|WCF WORLD CONGRESS 2000 IN SPRINGFIELD|
SPRINGFIELD - From 2 to 7 july 2000 the two-yearly congress of the World Carillon Federation was held at Springfield, capital of the American state of Illinois. It was the second time the congress was held in North America, after the congress at Ann Arbor - Michigan - in 1986. The carillonneur of Springfield, Karel Keldermans, and his wife Linda (both of them speak Dutch quite well), had made up a varied programme together with the inviting guild, the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. During the congress, which attracted some 200 persons, they consistently ensured that all activities ran smoothly.
Adolph Rots ________________________________________________
WCF congresses most of time are made of three sorts of ingredients: the meetings and lectures, the carillon recitals and the other activities, mostly of a relaxing character and focused on meeting other colleagues and enjoying the hosting city. In this report I want to bring forward some of the ingredients; the choice and the description are from my personal point of view.
AMERICAN CARILLON MUSIC
Since Percival Price closed off the culture of tremolandos and folk songs of Jef Denyn, American carillon music has followed its own way, more focused on harmony and smooth bass melodies. In this regard the name of Emilien Allard (Montréal) should also be mentioned. Based on this home grown musical tradition, around 40 carillons have been built over the last 10 years, amongst which are the five biggest in the world. In the Netherlands we don't have any instruments that can cope with that atmosphere and character; one can easily become envious of that!
Nevertheless the European carillon literature was not forgotten. Lectures about Belgian composers (by Koen Cosaert), about Dutch developments over the last 30 years (by Joost Van Balkom), and about the works of Leen 't Hart (by Laura Meilink-Hoedemaker) were the European counterpart.
The way to attract local people to the carillon in order to create a public was subject of presentations from Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands (Groningen, Venlo), Portugal and America (Trinity College).
DEVELOPMENTS BY RICHARD STRAUSS
Richard Strauss has designed and built a compromise keyboard for the Verdin Company, taking the North European measurements for the manual (keys closer together) and the American ergonomics (concave and radial) and measurements for the pedals. Indeed, a nice practice clavier was set up to be played during the congress. This is probably the right way to achieve a world standard.
A lot of important founders have worked in Wallonia. A lot of beauty has unfortunately disappeared or fallen into disrepair. The Walloon Carillon Guild sees itself as heir to this great bell culture and is trying, by compiling and publishing a detailed inventory, to stimulate more interest and funding for restoration. In any case, there is a lot of historical material present, undamaged and original, to be studied.
Despite the qualities of this carillon and the many carillonneurs' achievements, one of the complaints about the congress arose here. American carillons often are such of a distance from one another that involving more than one instrument at a congress gives rise to a lot of transportation problems. What was offered at Springfield was too much.
Members of the jury of the carillon contest were Jo Haazen, Karel, Keldermans, Peter Langberg, Jacques Lannoy, and Gert Oldenbeuving. Incidentally, Dutch carillonneurs were represented in all categories: the first prize of the competition was won by Anne Kroeze (second prize went to Liesbeth Janssens). A great impression was made by Roel Smit, and the only duo of the congress was the Groningen Carillon Duo (Auke de Boer and Adolph Rots) on the 4th of July, U.S. Independence Day, with fireworks as a finale.