Where Have Those Bells Got To?

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
4 minutes
Modern classical music
Large mixed ensemble
Instrumental parts
Not available

[Parts available on request - please contact the composer]

This piece, composed as part of my second year composition module, is roughly in four sections (although there is no real separation between them, and often the �edges� are intentionally blurred). To begin: a horn fanfare figure, intended to be bold and decisive, even in this relatively small chamber ensemble. This is quickly, but almost imperceptibly, joined by other layers of sound, and soon consumed by these ensuing textures. A dialogue of sorts is entered into between the piano, and the horn and trombone, over this rippling layer of sound. A sense of urgency now begins to take over the piece, with the music growing in dynamic and intensity. The remnant of the rippling sound are all that emerges at the end of this first section. Yet more prominent brass parts begin the second section. These elements are again quickly joined by the rest of the ensemble, but in a far less subtle fashion. Tricky cross rhythms in the brass and piano, over insistent bass parts (lower piano and �cellos), build up to a frenzy that is short lived. The fanfare material returns in the short third section, this time with a fierce (in the context of the ensemble) accompaniment. Once again this is swallowed up, with the melody being mimicked in other parts. The final, more reflective section begins over a low piano ripple; the horn has a final attempt at its opening fanfare figure, and the vibraphone picks up on this melody for its own melancholy take on it. This section contains a small hiatus in the middle, having got nowhere really, and the piece concludes with a resolved, but nevertheless insistent, exploration of what has gone before.

People have asked me what the title of the piece refers to, and my answer would have to be: those who know what it means are already �in the know�, and those who do not know will just have to wonder.

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