Bring on the Berlioz: Delaware Symphony receives donation of pitched church bells

Posted on: December 14, 2018

“The friars at the Franciscan Center in Wilmington are giving away their 19 Bells of Remembrance. Seven went to Delaware’s largest orchestra,” the Delaware Symphony, write Betsy Price and Suchat Pederson in Tuesday’s (12/11) Delaware News Journal. “ ‘They are all specifically pitched for works that are part of the classical repertoire,’ said Alan Jordan, executive director of the symphony…. The bells were created after the 9/11 attacks to honor Father Mychal Judge … who was … killed on Sept. 11…. The bells … from churches all over the country … were cleaned up and retuned …. The largest … is 1,200 pounds…. The two largest bells are tuned to the notes C and G, perfectly pitched for standard orchestra repertoire, including Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie fantastique.’ … Most of the time orchestras rely on tubular bells, which are large chimes…. The first time the Delaware Symphony used the Bells of Remembrance in ‘Symphonie fantastique,’ percussionist Bill Kerrigan covered them with a cloth … until the last movement…. ‘When he pulled the cloth off, you could hear this gasp,’ [Music Director David] Amado said…. ‘The fact that we have bells that are perfectly tuned is an extraordinary thing,’ Amado said.”

Posted December 14, 2018