The Klima-Glocken (Climate Bells) by Klaus Wüsthoff


In 2016 the Berlin composer Klaus Wüsthoff wrote a short piece for carillon called Klima-Glocken (Climate Bells). Wüsthoff had taken lessons in counterpoint with the composer Hans Vogt, studied music with Boris Blacher and Reinhard Schwarz-Schilling at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, worked as producer and director of dance music at the RIAS radio station in Berlin and was employed for two years as composer for the Schiller Theater and Schloßpark Theater. Following that he has worked as a free-lance composer. He has written two operas, seven musicals, 35 pieces of orchestral music and concertos, choral music and chamber music as well as jazz, music for brass, and film music for documentaries. In 1992 he was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande.
The widespread concern about global warming and the continually increasing effects of climate change continues to grow. After he talked to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber Wüsthoff became worried whether the changes in the environment would provide future generations with a suitable habitat and decided to express his concern by composing the piece Climate Bells which uses the leitmotif of his orchestral work Die Regentrude is based on a fairy tale by Theodor Storm geht es sinnbildlich um die Themen industriell verursachter Feuer und deren zerstörerischer Kraft sowie die Bedeutung eines ausgeglichenen Klimas für Mensch und Natur. According to him the Climate Bells for carillon are meant to remind the general public about the their responsibility for the climate and the necessity of realizing the goal of restricting global warming to not more than two degrees centigrade as set out by the various international political bodies and agreements. It employs the leitmotif of the symphonic poem after Theodor Storm's fairy tale. It reminds everyone on their individual responsibility regarding the climate change and urges them to work towards limiting it. The „Regentrude“ fairy tale ends happily with the marriage of a young couple. The leitmotif of the „Regentrude“ embodies their fertility like the falling rain and symbolizes the hope that the environmental goals can be achieved.

On October 12, 2017 Jeffrey Bossin performed the Climate Bells on the Carillon in Berlin-Tiergarten to mark the international conference on the effects of climate change, the Impacts World 2017, held by the Potsdam-Institut Klimafolgenforschung  (PIK) from October 11 - 13 in Potsdam. According to a press release bells are rung to help preserve the climate - this should help to call attention to the dramatic and uncontrollable aftereffects of global warming caused by humanity, a plea directed at each and every individual....The bells will be played for the first time on the Potsdam chimes on October 13 at 12 noon after a prayer for peace by Pastor Cornelia Radeke-Engst. Following that carilloneurs in many German cities will play a short version of the "Climate Bells" in order to spread the message. The campaign reaches its climax in the following month in Bonn where the United Nations summit takes place and thousands of visitors from all over the globe can hear the "Climate Bells" being played on the carillon of the Saint Joseph's Church in Bonn. The "Climate Bells" are part of the official events of the World Climate Conference in Bonn....The concern about the earth's climate applies to everyone – the sound of carillon bells which can be heard a long way, conveys a special meaning and are inspiring for many people are meant to remind them of their responsibility for the climate and the environment. The sound of bells has a special import and people find it moving, whether as a symbol of the passing of time marked by a tower clock, a call to a church service, a warning about a fire or as festive chimes. The carillons with keyboards are special concert instruments whose mannifold possibilities of producing many different types of sounds can be heard during their open air concerts.

  Following these events Bossin programmed a two-octave version of the Climate Bells on the automatic of the Carillon in Berlin-Tiergarten, which was played daily at 12 p.m. and six p.m. until the end of the United Nations Climate Conference in Bonn on November 17. As part of the Climate Strike staged by Fridays for Future in front of the Reichstag in Berlin on September 24, 2021 the Climate Bells will be played by the automatic of the Carillon in Berlin-Tiergarten after the hour strike at 12, 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. One can only hope that humanity manages to stop the gradually emerging effects of climate change!


Jeffrey Bossin and Klaus Wüsthoff in the playing cabin of the Carillon in Berlin-Tiergarten

Click here to hear the
Climate Bells played on the automatic of the Carillon in Berlin-Tiergarten.