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

Country

Date

Gramophone Review

Locations

Ketèlbey, Albert W. Ketelbey’s Concert Orchestra

Columbia DX 27

WAX 5420

12” 78

UK

[Apr 30] rec.Feb 30

May 30 p.564

BL, PD,  (TM CAS)

     Re-issue

- Columbia Cinema Service YBX 20

WAXD 39

12” 33

UK

[Mar 31]

     Re-issue

- Pearl GEMM CD 9968

CD

UK

1992

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Evergreen Melodies C 62

CD

UK

[1999]

PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Naxos 8.110174

CD

UK

2001

NX, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Living Era CD AJA 5601

CD

UK

2006

LMS summer 06

Paul Godwin Orchestra

Polydor 23568

C 40239

10” 78

Europe

[1930]

 

 

New Empire Orchestra

Decca K 523

MA 1455-3

12” 78

UK

[Aug 30]               

Oct 30 p.234

     Re-issue

- Decca K 560

12” 78

UK

excerpt  

BL

Ernest Leggett’s Orchestra

Sterno 511

s 971

10” 78

UK

[Nov 30]

Athenaeum Light Orchestra, Adlington             

Piccadilly 651

2xx 3988

10” 78

UK

[?Jan 31]

ad.Feb 31

(TM CAS)

     Re-issue

- Synchrophone 153

XX 3988

10” 78

UK

[ca.1931]

 

 

     Re-issue Synchrophone Novelty Orchestra (=Argosy Light Orchestra?)

- Octacros 153

3988

10” 78

UK

[1934]

 

 

     Re-issue Synchrophone Novelty Orchestra

- Octacros 1291

3988

10” 78

UK

[1936]

 

 

Frank Westfield's Orchestra

Parlophone E 6379      

?

UK

[Jan 31]

Ferdy Kauffman (Kaufmann) & his Light Orchestra

HMV C 2116

CDR 8936-II or ?62-743

12” 78

UK

[Mar 31]

Apr 31 p.543

BL, TM, TMmp3, WC

     Re-issue

- Electrola EH 598        

CDR 8936-2

12” 78

Germany

MMU

WC

Rochester Pops Orchestra, Gould

Columbia CL 560

 

10” LP

US

[1954]

 

 

     Re-issue

- Columbia AL 47

 

10” LP

US

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Philips GO 6605R

 

10” LP

France

[1959]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Coronet KLL 002

 

10” LP

Australia

 

 

 

Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Aliberti

Westminster WP 6082

 

LP

US

[1958]rec.June 57

 

(TM CD)

     Re-issue

- Sonotape SWB 7027

 

2-track tape

 

1958

 

 

Leslie Pearson, Philharmonia Orchestra, Lanchbery

EMI ASD 3542

LP

UK

1978

July 78 p.261

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Angel S 37483

 

LP

US

1978

 

 

     Re-issue

- Hörzu 1C 05702986Q

 

LP

Germany

1978

 

WC

     Re-issue

- His Master’s Voice TC-ASD 3542

 

CAS

UK

1978

 

 

     Re-issue

- Angel S 37483

 

LP

US

1978

 

 

     Re-issue

- EMI 26 1370

 

LP

Germany

1978

 

 

     Re-issue

- World Record Club R-05771

 

LP

Australia

1979

 

 

     Re-issue

- Angel SS 45012

 

EP

US

1979

 

 

     Re-issue

- His Master’s Voice 1546401

 

LP

Sweden

 1983

 

 

     Re-issue

- Richmond B 20083

 

LP

US

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Angel EAC-80451

 

LP

Japan

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Voz de su Amo 10C 265002986Q

 

CAS

Spain

[1980]

 

WC

     Re-issue    

- Voix de son maître 2C 2692986

 

CAS

France

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Angel CDC 7478062

 

CD

US

[1987]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- EMI 7243 5730 025

 

CD

UK

1990

 

 

     Re-issue

- EMI CDM 253 8402

 

CD

Netherlands

1992

 

 

     Re-issue

- EMI 7234 5680 6122

 

CD

UK

1993

 

 

     Re-issue

- CD-CFP 4637

 

CD

UK

1993

Mar 94 p.114

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- TC-CFP 4637

 

CAS

 

1993

Mar 94 p.114

 

     Re-issue

- EMI 50112920

 

CD

Japan?

1994 [2007?]

