Le Terroir animé (1944) for orchestra (1small
Trois danses espagnoles (1944) for orchestra (
Nativité (1944) for large orchestra (
Une page d'histoire (1944) for male choir After Veit-Weber (The Battle of Morat).
Concertino (1944) for trumpet (saxophone), violin, violoncello and piano
Valse lente (1944) for two pianos
Trio (1944) for violin, violoncello and piano (Interpreters: Ensemble Chamäleon)
Suite (1944) for slide trombone and piano
12 chants en 2 recueils (1937-1945) for voice and piano 1st anthology
Suite française No 3 (1945) for orchestra (1(small fl)
Le Sablier (1945) for orchestra (2(incl.small fl).2( and a peaking voice. The narration is not evident in the centre of the scene, it will preferably be a member of the orchestra who remains in his/her seat. (The text is extracted from Larousse.)
Concertino (1945) for piano and string orchestra
Sonate (1945) for violoncello and piano
Sarabande (1945) for violoncello and piano
Sonatine (1945) for three clarinets
Sonate (1945) for flute and piano
Concertino (1946) for flute, clarinet, trombone and piano
Trois Noëls (1946) for soprano with piano [=org], violin and trumpet
Marche franco-suisse (1946) for four-handed piano
Intermezzo (1947) for trumpet and piano
Le Tombeau de Nicolas Grigny (1947) for trumpet, violin and organ
Quatuor à cordes No 4 (String Quartet N4) (1947)
Hymne pour le mariage (1947) for mixed a-cappella choir (Text by Marc Eigeldinger, after the Song of Songs)
Sonate (1948) for trumpet and piano
Suite (1948) for flute, oboe and piano
Sonate (1948) for saxophone and piano
Petit concert (1948) for chamber orchestra (
Vingt-quatre Noëls de tous pays (1948) for mixed choir, children's choir, soli (SABar), fl, cl, tpt-c, 2vn, vc, org, perc
Pièces pour piano seul (2me cahier) (1939-1949)
Concert (1949) for 12 wind instruments ( and piano
Symphonietta No 1 en la majeur (1949) for string orchestra
Trois Minnesingerlieder (1949) for mezzo soprano and piano
Tout l'univers (1950) for 3-part female choir (Texts: Jean Racine)
Voici le jour solennel (1950) - French carol for three female voices

Pièces pour piano seul (3me cahier) (1941-1951)
L'imagier médiéval (1952) for orchestra (3(incl.small fl).2(2.obdam).ca.2.bcl.3/
Concertino (1954) for clarinet and string orchestra (There exists an alternative version for clarinet and chamber orchestra (2fl.2ob.2bn/tpt.2hn/per ad lib.) (1975)
Pièces pour piano seul (4me cahier) (1945-1955)
Laïs Corinthiaca (1957) for chamber orchestra (
Concert en mi bémol (1959) for orchestra (
Suite brévinière (1960) for instrumental ensemble (

Roméo et Juliette (1957-1961) - Opera in four acts after Shakespeare (Texts: René Gerber). Distribution: 2fl(1 small fl) obdam).ebcl.2hbcl(being able to convert to a).hbbcl (changing to a in the 3rd act).2bn/2tpt-c.4hn-f.3tbn.tba/ electronic equivelant/str perc: tam.little bells.bdm.cym.small cym.tri.claquette.fell tom.timp(d major, d#, g, ab, a, hb, h, c, c#, d, eb, f major).timp(snare dm, bass dm). vib.gong.xyl.2fers souples(different).4 wood blocks (high, medium I, medium II, deep).iron sticks(iron plate). metal mat(on the bass dm).bell in hb. three performers 15 actors and six-part choir for the finish of the first act
Concertino (1962) for oboe, trumpet in c, violin, violoncello, harp, four-handed piano and 2 percussion
Pavane (1963) for flute and piano
Sonatine (1965) for hunting horn and piano
Le Tombeau de Botticelli (1967) for choir and 11 instrumentalists (
Symphonietta No 2 en ré majeur (1968) for string orchestra
Pièces pour piano seul (5me cahier) (1940-1968)
Concerto No 2 (1969) for harp and orchestra (
Concerto No 2 (1966-1970) for piano and orchestra (2(incl.small fl)
Six variations sur un thème romantique (1970) for clarinet solo
Morceau de lecture à vue (1970) for clarinet
Morceau de lecture à vue (1970) for violin
Le Moulin de la Galette (1970) for orchestra (1small à piston-a.3.3.1/4perc/pf/str)
Huit marches françaises (1970) for piano

