Author Archives: Scott Orr

BCS to relaunch music publications

The British Carillon Society has relaunched its music publications, a large collection of compositions and arrangements mostly produced by our late and esteemed colleague John Knox, who set the highest standards for carillon music.

The list of publications currently available and details of how to order are available here.

Over his long career, firstly as carillonneur for Aberdeen, and then, after a break of over 30 years, returning as carillonneur for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, followed by Perth and Bond Street in London, John’s output was prodigious.

With John’s passing earlier this year, it seems a particularly apposite time to relaunch a body of carillon music much of which he either produced or inspired others to do likewise. His production of two-octave carillon music for Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Bond Street is a seminal contribution to the smaller instrument, so that now (along with the excellent publications of Beverly Buchanan, with whom John liaised) there is an appreciable body of two-octave music, including original compositions, some especially commissioned. A Tutor for Mark, Studies for Two-Octave Carillon is the only carillon tutor dedicated to the smaller instrument.

His Christmas in Old Bond Street books (two volumes) are perfect for the two-octave carillonneur during that festive season, and one of his last productions, selected arrangements of Bach’s lute suites, are a particular favourite of mine. Likewise, three-octave instruments such as Perth, York and Charterhouse are now very well served by his five Perth Carillon Books. Volume 5 of this series is dedicated to sacred music, and is therefore an invaluable resource for all those who need to play for church services or to mark the Christian year or special occasions with appropriate music.

He also initiated the BCS Monograph series. Most of these monographs are significant carillon pieces by British and Irish composers, published as single volumes, along with explanatory notes and background information to the compositions.  Edward Elgar’s influential Memorial Chimes for Carillon is part of this series, typeset by John using the Sibelius software package, and based on an original version performed by Clifford Ball and James Lawson. Other works in the series include John Stuart Archer’s Suites 1 and 2 for Carillon, Sir Hamilton Harty’s A Little Fantasy and Fugue for Carillon of 1934 and the Cattistock Suite for Carillon, by E. d’Arba, who, on subsequent research, was in fact Ethel Adelaide Parker, one of Britain’s first female composers for carillon.

The works of Clifford Ball, John’s first teacher at Bournville before his appointment as carillonneur for Aberdeen, is well represented in the BCS volume Clifford Ball Centenary: Life and Music, a collection for four-octave carillon, complete with an extensive biography of Clifford Ball written by his son Iain.

Also for the larger carillon are two volumes of the music of La Salle Spier, published through the BCS and edited by Elizabeth Graves Vitu. These volumes are a collection of music by this brilliant composer and musician, who became fascinated with the carillon in Luray, Virginia. The music deserves a much wider audience, and my hope is that, in relaunching the publications, the carillon world will look again at this rich vein of material. Volume I contains an excellent, well-researched introductory essay by Elizabeth on Spier’s life and carillon output, and his fruitful collaboration with Luray’s virtuoso carillonneur Charles T. Chapman.

New music for carillon is also represented in these collections. Volume I of the Newcastle Carillon Books contains the minimalist Four Pieces by local composer Robin Terry, commissioned by John, as was the Three Pieces for Carillon from Fung Lam, a composer based in Hong Kong who himself has a large and creative output, among them commissions premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.  Three Pieces for Carillon received its world première in March 2005 by John at Bond Street.

Also commissioned by and dedicated to John was Anthony Skilbeck’s A Passage of Time, a suite of three pieces Sunset, Nocturne and Daybreak, published by the BCS and premiered by John Knox at Saltley in 2002.  Anthony Skilbeck’s corpus of work, much of which is atonal, and both rhythmically and technically challenging, deserves exploration by the adventurous or curious carillonneur. Anthony was inspired to write Passing Thought numbers 1 to 11 for two-octave carillon, including one, Passing Thought No. 3, graciously dedicated to me for the 75th anniversary of the installation of the Saltley carillon, where I gave the first performance.  Also published by the BCS is Skilbeck’s Woodland Echoes, a BCS Monograph, for three-octave carillon.

