Come All, Oh Come: Christmas in Nijkerk with Bach's BWV 606
The church bells of my childhood
My recording of 2½ minutes of the 3 tower bells of Nijkerk's Grote or St Catherine's church (included as "ambient sounds" in the fabulous Voxus sampleset) before the recordng proceeds to (twice: this is one of Bach's shorter compositions!) the stunningly jubilant Bach choral 'Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her' (BWV 606) on the 1756 Matthijs van Deventer organ. This brief choral from Bach's Orgelbüchlein ends in an unresolved unison D chord: it seems Bach marks this as an intro only, or perhaps as "only the beginning" of Christmas: King's College in Cambridge uses this organ composition as the opening choral for their annual (televised) Christmas concert.
The VIDEO shows a collection of photos of the church and the tower.
I grew up with these bells (from 1775), emanating from the 96m high tower with its carillon of 51 bells (the carillon keyboard has 4 octaves) . Since my birth till my 18th b'day, I heard the bells at least once a week: the historic hour bell (uurklok) or death bell (doodsklok) in E flat, the second one in F and the famous porridge clock (papklok) in G .
My parental home was less than one kilometer from the church, so I heard the bells every Sunday at 9am, and on all other occasions marking the High Days of the protestant liturgical calendar. And I dare say, that I share quite a bit of pride in this beautiful tower with all other folks who were born and grew up in Nijkerk.
As a little boy - the rest of my family walking home from the little church in a community hall around the corner - I often sneaked into the tower door to climb the circular tower staircase, turning to the right on the first landing to open the door to the organ loft. The good organist always let me play for a few minutes once his church service was done....