En juillet, les cloches de la collégiale Notre-Dame se mettent à l’heure américaine et à l’heure belge

Dimanche 17 juillet après-midi (16h-17h),  le carillon reçoit John Widmann, carillonneur américain de Frederick (Maryland) en tournée en Europe.

Le programme comprend des pièces classiques transcrites pour le carillon par lui-même ou par de grands carillonneurs américains et européens, la 2ème partie est composée d’airs contemporains très connus. Le concert se terminera par une fantaisie aux sonorités des cloches byzantines.
programme en fin de page.

John Widmann est un interprète au jeu d’une grande finesse agrémentée d’arpèges et trémolos qui mettront en valeur les cloches du carillon.

Mardi 26 juillet de 12h30-13h15, Mme Francien Berte, carillonneuse à Soignies (Belgique), diplômée de l'Ecole Royale "Jef Denyn" de Malines,  revient pour un concert à un horaire inhabituel.
Durant l’été 2020, en vacances dans le Périgord, elle est venue découvrir notre carillon. Très enthousiasmée par sa visite, elle a écrit un article dans le bulletin campanaire de Wallonie pour inciter ses amis belges à faire une halte chez nous.

Pendant le tournage de la série de Netflix, les cloches sont silencieuses.
Mais vous pouvez écouter notre carillonneur jouer les jeudis et samedis matin de 9h30 à 10h15.

NB : les concerts et auditions de carillon sont gratuits et s’écoutent sur les  places Notre-Dame et André Lescure ou en se promenant dans les rues de la bastide.

Programme du concert de John Widmann

John A. Widmann

City Carillonneur, The City of Frederick

Recital for Ville-Franche-de-Rouergue, 15:00, 17 July, 2022


I.                   Unwritten Prelude in d minor – Jef Denyn (1862-1941)

II.                American Carillon Compositions

Toccata Festivole – John Courter (1941-2010)

O, toi belle hirondelle – Emilien Allard (1915-1976)

Fantasia on “ave maris stella” – John Widmann (1963- )

III.             European transcriptions

Larghetto from keyboard Divertimento – Matthias vanden Gheyn (1721-1785), arr. Luc Rombouts (1962- )

Intermezzo, op. 118, no. 2 – Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), arr. Rachel Perfecto (1993- )

Aria, op. 51 – Flor Peeters (1903-1986), arr. Widmann

Nimrod, from Enigma Variations – Edward Elgar (1857-1934), arr. Jo Coenen

IV.              Popular Tunes

Don’t Know Why – Jesse Harris (1969 - ), arr. Koen van Assche (1967 - )

Wij Zullen Doorgang – Ramses Shaffy (1933-2009)

Make You Feel My Love – Bob Dylan (1941 - ), arr. van Assche

V.                 Fantasia op themas van de Byzanijnse ritus – Gaston Feremans (1907-1964)



John Widmann is the City Carillonneur for the City of Frederick, Maryland, where he plays recitals  every Sunday at 12:30, year round, on the Joseph Dill Baker Carillon in Baker Park. He has now held that position for thirty years. Mr. Widmann graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and completed in his Master of Music degree from Towson University in 2011. In 2021-2022, Mr. Widmann studied for his diploma at the Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn” in Mechelen, Belgium. In addition to his Sunday recitals, he retired last year from Frederick County Public Schools where he was a General/Vocal Music teacher. He is also a freelance organist and conductor. Mr. Widmann became a Carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America in 1996, and is a past member of the National Board of that organization. He maintains an active concert schedule, and has played frequently in the US, along with recitals in Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, England, Canada, and the Netherlands Antilles. He lives in Frederick with his wife and sometimes their two grown children. 


Program notes:


1.      Jef Denyn, the founder of the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Belgium that bears his name, improvised this piece, and performed it often. He taught it to his students, but never wrote the piece on paper. It is in the Mechelen romantic style with tremolandi (quickly repeated notes, mostly on the upper bells) and arpeggios.

2.      Since I am an American, I will bring you some music from America in this section of my program. John Courter was the carillonneur at Berea College in Kentucky. The Toccata Festivole features arpeggiated chords in the upper bells, and the melody in the pedal. The second work is North-America, but not from the United States. Emilien Allard was a French-Canadian composer from Quebec. He was carillonneur for many years at the Oratoire Saint-Joseph in Montreal before being selected as Dominion Carillonneur, playing the carillon at the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa, the National Capitol of Canada. Unfortunately, soon after starting that work, he died of cancer. The final work in this section is my own composition, based on the plainchant tune “Ave maris stella” (Hail, Star of the Sea). It is a Theme and Variations. After an introduction, the tune is stated in the middle bells, with each phrase repeated in a descant in the upper bells. In the second variation, the tune is set in 7/8 meter, with a jagged seven beats per measure. The third variation is ornamented and in the upper bells. The fourth variation is in three, and takes its inspiration from Flor Peeter’s Aria, which you will hear later in this recital. The tune remains “ave maris stella”, but the style and accompaniment are similar to the Aria. The last variation is in 5/4, and is titled, in Latin, “Sumite Quinque”, or “Take Five”. The melody is in the big bells.

3.      Matthias vanden Gheyn was born 301 years ago in Tienen, and spent most of his life in Leuven. His scores for a set of original carillon pieces are some of the oldest carillon music that we know of. This is not one of them. This piece was written for harpsichord, and is the middle slow movement of a Divertimento. It is highly ornamented with trills and mordents. The “Bach of the carillon”. The Brahms Intermezzo is, contrastingly, a highly romantic-style piece. It was written for piano. The Peeters “Aria” is an arrangement of mine from the original for organ. Flor Peeters was the long-time organist for Sint-Romboutskathedraal in Mechelen, and a teacher at the Lemmensinstituut, at that point, also in Mechelen. Many organists from all over the world came to study with Peeters, including my parent’s church organist, and one of my first teachers, Charles Farris. Elgar’s “Nimrod”, an English work, is treated here in the Mechelen Romantic style, with many tremolandi.

4.      “Don’t Know Why” was written by Jesse Harris for Norah Jones. Wij Zullen Doorgang (We will continue), by Dutch singer-songwriter Ramses Shaffy, has become more popular recently with the Covid-19 crisis. I did not know this song until I came here, as it was never popular in the United States. As I write these notes in February, the crisis continues, now for two years, but hopefully when you read this in the Summer, it will be mostly behind us. Make You Feel My Love was written by Bob Dylan, but achieved even more fame as a cover by singer Adele.

5.      My finale is a piece by Mechelen Composer Gaston Feremans, based on tunes from the Byzantine Church. It, too has tremolandi in the Mechelen Romantic style. The idea of the tremolo is to extend the ringing, or singing of bells, particularly in the higher registers, that don’t naturally ring very long. This is particularly appropriate in this piece, as the Byzantine liturgy was sung by choirs without accompaniment, acapella. Hopefully the bells sing for you.