The Clock and the Dresden Figurespiano with orchestra                                             Back to list of works index

 

This work was first performed from manuscript parts on 8th February 1930, and reached the recording studio on 27th of the same month – before the sheet music was available.   It is indicative of Ketèlbey’s standing at the time that he was able to synchronise issue of the recording with publication of the music.

 

Composer’s synopsis

Two Dresden-China Figures standing on each side of a Clock come to life and dance to the ticking of the Clock; after a while the Clock goes wrong, the spring breaks suddenly and the two figure rush back to their former positions.

 

Artists

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Ketèlbey, Concert O

Columbia DX 27

WAX 5420

12” 78

[Apr 30] rec.Feb 30

May 30 p.564

BL, PD,  (TM CAS)

     Re-issue

- Columbia Cinema Service YBX 20

WAXD 39

12” 33

[Mar 31]

     Re-issue

- Pearl GEMM CD 9968

CD

1992

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Evergreen Melodies C 62

CD

[1999]

PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Naxos 8.110174

CD

2001

NX, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Living Era CD AJA 5601

CD

2006

LMS summer 06

New Empire O

Decca K 523

MA 1455-3

12” 78

[Aug 30]               

Oct 30 p.234

     Re-issue

- Decca K 560

12” 78

excerpt  

BL

Ernest Leggett’s O

Sterno 511

?

10” 78

[Nov 30]

Athenaeum Light O               

Piccadilly 651

2xx 3988

10” 78

[?Jan 31]

ad.Feb 31

(TM CAS)

     Re-issue

- Synchrophone 153

XX 3988

 

[ca.1931]

 

 

Frank Westfield's O

Parlophone E 6379               

?

[Jan 31]

Ferdy Kauffman & his Light O

HMV C 2116

CDR 8936-II or ?62-743

12” 78

[Mar 31]

Apr 31 p.543

BL, WC

     Re-issue

- Electrola EH 598               

CDR 8936-2

12” 78(German)

MMU

WC

Rochester Pops O, Gould

Columbia CL 560

 

10” LP

[1954]

 

 

     Re-issue

- Columbia AL 47

(American)

10” LP

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Philips SO 6605R

(Dutch)

10” LP

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Philips GO 6605R

(French)

10” LP

[1959]

 

WC

Vienna State Opera O, Armando Aliberti

Westminster WP 6082

 

LP

rec.June 57

 

(TM CD)

     Re-issue

- Sonotape SWB 7027

 

2-track tape

1958

 

 

Leslie Pearson, Philharmonia O, Lanchbery

EMI ASD 3542

LP

1978

July 78 p.261

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Angel S 37483

(American)

LP

1978

 

 

     Re-issue

- Hörzu 1C 05702986Q

(German)

LP

?

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Angel SS 45012

(American)

EP

1979

 

 

     Re-issue

- Voz de su Amo 10C 265002986Q

(Spanish)

CAS

[1980]

 

WC

     Re-issue    

- Voix de son maître 2C 2692986

(French)

CAS

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Angel CDC 7478062

 

CD

[1987]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- CD-CFP 4637

CD

1993

Mar 94 p.114

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- TC-CFP 4637

 

CAS

1993

Mar 94 p.114

 

     Re-issue

- EMI 50112920

(Japanese remastering)

CD

1994 [2007?]

 

TM

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 5730002

(German)

CD

[1998]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- HMV 5724852

CD

1998

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 0724 3573 00056

 

CD

[1999]

 

NX

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 0742 3573 00155

 

CD

[1999]

 

NX

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 0094 6352 39959

 

CD

[2006]

 

NX

Michael Reeves, London Promenade O, Faris

Philips 6514 152

LP

1982

Apr 82 p.1423

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- Philips 7337152

 

CAS

1982

Apr 82 p.1423

WC

     Re-issue

- Philips 400 011-2

CD

1982

Apr 83 p.1152

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Decca/Universal 473 720-2    

CD

2003

June 03 p.50

BL, PD

Czecho-Slovak Radio SO, Leaper

Marco Polo 8.223442

CD

1992

Apr 94 p.48

BL, NX, PD, TM

Palm Court Theatre O, Anthony Godwin

Chandos FBCD 2002

CD

1998

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

Chandos CHAN 6676

 

CD

 

 

NX

International Concert O

HMV

 

12” 78

?

