THE PRAGUE LORETTO CARILLON

Česká verze je též k dispozici

The Prague Loretto Carillon was built and set in motion in 1695. The bells were cast by Amsterdam bellmaker Claude Fremy, and the playing mechanism was constructed by Peter Neumann, a Prague clockmaker. The instrument has a total of 27 bells in the span of over two octaves, with a keyboard of atypical proportions. The bottom octave is also controlled by a row of pedals. The carillon has two separate playing systems – a clock machine with a cylinder that is programmed to play the hymn “A Thousand Times We Hail Thee” on the hour, and a completely independent mechanism that is controlled by the player. The carillon was restored in 1994 by Petr Rudolf Manoušek and is one of the oldest working carillons in Europe, especially among those that have been preserved without the use of inauthentic interference. Despite its imprecise tuning, it was decided to keep the original bells for their artistic and historical value, as this is the last existing set of playing bells by C.Fremy in the world – it is not possible to change the fixed tuning of his bells.

 

Radek Rejšek, carillonieur,

born in 1959, studied composition and trumpet at the Prague Conservatory. He continued his composition studies at the Academy of Music in Prague and the JAMU (Janáček´s Academy of Music) in Brno. His life-long interests include history and organ-making. Since 1988 he has been a music director and editor at the Czech Radio, where he oversees the programs “Historical Pipe Organs of Bohemia and Moravia” and “Bells”. In addition to this he works in the field of contemporary and electroacoustic music. Czech Radio has produced recordings of some of his compositions, primarily organ pieces. Since 1995 he was taught at the Prague Conservatory, where he lectures on music theory, and since 1997 he has been the vice president of the Society for Electroacoustic Music.

He contributed to the restoration of the Loretto carillon and promotes it abroad. He is a correspondent of the Royal Carillon Institute in Mechelen, Belgium and regularly takes part in the events of Eurocarillon, an international organization of carillon players:

1995 - Annecy (France)
1996 - Lyon, Chatenay (France)
1997 - Barcelona (Spain)
1998 - Berlin (Germany)

He has been introducing the untraditional art of carillon playing to a wider audience in his own country.



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