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The Bells of Christmas / Pugsley, Gloriae Dei Ringers


Release Date: 11/09/2010 
Label:  Paraclete Recordings   Catalog #: 122   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William James KirkpatrickGeorges BizetGustav HolstPaul McKleevn,   ... 
Performer:  Patrick Clark
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Listen to audio samples for Ding Dong! Merrily on High and In the Bleak Mid-Winter (links open new windows; samples require Windows Media Player to play).

Nothing evokes Christmas like bells – ringing from a church steeple, accompanying a sleigh ride, or adorning evergreens. In this best-selling album, reissued at mid-price just in time for the season, the Christmas spirit is joyfully expressed through beloved carols
Read more performed on six-and-a-half octave set of Malmark handbells. The Gloriae Dei Ringers include old favorites in new arrangements, as well as original handbell works.

The Bells of Christmas is a new edition of the bestselling holiday recording, Hear them Ring. Featured are beloved favorites such as Away in a Manger,March of the Kings and In the Bleak Midwinter arranged by some of today's best known handbell specialists and composers. Described as "dynamically explosive" by the American Record Guide, the Gloriae Dei Ringers perform a diverse and expanding repertoire of original handbell compositions as well as classical arrangements. The Gloriae Dei Ringers, a sparkling and sonorous performing ensemble of young musicians, have dazzled audiences around the world including the US, Russia, Siberia, Italy, Finland and Switzerland.

"These virtuosi of metal and mallet positively palpitate with imagination and their arrangements are the ne plus ultra of shimmering, quivering pulsating pulchritude. The arrangement by Frances Legge Callahan summoning up twangy sonorities and pedal notes, a delicious range of colors including plucking and martellato effects. There are eleven players in this plucky Massachusetts group directed by Richard K Pugsley... they use 79 Malmark handbells (of 6 1/2 octaves). Twas Christmas Eve receives a rather suggestive reading that ends in Renaissance dignity whilst the witty coloration of The Twelve Days of Christmas is full of pitch extremes and glittering sonorities, like stars exploding. Away in a Manger is saturated in impressionistic ostinato; if you think handbells are inflexible creatures listen to the dynamic variance cultivated by these patrician East Coast ringers. They wouldn't rouse a butterfly's eyelids with the spectral quiescence of their Malmarks. A Flight of Angels is rhythmically novel; the sound of mallet on bell is distinctive as elsewhere the piping of shepherds in Shepherds, Watching is conveyed through simplicity and delicacy. Altogether their ensemble is metaltight, the sonorities they conjure full of lithe and pleasurable novelty."
—Jonathan Woolf, Musicweb-international.com

"The Gloriae Dei Ringers perform with a set of 79 bells covering 6 1/2 octaves. They are based in Massachusetts, but have toured in both eastern and western Europe, including Russia. This disc consists of arrangements of familiar Christmas carols as well as some original compositions for hand-bell choir by composers such as Donald Allured, Dale Jergenson, and Judy Hunnicutt. The performances are virtuosic, considering the teamwork essential to coherent ensemble in this medium. The program displays the wide variety of sounds that can be obtained from the bells through such techniques as plucking, martellato playing, and striking with mallets."
—William Gatens, American Record Guide

"From the Red Kettle Santas to the midnight call from the steeple, bells are a part of Christmas. This recording of Gloriae Dei's 11 musicians with their six-and-a-half-octave handbells goes beyond the usual arrangements of carols to transcriptions weaving dissonances and descants, the very highest and lowest tones, even the use of mallets on the bells to produce an intriguing and beautiful concert. In Twas Christmas Eve,Paul McKlveen pairs Let All Mortal Flesh with God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. A Flight of Angels is Dale Jergenson's composition specifically for the bells, as is Donald Allured's Bellfest."
—Patricia Nakamura, The Living Church
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Works on This Recording

1.
Away in a manger by William James Kirkpatrick
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 5 Minutes 32 Secs. 
2.
L'arlésienne: Marche des rois by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; France 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
3.
In the bleak mid-winter by Gustav Holst
Performer:  Patrick Clark (Flute)
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1906; England 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 4 Minutes 59 Secs. 
4.
Twas Christmas Eve by Paul McKleevn
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 4 Minutes 34 Secs. 
5.
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Traditional
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Written: England 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 5 Minutes 0 Secs. 
6.
What child is this? by Traditional
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 
7.
Carols in Colors by Donald E. Allured
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 6 Minutes 45 Secs. 
8.
Good Christian men, rejoice by Traditional
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Written: Germany 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
9.
A Flight of Angels by Dale Jergenson
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
10.
Bellfest by Donald E. Allured
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 5 Minutes 50 Secs. 
11.
Lully, lulla, thow littel tyne child "Coventry Carol" by Traditional
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 34 Secs. 
12.
Ding Dong! Merrily on high by Traditional
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; France 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
13.
Masters in this hall by Traditional
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Written: France 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
14.
Shepherds, Watching by Judy Hunnicutt
Conductor:  Richard J. Pugsley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Ringers
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 

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