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Tuesday, May 19, 2009
THE BELLS OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
FAVORITE HYMNS AND SECULAR SELECTIONS RECORDED AT THE MISSION A 25 Note Maas-Rowe Vibrachime and Old Mission Bell
MAAS-ROWE UNIVERSAL GROOVE RECORDS MR-3912 Circa 1960s
Recorded at the Mission by J. W. Klein Vinyl Pressing by RCA-Victor 33 1/3 RPM High Fidelity MAAS-ROWE CARILLONS, LOS ANGELES 39, CALIFORNIA
Nestled in the hills of Southern California is the beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano called "The Jewel of the Missions". Here on November 1, 1776 Fra Junipero Serra first celebrated Mass on a hastily constructed altar, believed to have been in the same spot where the present Mission Church now stands.
A great stone Church which was considered the finest of all California Mission structures was started in February of 1796 and completed nine years later. Four bells which hung in the tower of this Church now hang in the "Campanario" or bell wall at the Mission.
The bells crashed to the ground when the great stone Church was destroyed by the earthquake of 1812. All the bells except one are cracked to-day, either from the fall or from years of use. The only bell which is not cracked is the bell named "San Antonio", the second smallest of the group. This is the bell used for weddings in the Mission Church, and its tones are well-known to the villagers of San Juan Capistrano; as couples in ever increasing numbers come from near and far to be married in this most romantic spot in California. San Antonio, the happiness bell, cast in 1804, is heard at the end of this record. The other three bells, though cracked are still used to-day. The two largest bells are used to ring the Angelus and for Mass calls. The largest bell, named St. Vincente, was cast in 1776, and is estimated to weigh about 800 pounds. This bell is known as the memorial bell of the Mission since it has an inscription on it commemorating two resident priests of the Mission, Father F. Fuster and Father San Juan Santiago.
The second largest bell was cast in 1796, and is the only bell in the group to carry the name of the bell founder, Ruelas. The workmanship and lettering on the bells indicate that all four of them were cast in the same foundry.
In 1952 a modern 25-bell Vibrachime electronic carillon was installed in the mission. The Vibrachime carillon is equipped with an automatic player which plays both hymns and secular melodies that have long been favorites at the Mission. Eleven of these selections have been recorded here.
The Mass-Rowe Vibramachine uses accurately tuned metal rods to generate the bell tones. These rods are struck by small electrically actuated clappers, their tones are amplified and sound through special sound projectors concealed near the old bell wall. The effect is so realistic few visitors realize the beautiful carillon music does not originate from the old Mission bells until it becomes apparent that the four bells in the Campanario could not possibly cover the range of the music being played on the 25-bell electronic carillon.
The hymns and melodies were arranged for carillon by Paul D. Peery and Del Roper, staff carillonneurs of Maas-Rowe Carillons.
Since this record will find use on automatic tower music systems, which in many churches serve as a substitute for a carillon, tone quality and reliability of operation were given primary consideration in the cutting of the record.
The space on the rim of the record, where the needle is dropped by automatic mechanisms, is wider than on the usual record. That insures proper starting even though the turntable mechanism is not in perfect adjustment.
The universal groove is somewhat deeper than the usual micro-groove. It should be played with a micro-groove needle, but can be played with any good standard needle. Wide groove spacing is used to prevent breakthrough and to eliminate any possibility of echo. The original tape was recorded by Mr. J. W. Klein of Maas-Rowe Carillons, who supervised the installation of the Vibrachime carillon at Mission San Juan Capistrano.
In California this record is available only at Mission San Juan Capistrano. This is a special courtesy extended the Mission in return for the privilege of recording the Mission bells.
O MARIA MADRE MIA (Arr. Roper) - Traditional AVE MARIA DE LOURDES (Arr. Peery) - Traditional SALVE REGINA (Arr. Roper) - Traditional HYMNO PATRIOTICO DE LA VIRGIN DE GUADALUPE (Arr. Roper) - Saucedo CORAZON SANTO (Arr. Roper) - Jimeno QUEEN OF THE HOLY ROSARY (Arr. Roper) - Traditional
LA GOLONDRINA (Arr. Roper) - Serradell VENI EMMANUEL (Arr. Roper) - Ancient Chant ADESTE FIDELES (Arr. Peery) - Traditional WHEN THE SWALLOWS COME BACK TO CAPISTRANO (Arr. Roper) - Rene AVE MARIA (Arr. Peery) RINGING OF OLD MISSION BELL "SAN ANTONIO"
I came across this record on a few blogs and managed to track down some audio from WFMU's site. I would love to hear more from this honky-tonkin' caterwaulin' queen. Listen to the tracks below and I think you will too!