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The bells, the bells...

Tom Service on the mystery, magic and music associated with bells.

Tom Service on the mystery, magic and music associated with bells

For thousands of years human life has been accompanied by the sound of bells - calls to prayer, driving away evil spirits, marking the hours and seasons of life - births, marriages, deaths, alarm bells, peace bells, sleigh bells and Christmas bells. Tom looks at the meaning and magic of the sound of bells, and listens to the interpretations and reverberations of bells in music.

Available now

30 minutes

Clip

Music Played

  • The Handbell Ringers of Great Britian

    Sweet Christmas Bells

    • The Handbell Ringers of Great Britian.
    • www.hrgb.org.uk.
  • Johnny Cash / Henry Wadsworth Longfellow / Johnny Marks

    I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

    Performer: Bing Crosby.
    • That Christmas Feeling.
    • MCA.
  • Mykola Leontovych

    Carol of the Bells

    Performer: Mannheim Steamroller.
    • A Fresh Aire Christmas.
    • American Gramaphone.
  • John Foulds

    Holiday Sketches (op.16), no.4; Bells at Coblentz (Moderato pesante, Allegro)

    Performer: BBC Concert Orchestra. Performer: Ronald Corp.
    • Epoch.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    5 Morceaux de fantaisie for piano (Op.3): no.2; Prelude in C sharp minor

    Performer: Nikolai Lugansky.
    • Erato.
  • Henry Purcell

    Rejoice in the Lord alway (Z.49) "Bell anthem"

    Singer: Iestyn Davies. Singer: James Gilchrist. Singer: Neal Davies. Choir: Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge. Orchestra: St John's Sinfonia. Director: Andrew Nethsingha.
    • Chandos.
  • Franz Liszt

    Etudes d'execution transcendante... for piano (S.140), no.3; La Campanella

    Performer: Jorge Bolet.
    • Decca.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Symphony No.8; IV. Toccata colle campanella

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Richard Hickox.
    • Chandos.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    1812 Overture

    Performer: Boston Pops Orchestra. Performer: Arthur Fiedler.
    • DG.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Les Noces

    Performer: MusicAeterna. Performer: Teodor Currentzis.
    • Sony.
  • Mike Oldfield

    Tubular Bells (Theme from the Exorcist)

    • History Of Horror: From Nosferatu To The Sixth Sense.
    • Silva Screen Records.
  • Pierre Boulez

    Repons

    Performer: Ensemble intercontemporain. Performer: Pierre Boulez.
    • DG.
  • Hector Berlioz

    Symphonie fantastique (Op.14); 5th mvt; Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat

    Performer: Anima Aeterna. Performer: Jos van Immerseel.
    • Zig Zag Territories.
  • Richard Wagner

    Parsifal

    Performer: Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele. Performer: Pierre Boulez.
    • DG.
  • Claude Debussy

    Preludes - book 1, no.10; La Cathedrale engloutie

    Performer: Pierre‐Laurent Aimard.
    • DG.
  • Arvo Pärt

    Fur Alina

    Performer: Ralph van Raat.
    • Naxos.
  • Arvo Pärt

    Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten for string orchestra and bell

    Performer: Staatsorchester Stuttgart. Performer: Dennis Russell Davies.
    • ECM.
  • Jonathan Harvey

    Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco

    Performer: Peter Eötvös. Performer: Ensemble intercontemporain.
    • Erato.

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