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Portable Carillons


Niccolo
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A few months back while browsing Youtube, I stumbled across a video of a rather interesting Carillon player who goes by the name of Cast in Bronze, performing on a mobile Carillon named The Millennium Carillon.

 

 

I decided to take a look and see if there are any other videos of this Carillon, but what I found surprising is that their is a surprisingly large number of mobile Carillons around. And not only that but even some Carillon players who even have personal touring Carillons. Some examples i could find are Frank Steijns who's part of Andre Rieu's Orchestra, who has a modular Carillon. Another Carillon player is Koen Van Assche, who has a rather unique Carillon called the Bronzen Pianos. And Cast in Bronze, who has a Carillon mounted on a trailer.

It's hard to say how many mobile Carillons are out , but I find that whenever I search for them their is always a video of a Carillon that I haven't seen before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Niccolo changed the title to Mobile Carillons

There are two Carillons in Birmingham to my knowledge. One is the famous Bournville Carillion, the other is in the RC church of the Holy Rosary in Saltley. I was once invited to play them both - but, somehow, never got around to it!!

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An internet search returns the British Carillon Society saying there are 15 in UK http://www.britishcarillons.org/carillons-in-the-british-isles/

and Wikipedia gives 20 as follows of the 5 disrepancy, one is counted twice (Godalming / Parkgate). I've put the others in bold and followed the links for a couple and they look real. Perhaps the BCS one is out of date, some have become unusable or there's some definition criteria which makes them proper or improper. I guess they're not easily mislaid.

There are 20 carillons in the United Kingdom.

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15 or 20 Carillons feels like such a small number, but I guess considering that it is an instrument that can ring out across a whole city or town, you probably don't need so many of these instruments. Plus it's probably not the sort of instrument that has a high demand compared to the Organ.

But I am curious about the number of portable Carillons there are, and if any of the Carillon societies have an idea as to how many of these portable Carillons are out there?

I also recently came across several videos of a series of Carillon performances that have been held for various Nursing homes during the pandemic. The Carillon being used is very similar in design to the one Frank Steijns has.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Niccolo Morandi said:

15 or 20 Carillons feels like such a small number, but I guess considering that it is an instrument that can ring out across a whole city or town, you probably don't need so many of these instruments. Plus it's probably not the sort of instrument that has a high demand compared to the Organ.

By contrast there are said to be over 5,000 towers with bells hung for full circle ringing, the indigenous tradition.

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3 hours ago, Dafydd y Garreg Wen said:

By contrast there are said to be over 5,000 towers with bells hung for full circle ringing, the indigenous tradition.

Yes, that's a good point as to why there is such a small number of Carillons listed.

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My experience of Carillons only goes so far as my being a shortwave radio listener. When it used to broadcast both on shortwave and mediumwave the foreign language services of RNW (Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Hilversum, NL) used to use a tune played on a carillon as their sign on. It can be heard here, along with the carillon in question:

RNW is no longer on the air: it closed back in 2012 but was easily one of the best English-speaking stations in Europe. I considered it better than its BBC counterpart.

Dave

 

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  • Niccolo changed the title to Portable Carillons
  • 5 months later...

Hello everyone,

I know this thread hasn't been active in quite some time, but I thought would make some clarifications for interest. I am currently the secretary for the British Carillon Society: we (and indeed the World Carillon Federation) have a particular definition of what a carillon is:

  • 23 or more bells [unless a historic instrument]
  • connected to a baton clavier

with the assumption that it allows for some degree of dynamic/sensitive playing, and often includes a pedal board as well. So, some of the instruments mentioned here (e.g. Manchester) would not meet this definition, although they could certainly be adapted to do so (if anyone knows the right people!).

We would welcome all and any interest to learn more about carillons, and can help to point you toward contact(s) within your local area so that you might be able to have a go. Our website (britishcarillons.org) is the best place to start.

As per the number of mobile carillons, I would guess around 10 (off the top of my head): the WCF does have a list here, but I note that one appears twice and I believe Cast in Bronze #1 was stolen..

http://www.carillon.org/eng/fs_reizende.htm

This list also doesn't include 'semi-portable carillons' (ones that can be moved, but aren't frequently doing so at the moment), including the small instrument of the Royal School in Mechelen and the Crawford Memorial Carillon in Venice Beach, FL.

 Scott

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  • 4 months later...

I just read an interesting article about a portable carillon that was built by students at the Iowa State University. This carillon as you can see has a bell tower facade, complete with a working clock. And apparently this carillon is even equipped with an electronic display that's similar to the Game guitar Hero, which was done by student who specialise in electronics and software engineering.

NV1W.jpg.44984807e774b7c99332cae65eee3f2c.jpg

https://www.inside.iastate.edu/article/2019/10/31/model

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I really think that he best place for a carillon is in a tower as per normal bells.

I would be less than happy if one of my neighbours purchased one of these quirky contraptions; in much the same way as if one should install an organ ( !

I am happy to remain on my own with this opinion but to me they just sound like an overblown musical box.

Even a full  ring of bells tends to take on the sound of scaffolding falling off the back of a lorry and rolling down the hill.   I have in mind here the huge amount of metal swinging about in the tower of Liverpool Cathedral .

Despite my jaundiced views on the subject I am still interested in the history and manufacture of  bells generally, as well as these  " instruments " . 

