Mechanical Musical Instruments and Historical Performance Conference location:Guildhall School of Music London date:7-8 July 2013
In the first half of the seventeenth century the carillon repertoire still contained much polyphonic music. These pieces were more or less adapted to the technical possibilities of the drums of the automatic playing systems. In my PhD-research, I showed that the versteek books (re-pinning book) of Hendrick Claes (1616) and Théodore de Sany (1648) inform us about this broad repertoire but also about the way this repertoire was played by carillonneurs. By analysing and playing these versteken I reconstructed and re-created intavolations of pieces by e.g. Lassus and Lupi Second and peformed them on historical carillons.
Two important research questions are:
(1) how do these versteken relate to the performance practice of 17C carillonneurs?
(2) how do these versteken inform us about the performance (tempo, ornaments, diminutions, …) of the original compositions?
I will answer these questions by comparing (1) Titelouze’s organ verse on Ave Maris Stella and (2) Lassus’s chanson Bonjour mon coeur, with the versteken in de Sany’s manuscript. They learn us about the way polyphonic reductions were made and diminutions were added. Recordings of these versteken on the historical drums of Antwerp Cathedral (1659) and the Dom Tower of Utrecht (1666/69) and of my own reconstructions played on carillon, demonstrate how the music for automatic carillon can inform us about historical performance.
Only recently it became clear that the significance of the automatic carillon goes far beyond the historical carillon repertoire: mechanical carillons inform us about the performance practice of historical keyboard music in general.