Pièces pour piano seul (6me cahier) (1937-1973)
Trois visions espagnoles (1973) for voice, 5 wind instruments (, piano and 2 percussion (Texte: René Gerber, extracted from the volume 150 Sonnets)
Concerto (1975-1976) for English horn and orchestra (
Concerto (1977) for two pianos and orchestra (2(incl.small fl).2(
Trois poèmes de la Renaissance (1977) for baritone or contralto, violin, violoncello and piano
L'Ecole de Fontainebleau (1978-1979) for large orchestra (
Petite Suite (1979) for piano

Le Songe d'une nuit d'été (1978-1981) - Opéra-féerie in 4 acts and a prologue after Shakespeare (Texts: René Gerber). Distribution: 2fl(1 small fl).2ob(1ca).2cl.bcl.2bn(1cbn)/2tpt.4hn.3tbn.tba/2hp/str; Percussion: vib.little bells.large cym.small with and without snares.wood block.fell tom tom (high, middel, deep).bass dm.ratchet.tri.temple block.4timp with two musicians; 23 actors
Les Oiseaux de la nuit (1981) for mixed choir and percussion (ad lib.)
Concert en la (1983) for chamber orchestra (1.2(incl.1ca).1.2/
Concerto (1983) for high trumpet, strings and two percussion instruments
Marche (1983) for trumpet and piano
Concert en si mineur (1984) for chamber orchestra (2.2.2(incl.small cl).2/
Concertino (1984) for two clarinets and bassoon
Divertissement (1985) for flute, saxophone and piano
Sylvie et le paon (1985) for speaking voice, singing voice, flute, oboe(ca), clarinet, horn, violin, violoncello, harp and 2 percussion (Texts: Mousse Boulanger)
The old farmer's almanac (1986) for large orchestra (3(incl.small fl).3( cl.2.bcl.3sx.3/
Divertissement (1986) for clarinet, violoncello and piano
Concertino (1987) for piano, string orchestra and 2 percussion instruments
Deux chants romantiques (1987) for soprano solo and piano
Avril (1988) for five voice soloists (Texts: Ronsard)
Trois poèmes (1988) for soprano, violin, violoncello and piano (Texts: René Gerber)
Prélude de fête (1988) for four-handed piano
Valse (1989) for flute and piano
Concertino (1990) for 4 bassoons

Epithalame (1991) for flute and organ
A Terpsichore (1991) for clarinet ensemble
Quatuor à cordes No 5 (String Quartet N5) (1994)
Quatuor à cordes No 6 (String Quartet N6) (1994)
Pastorale (1997) for 3 clarinets and bass clarinet
Concert en ré (4eme Concert) (1998) for chamber orchestra (1(small fl).1(ca).1.1/
Suite française No. 4 (1998) for chamber orchestra (2(incl.small fl).2(ca).2.2/
Suite française No. 5 (1999) for chamber orchestra (2(incl.small fl)
Fête (2000) for 2 trumpets (in c), 2 trombones and organ
Sonatine (2001) for four-handed piano

Source: Musinfo - The Database of Swiss Music Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2011)

René Gerber: Short Biography | Piano Transcriptions: Works | Recordings | Other Arrangements/Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

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Gerber René (Musinfo)




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