Ring of Fire Concerto (5-7 octaves handbells with orchestra): III. Ring of Fire


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RING OF FIRE: CONCERTO FOR HANDBELL CHOIR AND ORCHESTRA – Kevin McChesney – 5-7 octave handbells with orchestra – Level VI

The vision behind Ring of Fire, Concerto for Handbell Choir and Orchestra, is to bring the handbell choir fully into the view of a wide concert audience as a musical instrument of much expressive intricacy and power. The solo part for handbell choir is virtuoso music and it is hoped that this piece will inspire higher achievement in handbell ringing and composing, and will offer a wide-ranging audience an appreciation of this versatile instrument.

The music of the three movements has a central theme of creation. The subtitles – Heaven and Earth, The Sea, and Fire – are the four main elements of life and creation common to many mythologies and religions throughout history. Handbells themselves are cast from a form of these elements – earth and metal, oils and water, air and fire for molding and tempering – so a connection to the creation theme seemed natural. The main titles are also related to a creation theme, portraying first the rhythm and dance of the fires of creation, second the peace of fire, and finally the explosive energy of fire.

It is no exaggeration to say that this landmark work owes its existence to the Pikes Peak Ringers (http://www.pikespeakringers.org), directed by Kevin McChesney. They have performed the work numerous times with various orchestras and their energy and dedication have breathed life, significance, and passion into the piece. A debt is also owed to Jason Wells, director of the group Ring of Fire (http://www.rof.org), the original inspiration for the Concerto. Mr. Wells graciously and enthusiastically embraced Pikes Peak Ringers’ work on the Concerto, and PPR owes an incredible life adventure to that generosity.

The work is available both as handbells/orchestra and handbells/piano reduction (4 hands), with each movement as a separate product. Each product’s license grants the purchaser permission to make the copies necessary to perform the movement.

I. RHYTHM OF FIRE or Heaven and Earth
Instrumentation: 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in Bb, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in Bb or C, Timpani, Harp, Handbells (5-7 octaves), Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Violoncello, Contrabass

II. SEA OF FIRE or The Sea
Instrumentation: 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in Bb, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in Bb or C, Harp, Handbells (5-7 octaves), Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Violoncello, Contrabass

Instrumentation: 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in Bb, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in Bb or C, Timpani, Percussion (2-3 players: Snare Drum, Triangle, Suspended Cymbal, Tubular Bells, Glockenspiel, Xylophone), 2 Harps (Harp 2 optional), Handbells (5-7 octaves), Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Violoncello, Contrabass

Remember to report public performances to ASCAP as required by law. Also, please send programs from performances to Sonology Music.





Handbell Choir: Octaves

Handbell Choir: Difficulty

Handbells: Additional Instrumentation


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