The (Gothic) Rolling Stones

Isn't She Pretty
Any excuse to post a picture of the Domtoren …

Today’s midday musical interlude was an homage to The Rolling Stones, as played on the carillon of the Domtoren. I was walking through town to meet up with a friend and got to enjoy some of the music. I heard Start Me Up and Ruby Tuesday, but they also played Wild Horses, Satisfation, and Angie. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaangie!” Sorry, I can’t even see that song mentioned without singing along dramatically. I suspect it might have had something to do with one of my friends at university having the name Angie. “Aaaaaaaaaangie!”

If you’re not sure what a carillon is, here’s the Wikipedia description, which is probably a more succinct explanation than I could provide:

A carillon (/ˈkærɨlɒn/, /ˈkærɨljɒn/, or /kəˈrɪljən/; French: [kaʁijɔ̃]) is a musical instrument that is typically housed in a bell tower, or the belfry of a church or other municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to play a melody, or sounded together to play a chord. A carillon is played by striking a keyboard – the keys of which are sometimes called batons – with the fists, and by pressing the keys of a pedal keyboard with the feet. The keys mechanically activate levers and wires that connect to metal clappers that strike the inside of the bells, allowing the performer on the bells, or carillonneur, [1] to vary the intensity of the note according to the force applied to the key.

Thanks to Twitter, I discovered a bit about Malgosia Fiebig, who is now serving as the city carilloneur for Utrecht and Nijmegen, having taken over the position from Arie Abbenes, who retired last year. She’ll be the one performing Tubular Bells at the end of the summer.

Still, there’s nothing like walking down the street, cursing the rain, when you suddenly realize that you’re hearing “Start Me Up” being played on bells ringing out over the city from the bell tower built in the 1300s. That’s one of those random things that I just love about living here. Rock on, Domtoren!

12 thoughts on “The (Gothic) Rolling Stones

    • It’s certainly not the first time they’ve played popular music, but I’d happened to see on Twitter earlier this morning that they would be playing the Stones, so when I was out walking, it was easier to realize what was actually playing. It was brilliant!

  1. Fantastic! It is really something to hear favourite or familiar songs coming from your town’s bell tower, isn’t it?
    A couple of weeks ago I made two videos with the music coming from the carillon in the Peperbus here in Zwolle but I somehow messed up the configuration of the camera and I lost them both 😦 I wonder if they played songs by the Rollings today too?

    • It always puts a smile on my face when I suddenly realize what is being played. There are some fantastic choices. I love the idea of bell towers across the country playing the Rolling Stones!

  2. Haha, I’m sorry I’ve missed that! But at least we got to see the Roman limes “disco style”, complete with smoke effects 🙂

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