National Geographic : 1925 Mar
376 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE fared. Finding all was well there, he ascended the tower and sought out his beloved bells. There he discovered the wires had been cut, but quickly mending them, he was able, when the King and Queen rode into the city a few hours later, to inspire the crowds below with the strains of La Brabanr;onne. A CONCERT BY THE PADEREWSKI OF THE CARILLON :.\I10st glorious of all the Singing Towers is that which rises above St. Rombold's noble cathedral at Malines (Mechlin). Appropriately it, too, is the cathedral in which the great Cardinal Mercier officiates. We arranged our journey so as to reach :.vralines for the anniversary of the 35 years of service of the distinguished carillonneur Josef Denyn. His skill is indeed marvelous. Well may he be called the Paderewski of the carillon. Having arrived at l\1alines early on Saturday evening, we found ourselves in the current of a street pageant in Denyn's honor. Ancient guilds with superb ban- ners and modern societies of every kind marched in the procession. Thousands of people filled the old streets. Houses and public buildings everywhere were gaily decorated. This impressive pageant was but the heginning of events which filled four days, during which came the inauguration of the School of Carillon Instruction, free to all the world; the meeting of the first Carillon Congress ever assembled; the opening of the Exposition of Carillon Art, lasting through September, and the playing of visiting carillonneurs from France, Holland, and Belgium. On Sunday noon, in the crowded Town Hall, the burgomaster presented to Denyn a gold medal from the city, and there the American Ambassador to Belgium spoke. Carillon art attains its noblest expres- sion in the evening concerts by Denyn at l'v1alines. These take place year after year, on l\10nday evenings, in June, Au- gust, and September, from 9 to 10 o'clock. l\1alines is midway between Antwerp and Brussels and distant only half an hour from each, so that multitudes from both these cities attend the concerts. Of late many have come also from much greater distances in Europe and from all parts of the world. A program of the music to be played at each concert is pub- lished months in advance. And while the great master plays all is quiet, even in the Grand' Place. That l\10nday evening, after the hour bell of St. Rombold's Cathedral ceased striking and the vibration of its deep and solemn tone had died away, there was silence. So long a silence it seemed, so absolute, that we wondered if it was ever to be broken. Then pianissimo, from the highest, lightest bells, as if not to startle us, and from far, far above the tower- it seemed, indeed, as if very gently shaken from the sky itself-came trills and runs that were angelic. Rapidly they grew in volume and majesty, as they descended the scale, until the entire heavens seemed full of music. Seated in the garden, we watched the little light in the tower, where we knew the unseen carillonneur sat at his key- board and drew the music from his keys; and yet, as we watched and listened, we somehow felt that the music came from somewhere far beyond the tower, far higher than that dim light, and was pro- duced by superhuman hands. Sometimes the sounds were so low that we found ourselves bending forward to hear them. They seemed to come from an infinite distance, so faint and delicate were they. Then, at other times, great chords, in the volume of many organs, burst forth rapturously! The concert ended at 10 o'clock with the national air of Belgium. Directly after this the great bell slowly struck the hour. THE WORLD HAS 180 CARILLONS In the \\'orld to-day are 180 carillons. Of these 134 are in Belgium and the Netherlands. The rest are scattered in other parts of Europe, the United States. and Canada. Eleven carillons were destroyed in the World War, but already three of these have been replaced. INDEX FOR JULY-DECEMBER, 1924, VOLUME READY Index for Volume XLVI (July-December, 1924) of the National Geographic Magazine will be mailed to members upon request.