The Bath-Alkmaar barrel organ (yes, as we repeatedly say, it’s really a barrel piano) is on its return home to Alkmaar. It was unexpectedly rather poignant.

Richard and Tom Dean, from Dean Organ Builders, who helped us two years ago unpack the instrument, and then brought it back into good playing order, were back to give it a re-tune and adjustment so that it would be playing at least reasonably accurately when it returns to the Netherlands.

It has been a delight and a privilege to have this humble, venerable (and rather rackety) barrel organ in Bath for the past two years, back where it twanged and bonged its way into the history of Bath and Alkmaar.

It is sad that Covid and lockdowns prevented more people from seeing it in person, but we were able to record all its ten tunes for posterity, and to have fun on a number of occasions, both online and in person.

You can hear the tunes here.

Thanks to all who contributed to covering the costs of having the barrel organ here with us, who helped with the transport and arrangements to look after it while in Bath, and to the Mayor of Alkmaar, who kindly and officially lent it to the Mayor of Bath to mark 75 years of the link between our two historic cities.

The little instrument has to make its way back home safely next week, and then has one more duty to perform: to play in a benefit concert ‘Circle of Music’ in Alkmaar’s Great Church (Grote Kerk) on May 21st. The proceeds will be donated to the foodbank Alkmaar.

After that, its final bow, it can take a well-deserved rest.

Victory Circle of Music