Tremolandi in Badings (especially Suite No. 2)

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Tremolandi in Badings (especially Suite No. 2)

Postby JohnGouwens on Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:05 am

John Gouwens
Badings, Suite No. 2

I think we would all agree that Henk Badings's Suite No. 2 is one of the most important compositions in our repetoire, particulalrly as it was the first piece (even before Pozdro and Johnson) to explore octatonic writing. Performing the piece does raise some questions, though. As the work was published by the Mechelen school, Staf Nees did some editing. With the hopelessly clunky trebles there, any time a sustained sound was called for, Nees added tremolandi. I have heard (via Bert Gerken) that Badings once told Daniel Robins that he hated those tremolandi. Robins, of course, is on record as having proposed that the tremolando be completely eliminated from the carillon technique.

OK, so, confronted with a respectably resonant carillon (Eijsbouts, P&F, late-period G&J), one might choose not to do quite so many tremolandi. In my opinion, taking them all out didn't work well on the rather clunky Taylor at Kansas when I heard Bert play it. What about playing a *very* resonant carillon, say a Paccard or Perner? I am especially interested in what my Dutch colleagues think. I have my own solution for Culver (which entails taking some out, but keeping others). I would really be interested in hearing others' opinions about this, and I'll share more details of what I do shortly. Thoughts?
Like · · Unfollow Post · Sunday, October 28 at 10:26am via mobile
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John Fair What is a Perner?
Sunday, October 28 at 10:57am via · LikeReply

Gideon Bodden Interesting subject!
In my experience, the fact that tremolandi on some carillons work more successfully than on others, has less to do with the time during which the sound of the (treble) bells sustains, but rather with the type of sound.
Some modern, thick-profiled treble bells have a sound that slowly develops, while especially small, thin-profiled Hemony bells respond very quickly, their tone is present immediately after the strike. With such "quick-sounding" bells, like Denijn was working with, it is possible to use tremolandi for building up a convincing suggestion of a legato sound.
In case of modern heavy trebles, it basically doesn't work as well, because the repetitions are too quick for the bell to be able to evolve a balanced sound image, and the result is a rather poor effect that certainly doesn't suggest 'legato'.
Sunday, October 28 at 11:36am · LikeReply

Gideon Bodden Todd, Perner is the Saab among the carillon bellfounders
Sunday, October 28 at 11:38am · LikeReply

Ulla Klok-Amok Laage You're talking about Tremolando ... is that what we today call flemolando ???
Sunday, October 28 at 12:15pm · LikeReply

John Gouwens Todd, Gideon has been involved with profile design and tuning with bells cast by Perner (Passau, Germany). The hopelessly clunky van Bergen trebles at Hilvarenbeek have been replaced by Perner trebles - very resonant and singing - not too different from the best Paccard work. I must confess, I haven't noticed the difference Gideon describes in the time it takes a sound to develop, but I don't work with either (modern Continental or Hemony) on a daily basis. On English bells, the way in which you begin the stroke make an enormous difference in the sound, more - I would argue - than the potential slowness of the trebles. Actually, I think tower acoustics matter more. A very open, skeletal tower (Haarlem, Roermond, either carillon at Indiana University) undermines the intended 'legato' effect. A more enclosed tower (Washington Cathedral, Bok Tower, Culver, Dordrecht, Hilvarenbeek, Mechelen) helps the legato for the simple reason that as a new stroke begins to sound, it overlaps with what is reverberating in the tower already.

Now, as for the Badings, I'm still asking the question of whether one plays them or not. (Next comment I will outline what I currently do.)
about a minute ago via mobile · Edited · LikeReply

John Gouwens OK, Toccata octofonica - at Culver (G&J, but very resonant, louvred tower), I do play the tremolandi, but with each chord change, I articulate it. (This is in contrast to playing Nees or Denyn, where the rolling of notes is continuous.) In the Badings this would mean that the chord changes, most of which change only in the right hand, would commence with the right hand change falling on the beat, but with that transition smoothed over by the left hand continuing to alternate with it uninterrupted. I found it seems to come off better with a momentary break between chords. I might experiment with taking the tremolandi out at Ball State (Paccard), but the Indiana University carillons (Eijsbouts) are a little drier, so I think perhaps we might "lose" the chords too quickly without the tremolandii.
Sunday, October 28 at 12:28pm via mobile · LikeReply

John Gouwens One could argue that the only place tremolandi are needed are the longer notes (mm40, 42, 44, etc.), but alternatively, the chord progression could be seen as "building" to the longer notes (hence, tremolo at mm39, 41, 43, 45, etc.). I actually have no idea what is taught about that in Mechelen or Amersfoort. (I studied it with Bert, and then did my own thing.)
Sunday, October 28 at 12:32pm via mobile · LikeReply

