The Esslinger Carillion
The Esslingen Carillon is one of the few of its kind in southern Germany upon which live concerts are regularly played. Performances take place every day at 8 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.
Currently, 216 songs and pieces on a total of 29 hole bands are available to be played depending on the occasion or season.
In 1999, Eckart Hirschmann was appointed as a trustee and player of the Esslinger Carillion. Since then he has written more than 290 sound sets for the Esslinger Carillion. This can be heard in the popular live concerts throughout the year and during the Christmas Season.
Between 1586 and 1589, the court architect Heinrich Schickhardt, who hailed from Baden-Württemberg, built a renaissance façade on the front of the timber-framed building which was then the merchants’ and excise building in Esslingen, built around 1420. The façade was crowned with a two-storey open ridge turret. Upon the turret were hung two clocks: one which chimed every hour, and one which chimed every fifteen minutes.
It would, however, be three hundred years before a glockenspiel was built into the ride turret, which finally happened in 1926. After the Old City Hall’s renovation by Professor Lempp in 1926, the residents of Esslingen donated a glockenspiel comprised of 24 bells. Thanks to a new civic initiative in 1972, the glockenspiel was also renovated and five new bells were added, taking the total number of bells to 29. As a result, the glockenspiel now had a range of more than 2 entire octaves (c” to e”” chromatically).
The chimes of the bells used to be controlled by a brass roller fitted with steel pins, but since its renovation is controlled by a punched tape. It can also be played like a keyboard, or in other words can be played by hand on a glockenspiel table. While only 6 songs could be ”programmed” into the old roller, the tape technique allowed the Esslingen glockenspiel to have an unlimited repertoire. Most of the textures and tape orchestrations were arranged by the veteran glockenspiel player, Paul Schwob, who passed away in 1999.
How is a glockenspiel table connected to the bells?
Electrical impulses are sent from the keyboard or buttons to the punched tape, which are passed on to the magnets in the striking hammer in the bells. The magnets cause the hammer to strike the edge of the bell.