Last but by no mean least is A Chimer’s Tune Book.  All in all, something for everyone. Perhaps the relaunch of this music will inspire members to refresh their own arrangements, and even try their hand at composition, with a view to future publication.

We are grateful to John’s sister Yvonne, who has given her agreement for the British Carillon Society to continue publishing John’s music. As well as raising the profile of an appreciable body of work, the sale of these publications will bring much-needed revenue to the Society.

Michael Boyd

Publications Officer (publications@britishcarillons.org)

BCS Autumn Meeting 2021: Loughborough, Sat 16 Oct 2021

Saturday 16 October 2021

Loughborough Carillon and War Memorial, Queen’s Park, Loughborough, UK

This event is open to anyone interested to listen to and learn more about carillons; if you are not a member of the BCS, an email to the Secretary (secretary@britishcarillons.org) of your intention to attend would be most appreciated.


Shortly before March 2019 the Loughborough carillon underwent work by John Taylor & Co that included new clappers and a renovated clavier. If you haven’t had a chance to hear or try out the instrument since then, now is your opportunity!

Programme

BCS Autumn Meeting 2021
October 16, 2021

Opening Recital (13.00-14.00)
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CAROLINE SHARPE
Prelude No. 5 – Matthias van den Gheyn
Pur ti miro – Cluadio Monteverdi
Melodie in F  – Arthur Rubenstein
Utrechts Jolijt – Johan Wagenaar

SCOTT ALLAN ORR
Prelude No. 8 – Matthias van den Gheyn
Klokkenzang – Jos D’hollander
Irish Air – Geert D’hollander
Poeme pour Ann Arbor – Emilien Allard
Raindrop Prelude – Chopin (arr. van Assche)
Rilke Fantasie  – John Courter
Sonatine –  Stefano Coletti

Talks (14.15-15.15)
Location: Meeting Room, Charnwood Museum; Granby St, Loughborough LE11 3DU
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An introduction to the library and archives of the BCS, and the relaunch of BCS Publications
MICHAEL BOYD

An update on the William Wooding Starmer project: final steps and dissemination plans
SCOTT ALLAN ORR

15.15-17.00: Open tower time (15.15-17.00)

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The open tower time will be stewarded to ensure a balance of playing: depending on interest it may be necessary to limit the time each player has on the instrument. If you would be interested to play, could you kindly inform the Secretary? Space provided, the tower will also be available to those wishing to observe.

17.00 onward: Social in the Moon and Bell
Location: 6 Ward’s End, Loughborough LE11 3HA
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Trevor Workman BEM recital at the 2021 WCF Congress

Trevor Workman BEM, longtime carillonist of Bournville, gave a recital on behalf of the BCS at the World Carillon Federation Congress 2021 hosted by Trinity College in Hertford, Connecticut. The congress was held virtually with attendees joining from all of the world. You can view the recital at:

https://vimeo.com/538427933/675a0765db

This version includes the official recital and 2 additional pieces.

Official Recital:

1. Die Forelle – Franz Schubert, Arr. Jef Rottiers

2. Estudio 17. Opus 6 Number 11 – Fernando Sor, Arr. Trevor Workman

3. Rondo for harpsichord ‘Le Coucou’ – Louis-Claude Daquin, Arr. Clifford Ball

4. Toy Symphony – Leopold Mozart, Arr. Ronald Barnes

5. The Labyrinth – John Knox

Additional Tracks:

6. Best Du Bei Mir – Johann S. Bach, Arr. Trevor Workman

7. An Die Musik (Opus 88 Number 4) – Franz Schubert, Arr. Clifford Ball

In Memoriam – Dr Ian Brunt

It is with great sadness that a long-time member of the British Carillon Society has passed away on January 5th, after long-term illness. The text of a tribute written by BCS member Michael Boyd has been reproduced below.