 

TM

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 7243 5730 0124

 

CD

Netherlands

1998

 

 

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 5730002

 

CD

Germany

[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

     Re-issue

- Angel HCD-1353

 

CD

Japan

 

 

 

Michael Reeves, London Promenade Orchestra, Faris

Philips 6514 152

LP

UK

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

UK

1982

Apr 83 p.1152

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Decca/Universal 473 720-2             

CD

UK

2003

June 03 p.50

BL, PD

     Re-issue cond. Myers “La pendule et les figurines de Saxe”

Mon Patrioine Musical

 

mp3

France

2019

 

 

Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leaper

Marco Polo 8.223442

CD

UK

1992

Apr 94 p.48

BL, NX, PD, TM

Palm Court Theatre Orchestra, Anthony Godwin

Chandos FBCD 2002

CD

UK

1998

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

Chandos CHAN 6676

 

CD

UK

 

 

NX

?Re-issue of unidentified recording

Yesterday’s Music C 171

 

CD

UK

2018

 

 

International Concert Orchestra

HMV

 

12” 78

 

?

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Gramophone L 867

 

12” 78

 

?

 

WC

Salon-Orchester Ricardo

Ultraphon A 617, A 623

15220

10” 78

Germany

? (by 1931)

MMU

WC

 

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

Kauffman is also at www.albertketelbey.org.uk/mp3/clock%20and%20dresden%20figures%20-%20Kauffman.mp3

 

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 strings on Leggett’s recording are very much in the background.  The glockenspiel is out of tune, and the spring doesn’t break.  Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQXvQbQgFek

 

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 or unspecified

 

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

Country

Date

Gramophone Review

Locations

With orchestra

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

Grammophon 23568

11971/2BTii,

C 40239

10” 78

Germany

[1930]

MMU

WC

With dance band

Jack Simpson               

HMV B 4351

OB 4479-2

10” 78

UK

[Feb 33]

Feb 33 p.364

BL, TM, (TM CD)

With wind band

39e Régiment d’Infanterie Revoil (solo instrument not specified)

Corelia CC 81302

 

LP

France

1981

 

 

With brass band

Desford Colliery Dowty Band, Snell

Polyphonic Reproductions DPRL 001D

 

UK

1986

BL

 

Re-issue

- Music for Pleasure MFP 5782

 

 LP

UK

1987

VLM Aut.89

BL

With brass band

Eikanger-Bjorsvik Band, cond. Snell (arr. Snell)

Bocchino BOCC 106

 

CD

UK

2006

 

 

With brass band

Brass Band Berner Oberland, Bach

feiyr.com

 

web

Switzerland

2012

 

 

 

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 Eikanger-Bjorsvik Band has solo xylophone, glockenspiel and marimba. Their delightful performance with its spectacular breaking of the spring can be heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u75np1UdFX4

An incomplete clip of the Berner Oberland band is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeZy2-3347Y

 

 

The Clock and the Dresden Figures – piano unaccompanied

 

Artists

Label

Format

Country

Date

Review

Locations

Archive

Dario Muller

Dynamic CDS 7684

CD

 

2014

 

NX

 

Markus Staab

private recording

web

Germany

2017

 

 

 

Themodist Full Scale 30592b

roll

 

?

PD

mr12

-

1910 Push-up 65/88 Note Pianola

roll

 

?

 

 

 


Listen to the pianola roll at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8igZJJkMg6M.  The performance of the spring breaking is very disappointing.

Staab can be heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voXG_zPZYXw

Muller’s recording is in a collection called “Magic Boxes,” allowing him a more flexible rhythm than strict clockwork.

 

 

The Clock and the Dresden Figures – song

 

Artists

Label

Format

Country

Date

Review

Locations

Dora Lou (Annick Hemon voice, Dominique Ponty piano, Cyril Lefebvre guitar), “La pendule et les porcelains de Saxe” (words J. Racaille)

Gorgone GP 0391, 812241, 590065

CD

France

1991

 

WC, (TM mp3)

     Re-issue

- ADDA 590065

CD

France

1991

 

 

     Re-issue

- WSP Ephémère WWCP 7111

CD

Japan

 

 

 

 

Dora Lou paints a charming picture: if the figurines and toys can dance at night, why shouldn’t real people dance during the day? The guitar adds some unsettling glissandos, particularly when the spring breaks.

Hear them at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhl5fdOMPfA

 

webpage updated 13 Sept  2021