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Sure, the bells of Oslo City Hall still play Grieg. But they also feature renditions of Kraftwerk, the Ramones and video game music.
Published 3 March 2017
The Oslo City Hall carillon is a band apart.
Every whole hour starting from seven in the morning and all the way until midnight, the bells in the building’s east tower will play a short melody – known as a ritornello – marking the hour.
And whereas the musical choices in the morning and at midnight may be as traditional as you’d expect – famous Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg in both cases – the rest of the day’s hours are dedicated to a truly eclectic mix of genres and styles.
The playlist chiming out across the city ranges from video game music (themes from “Super Mario Bros.” and “Minecraft” have both been featured) to film scores (right now: “Jurassic Park”), pop and rock (stick around for some Ramones at 6 pm) and electronic acts like Kygo and Kraftwerk.
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The carillon ritornellos will often be affected by worldwide events. The deaths of musical icons like David Bowie, Prince, Lemmy, and Leonard Cohen have all been marked by short concerts featuring carillon renditions of their songs.
Following the night club shooting in Orlando, MSN reports that the bells played “I am what I am” by Jerry Herman to honour the victims. For the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony, newspaper GD writes that Norwegian composer Johan Adriaenssen campe up with a new carillon composition in four movements to reflect a turbulent global political situation.
That same year, newspaper Dagsavisen writes that City Hall let its citizens participate in the selection of that year’s Christmas song playlist.
Carillonneur Laura Marie Rueslåtten is in charge of the day-to-day chiming of bells and curating the carillon’s unique playlists.
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On most days, the music you hear will be pre-programmed by her, but she will also perform live up in her tower with regularity, utilizing a special technique of hammering her fists against wooden keys.
“I can play most genres, as long as there’s a melody. Just not hip hop. It’s not well suited for bells”, she tells Dagsavisen.
Oslo City Hall actually offers guided tours to the eastern tower. Here, you can look out on the Oslofjord whilst learning the history of the carillon and witness the playing of the ritornellos first hand.
This is the current playlist (also available on Spotify), due to change on the first of June:
07:00 – Morgenstemning – Edvard Grieg
08:00 – Theme from “Jurassic Park” – John Williams
09:00 – Let’s Rock – Status Quo
10:00 – High Hopes – Tim Scott McConnell
11:00 – Things Have Changed – Bob Dylan
12:00 – On the Turning Away – Pink Floyd
13:00 – Oxygene VI – Jean Michel Jarre
14:00 – A Little Bit of Good – John Kander, “Chicago”
15:00 – Twist in My Sobriety – Tanita Tikaram
16:00 – Is This Love – Whitesnake
17:00 – Jesus to a Child – George Michael
18:00 – I Wanna Be Sedated – The Ramones
19:00 – While My Guitar Gently Weeps – George Harrison
20:00 – All That Jazz – John Kander, “Chicago”
21:00 – I See Fire – Ed Sheeran (Kygo remix)
22:00 – Sail to the Moon – Radiohead
23:00 – The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
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