The Bells (Grade 4)

 

The Bells was commissioned by Paul Bakner and the East Stroudsburg High School North Bands and premiered by that group in the spring fo 2011.  The piece is divided into three sections, the first a dark chorale introduced initially by the horns and developed throughout the ensemble.  After a lengthy solo horn cadenza, the second section begins.  This one is much faster and involves moving eighth note lines that dovetail throughout the ensemble (somewhat inspired by Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which I happened to be conducting at the time!).  In the climactic section, the chorale theme returns over the top of a repeated second section.  The piece calls for optional ship's bells to be placed in the rear of the auditorium.  This was actually a rather late addition compositionally, but its use makes an enormous addition to the overall effectiveness of the piece.