MEISE - September 28, 2002, the new carillon of Meise was officially inaugurated in the presence of Her Royal Highness Queen Fabiola. The instrument, installed in the tower of the Sint-Martinus church, which was built in the 15th century, now consists of 56 bells. Purchasing a new carillon was for the most part feasible because of the generous support of Baron Van Geysel jr. It is a light instrument yet with a full tone.
NEW BELLS AND KEYBOARD
The old carillon of Meise was a gift of the industrialist Jan Van Geysel and was installed in 1951 by the firm of Michiels. Jef Rottiers played the instrument from 1951 to 1985. Over the years, the sound of the bells had become sharp and dry, and also somewhat out of tune, enough reason to ask Royal Eijsbouts to cast a new set of bells. In addition, the old keyboard has been replaced by a European standard keyboard. An innovation was the installation by Eijsbouts of a new type of coupling between the manual and the pedalboard. It is a link that can be adjusted very easily. The bourdon of the carillon is an f1-bell of about 900 kg, connected to the keyboard as b-flat. The old Michiels bells that were removed from the tower have temporarily been mounted on a wooden construction which is erected in the square in front of the church.
Prior to the festivities, the autumn meeting of the Vlaamse Beiaardvereniging took place in Meise. The theme of this gathering was "Jef Rottiers and His Music". Eddy MariŽn, Carillonneur of Meise since 1985 and step-son of Rottiers, opened the programme with a concert of Rottiers compositions. After a reception, Eddy MariŽn and Adrian Gebruers, President of the World Carillon Federation, gave a lecture in which they talked about the life, personality and music of Jef Rottiers, illustrated with photos, sound excerpts and anecdotes. It appears that there is enough material on hand about the life and works of Rottiers to even write his biograhpy.
The inauguration recital followed after a meal, a short religious service in the church and some speeches outside. In addition to Eddy MariŽn, Sjoerd Tamminga from The Netherlands, Adrian Gebruers from Ireland and Ana Elias from Portugal also played, thus clearly putting Meise on the international carillon map. To close the celebration, all the guests were invited by Baron Van Geysel jr. to visit his estate. There everybody was welcomed with drinks and treated to ice cream and pancakes. Even a tour of the domain by horse and carriage was offered, suitably accompanied by the music of hunting horns and a brass band.