Twilight Carillon Recital Rings of Spring

By Ferda Mehmet, student intern of CHASS College Computing

Carrilonneur David Christensen plays the University's carillon from inside the peak of UCR's renowned belltower.UCR's legendary Belltower hovered over the Department of Music's annual spring presentation of the Spring Twilight Carillon Recital on Sunday May 18th from 6-7 p.m. Audience members listened to the University Carillonneur David Christensen ring on UCR's magnificent 48-bell carillon, while enjoying the musical evening on the Commons lawn.

Christensen, serving as the University's third Carillonneur for sixteen years, is currently UCR's organ instructor as well. He received his Bachelor and Master degrees in Music from the University of Redlands, where he graduated magna cum laude. Carillon recitals have been a long-standing tradition at UCR, since the first Carillonneur began this annual spring tradition in 1966. A carillon is a musical instrument consisting of twenty-five or more cast bronze cup-shaped bells precisely tuned so that many bells can be sounded harmoniously together. The bells are sounded by striking a series of wooden levers with the side of the hand or fingers and by the feet.

The recital went in chronological order, starting from the oldest to the most recent pieces. Opening with Music for Lute, the evening was followed by Largo from Xerxes, Wedding Hymn from Ptolemy, Sonata in D Major, Intrada from Serenade for Carillon, Four English Folksongs, Sarabande, Five Folksongs, Forgotten Dreams, Songs of George Gershwin, and Rondeau. After the recital, the audience had the opportunity to meet Christensen by climbing up the stairs of the belltower into the room where he played.

Christensen said, "This recital was a unique experience because it is rare that a college would even have an instrument such as a carillon. In California, there are only five carillons with real bells. Also, this is really the only kind of concert at UCR where the audience can lay out on the lawn and socialize during the show." The audience consisted mostly of faculty, staff, students, and people in the community. Sponsored by the Departments of Dance, Music, and Theatre, the recital was free of charge and open to the public.

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