Some thoughts to composers wanting to write an orchestral celesta part into their scores…
It is one of the few genuinely ineffectual instruments (the Clavichord is another) that even the most aggressive approach will fail to draw out anything more than a soft mezzo-forte. It is of the same family as those dreams where you’re trying to run away from/to something and can’t seem to make much progress. It’s infuriating.
Following this tangent briefly, I rarely was able to get very far when dreaming about being near my home – usually once it was out of eyesight I’d get distracted or something.
Back on track. Yes the celesta seems to suck in more noise than it produces, even from a purely percussive standpoint. Though let’s not stand there as it’s probably self-explanatory. Laws of conservation of energy aside, if you are a composer and you think that doubling the brass section on celesta at pitches some 74 octaves overhead will prove effective, please keep firmly in mind what inaudibility sounds like. And if the celesta player realises they can’t be heard they will judge you!
Actually I doubt there are pure celestists out there. Let’s check!
Ok a brief google search for the following terms and what I learned:
Celestists: Apparently this word has no anagrams. Rather strange for such a good vowel/consonant ratio. But these are tough times.
Celesta Concerto: There is actually a recent (2010) concerto for celesta and chamber orchestra by Elliot Gyger. Understandably lots of pianissimo for the orchestra
Celesta Players: Apparently an amateur theatre group in Didsbury!
Celesta Virtuoso: Nothing related to the concept of a virtuosic celesta player. There may be an iphone app or something.
So there you have it! No-one has been game enough to base their career on a mechanical set of quiet tuning forks.
We have learned something worthwhile today.