18 Apr 2015

The carillon rings out

From Saturday Morning, 10:07 am on 18 April 2015

Carillon Wellington

Dedication of National War Memorial Carillon WellingtonA carillon is a huge musical instrument consisting of tuned bells, usually housed in a tower, and played by hitting keyboards with hands and feet.

The carillon’s sound is cumulative, there is no way of getting rid of the sound, it is constantly overlaying itself… quite often fewer notes are more successful than playing lots and lots and lots of notes because what you’re hearing at any one time is a string of notes going along in a linear fashion, played against the backwash of everything else you’ve just finished playing, and those vertical harmonies are constantly changing, it is literally kaleidoscopic.

- Timothy Hurd

New Zealand has one of the best carillons in the world, at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington.

Timothy Hurd has been the national carillonist of New Zealand since 1984. He is also active worldwide as carillon architect, consultant, composer and musicologist, and sings regularly with the Choir of Wellington Cathedral, and the internationally-acclaimed vocal ensemble The Tudor Consort.

Timothy Hurd joins Kim Hill to talk about the history and development of this most unforgiving instrument, and other rare instruments he collects. He also plays some of his favorite music, chosen to fit the theme 'a vocal line' - a sense of directionalism and breathe that is required for the perfect articulation.

Photo: The dedication of the National War Memorial Carillon, Wellington, 25 April 1932, Photo: William Hall Raine. Alexander Turnbull Library. Reference: 1-1-037958-F.

Timothy Hurd is playing the Carillon for WWI Remembered: A Light and Sound Show, which runs 7:00pm to 10:00pm each night from 18 to 25 April at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.