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The "Keyed Glockenspiel" - Papageno's "magic bells"??

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Author Topic: The "Keyed Glockenspiel" - Papageno's "magic bells"??  (Read 1460 times)
Tony Watson
« on: August 03, 2009, 10:42:25 pm »

I was surprised to find out which other composers have written for this instrument and when: for example Mahler in his 7th symphony and Dukas in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. That being the case, why is it so rare? Why was the celesta invented, unless for its softer tone?

I have been rereading parts of Mozart's Last Year by HC Robbins Landon and the letters Mozart wrote in his last year. Schikaneder's orchestra is detailed (in Landon) but there is no mention of a glockenspiel. Mozart does not mention the instrument except for that famous story when he played it at unexpected moments in one performance to catch Schikaneder (as Papageno) off-guard. Nowhere does Mozart say what sort of bell tone he wanted. It would be very interesting to know at what stage in the writing of it they decided it would be a good idea to include the instrument. Why not just stick to a magic flute? The story I mentioned does show that the instrument was not in the orchestra pit but behind the scenery. According to Landon, Mozart conducted the first performance on the fortepiano and from the pit.
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