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Workshops Carillon elementary schools

To interest children for the carillon Stichting Beiaard Woerden organises workshops for elementary schools. The workshops are given by the principle carillonneur of Woerden Henk Verhoef and me. In quite some songs I let the children join by playing two notes. They also like to listen and guess which melody is played. Some play an instrument and are invited to play a little melody all by themselves. In 2018 at least ten schools will visit.

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Children’s Songs for Carillon

Recently I am arranging Children’s Songs for carillon. One of them I already performed at the carillon of the Market Tower in Spakenburg. Do you like me to arrange a song you choose? I can prepare an arrangement, dedicate it to you, play it at a Dutch carillon and make a recording of it. Visiting the recital where I will premiere your song is also possible. You can already purchase an arrangement for 95 euro: mathieudpolak@hotmail.com or: danielmathieupolak@gmail.com

Examples of the arrangements:

Onder moeders paraplu

The muffin Man

Op een klein stationnetje

Zie Ginds komt de Stoomboot

 

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Onderzoekend Componeren

LEES HET ARTIKEL ALS PDF HIER: Onderzoekend Componeren eindversie

DE COMPOSITIE BEHORENDE BIJ HET ARTIKEL VINDT U HIER: Bagatelle

Concert Kaunas 

It is a great opportunity to give a concert in Lithuania. When Austeja Staniunaityte invited me to give a carillon concert, we spoke about the interaction between paintings and music. I told her I composed a carillon piece named Golden Clouds which I made for painter Joost de Jonge. He gave me a painting in return. The Golden Clouds composition could be regarded as the key work in the Kaunas program. I am happy that people will paint or draw during my concert and hope to see the new works of art after the carillon concert! If you do not draw or paint I still sincerely hope you will visit the carillon concert. It takes place at September 3 at the carillon of Kaunas. The program contains Dutch original carillon pieces, Lithuanian traditional songs arranged for bells, music from Israel and Greek music. Due to the countries of which music will be played, the title of the concert is Rhythms of the World. It starts at 12.00 o’ clock. Also recommendable are the other carillon concerts which take place at Saturday September 2 and Sunday 3 by carillonneurs from Belgium, Great Britain and Lithuania.

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A Summer of Bells

This summer led me to Spain and Germany where I could play the carillon. Special too was the chance to play the carillon of the Westertoren in Amsterdam. I entered a course by the Yale University to think about the role and function of the carillonneur in modern society. In September I will play a carillon concert in Kaunas – Lithuania. In this blog I selected some photos of this wonderful musical summer

Barcelona (Spain), mobile carillon, June 30, 2017 during the World Carillon Congress:

Barcelona

Amsterdam – Westertoren (the Netherlands), July 18, 2017 where I played a program built from French chansons and Italian Opera music:

Westerkerk

Yale University – certificate course, July 22, 2017. I wanted to know more about the role and function of the carillon in modern society:

Yale

Svendborg Denmark, August 2, 2017. First Ruth and I went to Kopenhagen, after that I gave a carillon concert in Svendborg at the Vor Frue Kirke:

Svendborg

Wiesbaden (Germany), August 12, 2017. Ruth and I passed by the world’s biggest cuckoo-clock on our way to the Marktkirche Wiesbaden:

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wiesbaden 2

Hannover (Germany), August 13, 2017. It was a pleasure the meet Wilhelm Ritter & Frau Anke Muller who were leading workshops of carillon playing in Hannover:

Hannover

Wurzburg (Germany), August 16, 2017. Wurzburg equals cities like Paris and London in beauty. I have a concert at the Neubaukirche der Universitat Wurzburg:

Wurzburg 1

Wurzburg 2

Hahnenklee (Germany), August 17, 2017, a wonderful village in the mountains of the Harz region:

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Hahnenklee 2

Eppingen (Germany), August 27, 2017:

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Kaunas (Lithuania), September 3, 2017, during the World Carillon Congress 2017     I was invited to give a concert in Kaunas in September:

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Concert Kaunas

Many thanks to all Dutch, Spanish, German, Danish and Lithuanian collegeagues who invited me to give concerts at their carillons!

