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Why Would You Need A Glockenspiel?

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I've just noticed that Bath Abbey had a Glockenspeil installed last year:

 

"Glockenspiel added, mounted out of sight at the top of the case, on electric

action with a compass from tenor C to top D, playable either on the Solo, or on

the Pedals via Solo to Pedal coupler, albeit an octave higher - i.e. 4' pitch

covering the whole pedal compass;"

 

What's it for? Do I need one? What repertoire that deserves a hearing needs it?

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I've played two proper organs with glocks on, the Bath one you mention and Hereford Cathedral; and one electronic.

 

I have an arrangement of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the repertoire, and it didn't work on either, so for my recital in Hereford a few years ago, didn't bother with it.

 

However, last year, knowing that it hadn't been in long, I was determined to give it a little bit of an outing in Bath. It is a little louder than the Hereford one, and the sound is more akin to that of a tubular bell. So I found an outlet in an arrangment of Venus from the Planets (by Arthur Wills). On the last page, there is a place you can just do the crotchet C Bb G F for two bars. I was pleased with the outcome, just a splash of colour, and not too much of it.

 

Do you need one? Well, depends what you already have. The last instrument I held a position on, I would have rather had a louder solo reed, and a 32' on the pedal, but that's perhaps not to everyones taste.

 

What could you use it for? Well, odd bits of (presumably mainly) transcription repertoire, or as I did on a toaster in a well known cathedral about 10 years ago, splash a bit of colour in relevant verses in psalms. I was much younger then, so I may readily admit I perhaps overused it in my excitiement at havinf a new toy!! There are chimes called for in a number of Lemare original pieces (and also in his cheesy Encore Series of transcriptions), and the one in Bath (IMHO) is robust enough to take some of the Chime parts in that music.

 

THere is also a Dover published volume that specifically has pieces in it with Chime parts.

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Peter King uses the Bath one (mostly) very tastefully on numerous occasions and on some of his recent recordings on the Klais.

 

A

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Didn't JSB specify that one be should added to the Pedal division at Mulhausen?

Yes, the rebuild was to include 26 bells of 4' pitch, but the document goes out of its way to state that it was the parishioners who had asked for them.

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Yes, the rebuild was to include 26 bells of 4' pitch, but the document goes out of its way to state that it was the parishioners who had asked for them.

Thanks, Vox. Can we infer from this document that JSB disapproved of the proposal, or is the evidence inconclusive either way?

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The Birmingham Town Hall organ has bells. They are most effective in the room and can be heard on a more recent recording. They are tuned so they can be used in pieces. A welcome come back for what is a wonderful musical instrument.

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Thanks, Vox. Can we infer from this document that JSB disapproved of the proposal, or is the evidence inconclusive either way?

Bach's memorandum states that the bells requested by the parishioners were to be bought by them and would then be installed by the organ builder. I think that it was probably the financing issue that led to the parishioners being mentioned. Nevertheless we are left with the clear inference that the bells were their idea, not Bach's. What he himself actually thought about it we can't really tell.

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Guest drd

The previous (i.e. next prior to the instrument now in situ) at Portsmouth RC Cathedral had a set of "Chimes" and "Chimes mute" on the Choir, installed by Manders.

 

I seem to recall that, if for no other purpose, they received a good outing every time the Schubert Ave Maria featured at a wedding!

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Well as far as 17th century is concerned, a glockenspiel was a fairly common feature of large organs. It would be used in celebratory music eg a Pedal Glock could be used to great effect in Bach's In dir ist Freude [Orgelbuchlein].... :rolleyes:

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I was still at Bath when it was installed, and remember PK's notice explaining how it worked (either on the Solo from tenor C or on the Pedals over the whole compass at 4' pitch, via Solo to Pedal coupler) and instructing users not to play it until after the service of Evensong at which the stop was duly "consecrated."

 

He used it for the ostinato pedal figure in Bach "In dir ist Freude;" it also appears (as mentioned) on the more recent recordings from Bath: "Organ Lollipops" including the Morandi "Bell-Rondo" and "Homage to Handel" including Karg-Elert's eponymous work.

 

It came in handy in all sorts of things: I used it in Bach Fugues (for instance, at the last statement of the subject in BWV 542) as well as in Bob Chilcott's "Sun Dance" and even in Messiaen's "Banquet Celeste." Marcus Sealy tried using it, very effectively, in Vierne's "Carillon de Westminster." James Scott (one of the Vergers and now Deputy Organist of Bath Abbey) used it for the second subject in Lefebure-Wely's Sortie in E flat - brought the house down! - and David Briggs made some use of it in the Bath Bach Festival whilst improvising a four movement symphony on themes by Bach. I never got to use it at Christmas, having departed for Kendal by then, but I'm sure it comes in handy thenabouts...

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Nicolas Lebegue, "Les Cloches". Piet Kee made effective use of the two sets of bells when playing this on his recording at Weingarten.

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The Birmingham Town Hall organ has bells. They are most effective in the room and can be heard on a more recent recording. They are tuned so they can be used in pieces. A welcome come back for what is a wonderful musical instrument.

 

Could anyone please tell me the title/number of the "more recent recording" mentioned in Jonathan's post. I know it is not "Restored to Glory" (Trotter) because a tiny print footnote indicates the Bells had not been installed at the time the CD was recorded. The only other CD of which I am aware is the Dupre disc with Van Oosten , which I have but do not recall hearing them unless possibly at the end of Cortege and Litanie. I would hate to think that there is a CD recorded on an English Town Hall organ missing from my collection!!

 

Brian Childs

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