John Gouwens Now the Aria Hexafonica is a little different case. Sometimes Nees put tremolandi on longer notes where a decrescendo is also desired (measure 4, beat 4; also measure 13 & 15, beat 4). The repeated chords the accompany a crescendo in the Pedal (mm5, 6, 7, I usually tremolando, but I'm considering changing that, and simply playing them straight. They are, after all, soft, and in the second octave, where resonance is usually not a problem. Near the end, the bigger climaxes benefit, I think, from tremolandi (specifically, measure 16, beats 2 and 4). I might be tempted to take most or all of these out on a very long-ringing carillon (Ede - P&F in a nicely enclosed tower). So, let's hear from others, especially my Dutch and Belgian friends!
Sunday, October 28 at 12:40pm via mobile · LikeReply

John Gouwens @Ulla: of course. Does that mean you don't play any of them? I assume you play Suite #2?
Sunday, October 28 at 12:46pm via mobile · LikeReply

Gideon Bodden Ok, here's the first section of Henk Badings' Preludio et Arioso, played on two very different carillons. Comments? ... -et-arioso

Badings Preludio et Arioso
first section of Badings' Preludio & Arioso on two very different carillons
Sunday, October 28 at 2:18pm · Like · Remove PreviewReply

John Gouwens Of related interest. I'll listen when I'm at a computer (this stuff won't play on my phone). But I do hope you and others will comment also about Suite II as well. (Recordings aren't essential.)
Sunday, October 28 at 2:21pm via mobile · LikeReply

Gideon Bodden The Preludio fragment contains very peculiar tremolandi, and the effect on the two featured instruments is very different..
Sunday, October 28 at 2:23pm · LikeReply

Frank Deleu @Gideon: Saab is not excisting anymore ..... But interesting discussion.
Sunday, October 28 at 5:26pm · Like · 1Reply

John Gouwens Well, this is always an interesting exercise! Neither carillon is Hemony, that's for sure. The second one is in a dramatically more resonant setting, and so as I outlined earlier, the tremolando is far better there. The dynamic nuances are far, far more effective on the second one also. It sounds as if the first carillon has rather flattened clappers, which clearly would create problems also. While I won't be at all surprised if Gideon gleefully tells me I have this wrong, I'm going to take a stab at it anyway. The first one is a quite exposed Dutch-made instrument, but with extra bass bells. I would speculate that's Berlin. The second one, with its lower transposition and resonant acoustical setting, I would guess to be Dordrecht. (I'm surer of the latter. There are other carillons I don't know that could qualify for that first recording, including places like Springfield and Arnhem, but I still think Berlin is likelier.) All right, but come on, people, I know jolly well that I'm not the only one here who plays Suite No. 2. (I've played the Prelude and Arioso in the past also, and of course it is interesting that Badings indeed called for tremolandi there.) So. *what do you all do with tremolandi in Badings's Suite No. 2?*
Sunday, October 28 at 10:57pm · LikeReply

Gideon Bodden How certain are we that Badings actually told Robins he hated 'those tremolandi' ? Did he hate all tremolandi on the carillon, or maybe only the Flemish-style tremolando (that some would do even on 8th notes!)?
Were the tremolandi in the Toccata really added by Nees? Do we have proof?
In fact, I like the tremolandi there, they are very effective! I have never imagined playing these chords straight, might give it a try next time though.
But in the Aria Hexafonica there are some tremolandi written, which I would seriously doubt if they were originally intended like that by the composer... These I could imagine being additions by Nees. Terrible!
Monday, October 29 at 6:42pm · LikeReply

Gideon Bodden And then: the 'Rondo Giocoso' from the 2nd Suite, is a simplified version of the 'Rondo' from the 1st Suite. Does anyone else play the original version of the Rondo?
Monday, October 29 at 6:45pm · LikeReply

Gideon Bodden OK, the 2 fragments that I posted:
the first is Bok Tower, the second Dordrecht (Henry Groen playing, from a cd). John, how on earth were you thinking the first recording could be Berlin?!
We do not agree about the tremolandi being more effective on bells with a more sustaining sound. I prefer very much the effect of the tremolandi in the first recording!
Monday, October 29 at 6:52pm · Edited · LikeReply

John Gouwens Yes, Gideon, I also play the earlier version of the Rondo when I play Suite I. The later version is for chickens! Bok Tower!! My only excuse is that I listened through computer speakers, so wasn't getting the full effect. I figured I'd get mud on my face by guessing, but was pretty sure on Dordrecht. In the Bok recording, every note stroke is distinct. Does one want a "chattering" effect or a continuous sonority? Henry got the latter effect, along with impressive dynamic nuance (which was absent from tne Bok Tower recording). OK, so you and I have radically different views about what those tremolandi should do. (Would you favor a more sustained effect in more lyric pieces, such as the Staf Nees Fantasia I?)
Monday, October 29 at 7:15pm via mobile · LikeReply