A fundraising page has been set up for the Adult Renal Services Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle in memory of Ian.

Dr Ian Brunt

I first met Ian Brunt in the mid-1990s on one of the British Carillon Society’s occasional visits to Newcastle- upon-Tyne. I was immediately struck by his appearance: immaculately dressed in a three-piece tweed suit, complete with a waist-coat with pocket-watch and chain, polished patent leather shoes, the picture of an English country gentleman, with a calm and soft way of speaking and a personality that exuded warmth, welcome and a quiet self-confidence. His personal presentation and attention to old-fashioned good manners and courtesy stemmed, I believe, from an adherence to his own sense of professionalism and dedication to his medical career, and the importance of establishing and maintaining high standards, virtues which he also brought to his music-making. Behind the formal presence however, was a man of intelligence, good humour, generosity and a sense of fun.

Dr Ian W. Brunt was Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s second city carillonneur, a position which he held with pride, and to which he brought a sense of competence and excellence, in spite of only the briefest training in playing the carillon. Ian came to the Newcastle instrument in April 1991, after seeing an article in a local newspaper, The Evening Chronicle, in which John Knox, Newcastle’s carillonneur at the time, was appealing for a younger carillonneur to assist him in the continuance of the carillon tradition in that corner of the world. Ian answered the call, and quickly fell in love with the splendid instrument that is the Edith Adamson memorial carillon, the heaviest two-octave carillon in the world, with its beautiful and sonorous Taylor bells.
What had attracted him to the carillon? Arriving at Leicester University Medical School as a student in 1982, he first heard the carillon played at Loughborough by the then Charnwood Borough Carillonneur Peter Shepherd. Ian also met Peter’s deputy Brian Saddington through their membership of the Leicestershire Organists’ Association, with the Loughborough carillon featuring in their occasional visits. Bellringing was also another of his interests at University, being based in the that county, and visits to the Taylor bell foundry at Loughborough with the Leicester University Society of Change Ringers invariably included visits to the carillon. When at Leicester, Ian travelled to Birmingham to listen to the Bournville carillon, thereby strengthening his growing fascination with the instrument and bells in general.

It is thus that such seeds are planted, seemingly by chance. It was on his return to Newcastle to work as a doctor at the city’s Royal Victoria Infirmary that Ian saw the article in The Evening Chronicle, and introduced himself to John Knox. Ian had arrived at a most opportune time: John had himself only fairly recently re- engaged with the carillon world, after a long absence of nearly 30 years. Returning to Newcastle in 1987, John had made himself known to the Civic Centre authorities as the former carillonneur of Aberdeen, and was soon giving recitals of Christmas music during December of that year. John was determined to raise the profile of the Newcastle instrument, and persuaded the city council to have it overhauled, after a considerable period of neglect.

Thus, Ian arrived at Newcastle at a time when the carillon there was in peak condition, but more importantly, was in the hands of a respected composer for carillon, and one who had rediscovered his enthusiasm for the instrument. John Knox was soon embarking on his extraordinary output of compositions and arrangements for two-octave carillon, a corpus of work which became an important contribution to the carillon art, and which continues to be an invaluable resource for carillonneurs of the smaller instrument everywhere.
The combination of John Knox and Ian Brunt at Newcastle-upon-Tyne was something of a dream team: to his role as John’s deputy Ian brought his considerable musical gifts, as an accomplished organist, flautist, pianist

and harpsichordist. He had started playing the piano as a young child, and at the age of fourteen, after auditioning at Newcastle University, gained a place as a flautist and composer with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, a tremendous achievement for a young musician, given the competitiveness of the field.

He had considered pursuing an organ scholarship at Oxford or Cambridge; instead, he chose a medical career, eventually becoming a general practitioner, a role to which he brought his customary quiet professionalism, earning respect from medical colleagues and the people he served. His work gave him the financial security to follow a parallel career in music, one in which he made an appreciable personal investment. (My family was delighted to accept an invitation to stay at his home, a Grade II-listed late Georgian house. We marvelled at its music room, complete with grand piano, fortepiano, harpsichord, spinet, chamber pipe organ, a huge collection of baroque woodwind instruments, and an extensive library of baroque and early music scores).