 

Independence Day Peru Concert

 

 

 

 

concierto 28 julio

Contigo Peru

La Concheperla

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la-chicha-eindversie

la-flor-de-la-canela-carillon-full-score

luna-lunera-cascabelera-eindversie

ollantay-for-ooltewah

Hanacpachap Cussicuinin eindversie

casarasiri-eindversie

El Condor Pasa

Mi Burrito Sabanero

Music and Social Action

Music and Social Action
Yale University Course by Coursera

In May 2017 I entered the Coursera Yale University course Music and Social Action because of a personal need to find an answer to the question wether the carillonneur has an important role to play in society. The course brought me very good answers which I am glad to share in this article.

The carillon is a tower instrument usually located in the center of a city or at an University campus. Does the carillon also stand in the middle of society? Does the audience appreciate the carillon and do they feel the importance of this instrument to be regularly played?

Carillonneurs could involve their audience by organizing thematic concerts. This could for example lead to a concert with Turkish music. If there is a community of Turkish people in the city, organizing a carillon concert with Turkish music would be a relevant thing to do.
To involve young people, the carillonneur could contact elementary schools and invite them to visit the carillon.
The carillonneur could study about the events going on in the city or at the campus and play appropriate music during these events or festivals.

However, even when things like these are realized, the carillonneur has to ask himself wether the carillon is of fundamental importance or the carillon produces music which is heard by people but is not listened to?

To answer this question we could look at what American philosophers have to say on the subject. In the Yale University course Music and Social Action John Dewey (1859-1952) and Maxine Greene (1917-2014) gave information which could be applied to the question on the fundamental importance of the carillon.

A) Playing Turkish music for the Turkish community.
The carillonneur is not only an artist but a citizen at the same time. During the carillon concert he is literally sitting above the people but should stay among them and be one of them as a human being. It is the society he lives in which inspires him to shape his carillon concerts.
I agree with Maxine Greene who said:” a citizen is somebody who has regard for the integrity of other people and out of that regard, out of the feeling of kinship, a community or civil society may take shape. It is never finished. It depends upon a regard for other people’s significance and potentiality.”

B) inviting Elementary Schools to visit the carillon.
A visit to the carillon includes climbing the tower, seeing the bells, the drum and the hour clock. The carillonneur will play music. The visitor could look at the market beneath him and try to see the house where he is living. Imagine what a great experience this must be for a child! Maxine Greene might say this experience would be ‘an opening to imagination.’
Visiting the carillon would definitely be, as John Dewey would say, ‘art as experience.’ Imagination and creativity are keywords in the life of a child. The carillonneur needs to have imagination and creativity to bring music alive. Children could connect to the musician due to these equal intentions. In one of the videos of the Yale University course pianist Jonathan Biss (b. 1980) states that one of the main goals of a musician is to communicate the beauty of music. Schools visiting the bell tower is a nice opportunity to demonstrate the carillonneur’s love for bells and music.

C) Playing appropriate music at events and festivals in town
The carillon should be part of daily life. While the carillonneur is playing, people on the market below the tower are talking, music comes from open doors of shops and cars are making noise. All together they make one big piece of music which could be called ‘the music of the city.’  John Dewey worried that art would be apart from the society we live in. He wrote:” when an art product once attains classical status, it somehow becomes isolated from the human conditions under which it was brought into being and from the human consequences it engenders in actual life experience.” In my opinion, a carillon concert program should not be a fixed set of classical pieces as if the listener is going to a museum of sounds. The carillon should be a living organism. New works and improvisations are pointing towards the future. In improvisations the artist could imagine how music in the future would sound. This idea matches the remark of Dewey who said “art is the domain of the imagination.” Besides playing unknown music it is important that the audience can relate to the music of the carillon, that they recognize tunes and feel comfortable. By playing appropriate music at festivals, for example chansons at a French music festival in town, this goal would be achieved.

The positive answers to the questions convince me the role of the carillon and carillonneur is important in modern society. Due to the always changing society it will be necessary to keep on thinking about the interaction between the carillon and Social Action in future.

Mathieu Daniel Polak,
July  2017

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Lights and Shadows

Eurovisie Songfestival Concert-page-001

Lights and Shadows 13 May 2017 – Full Score

Eurovisie Songfestival Concert

Concert 4 mei Amersfoort

Een programma met Joodse muziek op carillon: Concert 4 mei 2017

selection of scores for concert May 4

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Koudounia

March 30, 2017, carillon concert by students of Mathieu Daniel Polak:

 

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Koudounia Greek Music