 

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Some years ago, it must have been in August 2000, with my local organists’ association on a visit to Geneva led by the late, and sadly early deceased, Martin Hall, we had the experience of hearing Lionel Rogg as both organist and carillonneur.  The former was on the van den Heuvel at the Victoria Hall (Geneva named their principal concert hall in honour of the British Queen) and the carillon was the following day at St Peter’s Cathedral.  Our visit coincided with the late Queen Mother’s 100th birthday, and we were instructed by Lionel Rogg to assemble outside the cathedral at 12 noon. Punctually he appeared at a very great height emerging on the roof of the cathedral from a door and entering another in the tower.  He then played the British National Anthem and ‘Happy Birthday’, followed by combining them in an inverted fugue.  

Back to mobile carillons, not sure whether Adnosad would like it, but some time ago Musing Muso posted a video of a particularly complete, I thought rather impressive and substantial one (it would have required heavy lifting equipment to be portable), played with organ, trumpet and pan pipes - possibly from a Vienna Church.  I have been unable to track it down.  They played “Wien bleibt Wien”, a very catchy piece which the carillon seemed to suit well.

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20 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

Some years ago, it must have been in August 2000, with my local organists’ association on a visit to Geneva led by the late, and sadly early deceased, Martin Hall, we had the experience of hearing Lionel Rogg as both organist and carillonneur.  The former was on the van den Heuvel at the Victoria Hall (Geneva named their principal concert hall in honour of the British Queen) and the carillon was the following day at St Peter’s Cathedral.  Our visit coincided with the late Queen Mother’s 100th birthday, and we were instructed by Lionel Rogg to assemble outside the cathedral at 12 noon. Punctually he appeared at a very great height emerging on the roof of the cathedral from a door and entering another in the tower.  He then played the British National Anthem and ‘Happy Birthday’, followed by combining them in an inverted fugue.  

Back to mobile carillons, not sure whether Adnosad would like it, but some time ago Musing Muso posted a video of a particularly complete, I thought rather impressive and substantial one (it would have required heavy lifting equipment to be portable), played with organ, trumpet and pan pipes - possibly from a Vienna Church.  I have been unable to track it down.  They played “Wien bleibt Wien”, a very catchy piece which the carillon seemed to suit well.

Phew!   that was a close one in not being able to find the vid!

To prove I am not a complete Luddite with regard to these machines/instruments I have to say there is a very good one close to the Flower Market in  Amsterdam which when we last visited played a JSB Prelude quite nicely, even to my ears!

Just to add to the list of these devices there is one attached to the clock mechanism in the chapel at Eaton Hall. It works to the extent that quite a number of the pins are missing so the tunes are not recognizable.  Fortunately His Grace does not allow it to be operated.

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Adnosad said:

Just to add to the list of these devices there is one attached to the clock mechanism in the chapel at Eaton Hall …

There’s something similar at Winchester Cathedral, although I have only heard it once (in my now 80 years).  Back in the 1970s Raymond Daveluy from St Joseph’s Basilica Montreal gave a recital (incidentally, Martin Neary was somehow able to bring a host of international virtuoso recitalists to Winchester in that era) and, as a noted improviser, Daveluy was inevitably asked to extemporise.  He was given a theme by Anthony Caesar, and we had an impressive 10 minutes of wonderful varied interpretations and playing.  At the conclusion, the theme was repeated on the bells from the tower above.  The effect was magical! 

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Once in 80 years? That sounds often enough to me, Same could be said when it comes to visiting relations too!!

To get back on the subject ; the Eaton Hall  bells were actually cast by the Belgian foundry of Van Aerschodt of Louvain.

There are 28 bells and 56 strikers.

I think I am turning into a carillon geekfreak!

 

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Washington Cathedral has a Carillon and it is played every Sunday usually by the Cathedral Carillonneur, Dr Edward Nassor. It is an integral part of the morning worship, the title of the piece, often an improvisation on the music for the first hymn, arranged by Dr. Nassor, is printed in the Order of Service, preceding the Organ Preludes, the Introit and the Processional Hymn.

The Carillon is made up of 53 bells weighing 64 tons. The bells were cast by Taylors of Loughborough, dedicated in 1963 and are the third heaviest set in the world.

The Cathedral bells, a ring of 10 in D have a tenor weighing 32 cwt. (not that large as far as 'ringing' bells go!) which were cast, also in 1963, by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. They are usually rung after the worship, often to a quarter peal. 

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No answer is possible to Adnosad … “Ears have they, and hear not”  …  The once in 80 years experience was beautiful as well as magical.

We are rather straying from portable carillons to the real full-size ones in towers.  USA yields a rich harvest, most universities having one or even more; the University of Michigan has two on campus, one of them among the largest anywhere and also by Taylor’s of Loughborough.  Just along the street from Washington National Cathedral is another large one at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  This features during the Mass there on great festivals with a peal immediately preceding and leading directly into ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’.  Dr Robert Grogan is Carilloneur and Organist Emeritus.  

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1 hour ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

We are rather straying from portable carillons to the real full-size ones in towers.  

 

Apologies, that's probably my fault!!  'Erred and strayed like lost sheep' - it's what I do well!!!

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Yes, I don't think portable carillons are something a lot of people would be familiar with.

I tried looking for the video Rowland Wateridge mentioned that was of “Wien bleibt Wien” arranged for carillon, organ, trumpet, and pan pipes, but I haven't had much luck. I did recently come across a video of a carillon being played in a band.

0:00 Street spirit (Radiohead)

4:16 Moon over Bourbon Street (Sting)

8:15 Roads (Portishead)

13:34 Life on Mars (David Bowie)

17:12 That's not how dreams are made (Jasper Steverlinck)

20:56 Summertime (George Gershwin)

 

 

 

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