His passion was for early music, and his group of early music specialists produced several commercial recordings of their work, whilst he himself organised two festivals in this field. He gave regular public concerts on the harpsichord and organ, and enjoyed playing concerts of baroque music with, in his words, some of the finest musicians in the North of England.
Ian was proud of his Northumberland heritage – he was, for instance, an exceptionally competent player of the Northumbrian small pipes – and this pride infused his choice of carillon repertoire. In his recitals, he championed the music of Newcastle composer Charles Avison (1709-1770), and was an advocate of local folk music on the carillon. I believe he wanted to instil a sense of community pride in the Edith Adamson memorial carillon, the first and only carillon to be installed in a civic centre of a major city in Britain. But his repertoire also reflected his deep personal connection with the North of England.

When John Knox left for Perth in 1993 (to make another remarkable contribution to the carillon art in that city), Ian gladly assumed the position of city carillonneur for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and continued the work of maintaining the profile of the carillon with regular recitals and carillon weeks. The following year he produced two excellent recordings of his playing: “High Baroque” and “Going Dutch” on his own label, humorously entitled Heavy Metal Recordings. (See BCS Newsletter 41, May 1996 for a review). He started to produce arrangements and compositions for carillons, some of which feature in the Newcastle Carillon Books. His renditions of folk and baroque music on the carillon were effective and engaging, grounded in his deep understanding of early music in general. Regular hour-long Saturday recitals became a fixture in Newcastle’s soundscape, and for the week before Christmas time, he performed a special series of recitals, greatly enhancing the festive ambience of the city centre.
The carillon art in Britain and Ireland is fortunate in the fact that only fairly recently Ian had welcomed Jonathan Bradley to assist in carillonneur duties, and therefore Jon becomes Newcastle’s third city carillonneur, carrying on a tradition established by John Knox and continued with such aplomb by Ian.

It is a matter of regret that, due to underlying medical conditions, Ian’s last years were blighted by a marked decline in health. We received the sad news about his death on January 5th of this year, after long-term illness. All those who knew him will have experienced a personal sense of loss, of a most genial and civilised human being.

I will remember him for the person he was, and for his joyful music-making on the carillon. I count myself privileged to have been a friend and colleague for nearly 30 years.

Michael Boyd.

Acknowledgements: My thanks to Jonathan Bradley for supplying the photograph of Ian, and for some of the background material of his life.

St Helens: Carillon part of Open Day

St Mary’s Lowe House will be taking part in the National Heritage Open Days and will be open on SATURDAY 15th SEPTEMBER from 10am, including demonstrations of the Thanksgiving Carillon.

St Mary’s Lowe House
North Road
St Helens
WA10 2BE

More information about the carillon is available here.

International Guest Recital and Evening Concert at Bournville

We are privileged to welcome on Saturday 16 June 2018, celebrated Carillonneur, pianist, musician, teacher and composer TOM VAN PEER from Mechelen, Belgium.

Tom, who is blind, will be giving a solo Carillon recital at 12 noon.  He will then join Trevor Workman and other local musicians for an evening concert in St. Francis Church of varied popular music on a variety of instruments. This will include a live video link from Bournville Carillon.

Read more about it on the Bournville Carillon website.

Major upgrade project to get underway on the Loughborough War Memorial carillon

Work is set to start on a £280,000 refurbishment of Loughborough’s Carillon Tower. Read more about it in the Charnwood Borough Council website.

“The refurbishment work will see the clavier fully restored with the striking elements of each bell refurbished by the foundry and there will also be some maintenance to the workings of the bells themselves.

The Carillon will be played on November 11, Remembrance Day, and other events are being planned in town by the Council and across the borough.”