Nebozvon (Skybell) by Aristarkh Lentulov, 1919
One of the best parts of the Christmas season for me is the wonderful concerts that are offered. It's a smorgasbord of sound that can be overwhelming and impossible to fit on one plate. Sometimes I wish I could take a goodie bag home and open up some of these wonderful evenings in January, or even March, when I could use some cheering up.

Anyway, last week some friends invited us for dinner followed by a handbell concert. (Both were excellent.) The musical selections at the concert were varied and included a version of Fum, Fum, Fum that showcases snappy sound and some fancy mallet work. But the standout for me was a piece entitled "Christmas Eve Sarajevo, 12/24." Having written several blogs on  "The Cellist of Sarajevo" last summer, I was immediately intrigued. The music interweaves "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" with "The Carol of the Bells" and the opening strains are an homage to the cellist who inspired the book. The ending is a tintinnabulation (what a great word!) that's exciting and triumphant, and a whole lot of fun to watch in person as ringers scramble back and forth to make sure each note is sounded. I loved the piece so much I went home and bought it, and then had to figure out how to upload it onto Youtube so I could share it on the blog. This version is from the Raleigh Ringers.

Since I can't pair the music with a good dinner, I chose the first of four sections of a poem by Edgar Allen Poe entitled "The Bells" as an appetizer. Notice the unusual indentation, so specific a placement that it reminds me of the care used by the ringers in setting out their various bells and chimes at the concert. And who can't be caught up by the infectious rhyme scheme -  onomatopoetic perfection. The painting "Nebozvon", by Russian artist, Aristarkh Lentulov with his cacophany of color, adds a perfectly flavored garnish. Enjoy~

The Bells
by Edgar Allen Poe

   Hear the sledges with the bells--         
      Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
       How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
           In the icy air of night!
       While the stars that oversprinkle
       All the heavens, seem to twinkle
           With a crystalline delight;
         Keeping time, time, time,
         In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
    From the bells, bells, bells, bells,          
              Bells, bells, bells--
  From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

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