John Gouwens I wish I knew more details about what Badings objected to. Obviously, since he wrote tremolandi in the Prelude and Arioso (long after Nees had died), he can't have been against all tremolandi. (Alas, we cannot ask Badings, let alone Robins, and Robins after all was plenty biased.) Fortunately, nobody still advocates those notey "deedle-deedle-deedle" slow tremolandi, though a somewhat slower tremolando is better in calmer sections (as with slower trills in slower baroque pieces). I have never seen Badings's original manuscript. (That would make an interesting study!) I might try taking them out myself, but I am convinced they are needed. As for the Aria - i'd be very interested to know which tremolos you keep (if any). The irony about tremolandi is that they are more needed on drier, short-ringing carillons (Antwerp), but they are musically more effective on carillons with longer-ringing bells (Dordrecht, Douai - and of course Jacques Lannoy sure did beautiful tremolandi).

I knew Gideon would offer an opinion. How about the rest of you?
Monday, October 29 at 7:32pm via mobile · LikeReply

John Gouwens Well, I just finished a session on the carillon (Culver). In fact, I'm sending this from the tower. I tried taking the tremolandi out in both movements. If you have a carillon that is resonant and strong (I do!) The chords in the toccata almost work, but particularly the longer (dottrd half-note) chords seem to fall flat done that way. It's interesting to explore options like this, but I definitel think the tremolandi are necessary. There remains the question of whether to slur them together (as one would do in a lyric piece by Nees or Rottiers) or articulate them. (By the latter I mean on each chord, halt the tremolandi slightly early as I move from one chord to another.) Gideon and others - what do you think?

In the Aria, I realized something about the tremolandi in measures 5-8: that's reeally invertible counterpoint, the slow thirds of the pedal having moved to the manual and the florid melody moving to the pedals. Tremolando there is actually sort of a distraction. The form comes through more clearly if you play all that without tremolando. I do think, though, that the climactic tremolandi in measure 16 (third measure from the end) are necessary of the carillon is at all "dry" in effect. On a really poor instrument (van Bergen), I might even do that in mm2 and 4. At places like Culver and Ball State, not necessary, I think. Again, though, I'd be interested to know what teachers like Peter Bakker, Arie Abbenes,a dn Bernard Winsemius did with the suite.
Monday, October 29 at 10:17pm via mobile · LikeReply

John Gouwens The following was messaged to my by friend Lyle Anderson, and is copied here with his permission:

This relates to your request about tremolando addressed to Dutch colleagues. Of course I'm not really Dutch, only played one... for a year... some time ago. And I did study with Leen 't Hart, who was certifiably Dutch, though he studied with (among others) Staf Nees, who was Belgian, where tremolando is sometimes carried to excess, some say due the thin profiles of their treble bells, others differ about this. But never mind that. 't Hart's own compositions are firmly in the "Dutch" style (as vs. Belgian) and when there were occasional "trem." indications in his own music he usually instructed me to ignore them, even when playing on those very small bells of the Belgen Monument carillon. Thus I have formed the opinion that as a "prolongation" device, trem. is generally eschewed in the "high Dutch" style, but there is one notable exception where trem. seems to me a genuine stylistic ornamentation, and that is in "memorial" pieces (which manner also finds its way in other kinds of pieces, but primarily in these) such as 't Hart's "Prelude solennelle" for JFK, and then a bit later in a similar piece he wrote upon the passing of Staf Nees. These have extensive octave trem. over a bass line that moves with about the same rhythmic frequency; I think there are numerous (or at least several) Belgian examples of this sort of lamentation style writing as well.
Friday, November 2 at 3:40pm · LikeReply

John Gouwens So, come on folks, surely more of you know Suite II by Badings!! (If not, that says something disturbing about carillonneurs, frankly.)
Friday, November 2 at 4:27pm · LikeReply
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Re: Tremolandi in Badings (especially Suite No. 2)

Postby JohnGouwens on Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:47 am

Also, please, check out the sound samples Gideon offered above, and let's hear your reactions! :)
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Re: Tremolandi in Badings (especially Suite No. 2)

Postby FrancesNewell on Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:34 pm

I think it sounds more beautiful on the first of the 2 carillons, like a radiant shimmer!
However, I think a tremolando is much better on the minor thirds than on the major third.
On a minor third, the overlapping resolves work FOR you, on the major third tremolando, I hear a slight clash of the resonates.
So, to me, it seems also important what INTERVAL a tremolando is played on.
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Re: Tremolandi in Badings (especially Suite No. 2)

Postby JohnGouwens on Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:35 pm

Thanks, Frances! Very interesting! I liked how the dynamic nuances were conveyed on the second recording, and those come across better, in my opinion at least, on the longer-ringing second carillon. It will be fun to see how many come down on each side of this question! Thanks for your response.
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