Over the weekend 420 Swiss alphorn players performed a concert in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo. The concert was the largest of it’s kind performed outside Switzerland and will be submitted to the Guinness book of records, according to a post by the Swiss Pavilion of the 2015 Expo in Milan.
According to Swissinfo.ch the group performed the “William Tell Overture” the “Gotthard” and the “Marignano”, a song inspired by the 1515 battle of Marignano.
The battle of Marignano is considered by many to mark the beginning of Swiss neutrality. It was fought near Milan 500 years ago in September 1515 between the French – there to defend the Milanese, and the Swiss who controlled the region. The French side, commanded by the newly crowned 21-year-old French king Francois I, crushed the Swiss army, ending a long string of Swiss victories. It was the last time the Swiss Confederacy went to war with either France or Milan. While the Swiss continued to fight after this date the battle is considered by a number of historians to be the turning point in the Swiss shift to neutrality.
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According to the Nendaz Alphorn Group the alphorn was used to herd livestock and communicate from one valley to another. With a tail wind its sound can travel up to 10 kilometres.