Com­ing up in Philly Music: Ger­man­town bells and whis­tles with Piffaro

2 minute read
Piffaro premieres its first digital concert this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Piffaro.)
Piffaro premieres its first digital concert this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Piffaro.)

Jacob van Eyck played two very different instruments—the weighty bronze bells of the church carillon and the simple wooden tube called a recorder. The first video in Piffaro’s first all-digital season combines both sides of van Eyck’s musical life. A noted Philadelphia carillonneur, Janet Tebbel, plays the carillon of a Catholic church and Piffaro responds with recorders and the other Renaissance instruments it plays. The music is all taken from Der Fluyten Lusthoff, van Eyck’s treasure trove of 17th Century recorder pieces.

Piffaro has come up with a creative response to the disruption imposed by COVID-19. Their new video takes Van Eyck’s music out of the concert hall and places it in a modern version of its original setting. The entire concert was filmed at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Germantown. Tebbel plays in the church’s bell tower and Piffaro plays on the church grounds in the same way Van Eyck played his soprano recorder in the courtyards of the churches where he was the resident carillonneur.

Van Eyck could have played both sides of this concert but he would probably have been satisfied with the musicians who split the work. Janet Tebbel is a leading carillonneur in a region that hosts nine of the 180 carillons in North America. In addition to her work at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, she’s the carillonneur for the First United Methodist Church of Germantown and a guest performer at sites like Longwood Gardens (where BSR reviewer Gail Obenreder heard her play in June 2019). Piffaro is a Philadelphia organization with an international reputation that includes a spot in Goggle’s online exhibition the Google Cultural Institute. Between them, Tebbel and Piffaro can create all the music Jacob van Eyck created by himself.

What, When, Where, and Accessibility:

Piffaro, the Renaissance Band will premiere its first digital concert on Friday, October 30 at 7:30pm, with a livestreamed watch party featuring chats with the musicians. The video will be available on-demand through November 5. Tickets are $13. Season subscriptions are $60 and include season-long access to special events.

Image description: five players, dressed in all black, play various wind instruments. There are podiums and microphones by each of them. They're outside, a stone wall behind them, with grass and concrete on the ground.

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