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MMD > Archives > November 2001 > 2001.11.20 > 01Prev  Next

"De Carillon" Bursens Street Organ
By Robert Moore

Ben Jackson was asking for some information about the street organ
"De Carillon".

I made a trip last August to the Netherlands and visited the Kunkels
Foundation organ museum in Haarlem where "De Carillon" now resides.
It is a great sounding instrument and I had the pleasure of cranking
out a tune on it.  It can be seen and heard at the Foundation's web
site.  There are downloadable sound and picture files of this and
other instruments that are well worth your time to capture.

As to "De Carillon", the information I have comes from an information
sheet that was given to me during my visit:

  "The Carillon, 56-key Bursens --  This street organ was built in
  Antwerp by the Bursens firm. For many years it was the property
  of the well-known Amsterdam rental firm of Perlee, where the organ
  was rebuilt under the leadership of Mr. Struys.  The strange colours
  on the front were put there on the initiative of the former owner,
  Mr. De Wit, of whom it is rumoured was colour blind."

I also purchased a CD which featured "De Carillon", among others.
The notes about the instrument are as follows:

  "This organ owes its name to its clear-sounding carillon register
  in the melody section.  This stop is generally used to musically
  enhance the main melody.  This characteristic register can be found
  in practically all instruments of the Belgian organ builder Bursens.

  "The carillon was built around 1920 and its first name was
  'Eigendommetje' (little property).  It was the property of the
  Amsterdam organ grinder 'Lange Gerrit Ribbelink' which - in a time
  of almost exclusive organ-renting - was quite remarkable.  In the
  'thirties the organ became the property of Gijs Perlee who increased
  its number of keys to 56 and made some changes in the disposition.

  "The melody stops are: Violin, Bourdon and Carillon, the counter-
  melody stops are Cello and Celeste.  The organ has played in
  Amsterdam for many years.  In the early 'seventies it was sold to
  the organ owner Jan de Wit, who subsequently donated it to the
  Kunkels Foundation in Haarlem."

I would highly recommend to anyone visiting the Netherlands to visit
their museum.  While I was there, I heard about a dozen different
organs playing throughout the day.  They were in excellent condition
and each was a pleasure to listen to.  They are currently re-restoring
their 112-key Marenghi themselves and are paying to have their 68-key
Gavioli, "The Jupiter" professionally restored.

The foundation consists of a group of enthusiasts who are dedicated to
preserving these instruments for the pleasure of all.  Their efforts
are completely supported by donations.  It is only open on Sundays and
admission is free.  When I asked why they didn't charge an admission to
come in and be entertained, I was told that when the organs were played
on the streets, the music was free for all and they wanted to continue
with the tradition.  I was told that the Jupiter restoration is going
to be very expensive.

Visit their web site and consider sending them a donation.  They
deserve our support.  The Kunkels Foundation Organ Museum web site
is now at

Bob Moore
Orlando, FL

 [ While touring the Netherlands in 1988 I awoke one morning to the
 [ sound of a nearby Dutch street organ: the "Jupiter" was playing
 [ only a few steps from our hotel at the old town plaza in Maastricht.
 [ I contributed several guilders to the operator's "shaker tins" and
 [ listened for over an hour.  What a wonderful big sound it had.
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Mon 20 Nov 2000, 17:08:47 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Bursens, Carillon, De, Organ, Street

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