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Gramophone L 867

 

12” 78

?

 

WC

Salon-O Ricardo

Ultraphon A 617, A 623

15220

10” 78

? (by 1931)

MMU

WC

?

Regal

?

10” 78

?

ad. in sheet music

Ketèlbey’s own recording and the Kaufman version can both be heard at http://www.mgthomas.co.uk/Soundfiles/Orchestral/Soundfiles-Orchestral.htm

 

In the published parts, three different sources suggest metronome marks of crotchet=120, ca.124 and 126 respectively.  Nearly all the recordings have their clocks running at this typical clock speed of two ticks a second.  The exception is Ketèlbey’s own recording, taken much faster at crotchet=140.  The Athenaeum Light Orchestra has two short cuts, totalling 24 bars.  At one point the piano has an 8-bar ossia passage (arpeggios instead of melody), which is taken by half the pianists (Ketèlbey, Pearson, Godwin).   Faris uses a saxophone part absent from the original scoring.

 

There are minor differences in sound effects – the clock chiming four is usually played by a glockenspiel on the note D, but Anthony Godwin has a tubular bell, while Leaper has a very small bell playing F sharp.  Ketèlbey’s clock goes tick-tick rather than tick-tock.  The sound of the clock-spring breaking is usually effected by a rattle, but side drum, maracas and sandpaper may also be heard; to my ear the best effect comes in the Lanchbery recording, where it sounds like a metal ruler being twanged over the edge of desk.

 

The recording by Aliberti is also listed on the sleeve of the World Record Club re-issue (TP 359), but is not included in those copies of the actual disc I’ve found. He uses both the piano and xylophone solo parts, though not always at the same time. 

 

 

The Clock and the Dresden Figures – with xylophone solo

 

The xylophone was published as an alternative to piano some time after the original publication date.  Perhaps it was linked to the Jack Simpson recording, but there the soloist varies the text considerably, including more repeated notes.

 

Medium

Artists

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

With dance band

Jack Simpson      

HMV B 4351

OB 4479-2

10” 78

[Feb 33]

Feb 33 p.364

BL, TM, (TM CD)

With brass band

Desford Colliery Dowty Band, Snell

Polyphonic Reproductions DPRL 001D

 

1986

BL

 

Re-issue

- Music for Pleasure MFP 5782

 

 

1987

VLM Aut.89

BL

With orchestra

Paul-Godwin-Künstler-Orchester, “La pendule et les figurines de porcelaine de Saxe

Grammophon 23568

11971/2BTii

10” 78

?

MMU (German)

WC

Dempsey names Simpson’s accompaniment as New Mayfair Orchestra, conducted by Roy Noble.  Sometimes a piano supports the soloist.  This clock ticks at an amazing 172 ticks a minute!

 

In Paul Godwin’s version, the solo part is mainly taken by celeste and xylophone, but some material is redistributed among the woodwind, and the accompaniment is also slightly revised.  He makes 2 cuts, each of 8 bars.

 

 

 The Clock and the Dresden Figures – piano unaccompanied

 

Artists

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Archive

Dario Muller

Dynamic CDS 7684

 

CD

2014

 

NX

 

Themodist Full Scale 30592b

roll

PD

mr12

 

 

The Clock and the Dresden Figures – song

 

Artists

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Dora Lou (voice, with piano, guitar), “La pendule et les porcelains de Saxe” (words J. Racaille)

Gorgone GP 0391, 812241, 590065

(French)

CD

1991

 

WC, (TM mp3)

Dora Lou tells a charming story.  The guitar adds some unsettling glissandos, particularly when the spring breaks.

 

webpage updated 8 Jan 2017