Luxembourgish composer René Hemmer passed away, September 9. Born in Luxembourg in 1919, he studied music at the Luxembourg Conservatory. At the age of 20 he joined the Military Band, where he played the trumpet and the cello, and subsequently became the deputy director. In addition, he taught at the Music School in Pétange and at the Luxembourg Conservatory. He founded and conducted the Chamber Orchestra of Luxembourg which consisted almost entirely of amateur musicians.

Almost all symphonic works by René Hemmer have been played and recorded by the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. René Hemmer’s compositions have been played in many European countries such as Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Pole, Turkey and England and broadcasted by Radio RTL and RTBF, Radio Zurich and Innsbruck, by the Swedish Radio in Stockholm and by the Radio University of Florida.

According to the music publicist Guy Wagner Hemmer was one of the first to open himself to new musical trends and aesthetics, and in particular to serial music. « By consistently taking one of the most difficult paths and refusing concessions, he has profoundly experienced the alienation of the general public. » Wagners calls him a « solitary pioneer ».

Among Hemmer’s most important works are Scenes for 15 instruments (1963), the Third Symphony, Novarum Rerum Cupidus, the Sinfonia da Camera, the concertino for trumpet and orchestra Nomquereine (1971), and Une Vie d’Homme, a triptych which is the expression of the composer’s existential experiences and metaphysical questions about a man, his suffering, his hopes, his resignation.

Wagner says: « René Hemmer’s refusal to follow any fashion and his constant demand that his creative approach should only write works that reflect his honesty and human skepticism, too human, are finally reflected in the purest way in his chamber music, of which the quartet Fugace comme le vent et la vague (1984) is one of the jewels. »

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