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ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID'S CITY - Henry J. Gauntlett/arr. Scott Pfitzinger - 3-6 octave handbells - Level IV
This Christmas hymn was originally written to explain part of the Apostles' Creed about the birth of Jesus. Arranged for 3-6 octaves of handbells, this arrangement begins very traditionally, but quickly morphs into a jazzy, rhythmic setting that, while not swung, is definitely syncopated. Two key changes keep the momentum building all the way to the end. Definitely a crowd pleaser for any Christmas concert.
THE HANDBELL COMPENDIUM - Michael Jedamzik
The Handbell Compendium covers various aspects of handbells. You may download this book legally here for free.
II. SONG WITHOUT WORDS (FROM THE SECOND SUITE IN F) - Gustav Holst/trans. Scott Pfitzinger - 3-5 octave handbells with optional 3-6 octave handchimes - Level III
A slow, beautiful song that's sure to touch the hearts of your audience. If you have the necessary chimes, you can play it as written, mostly on chimes, but with the melody on bells. It also works fine on all bells.
III. "SONG OF THE BLACKSMITH" (FROM THE SECOND SUITE IN F) - Gustav Holst/trans. Scott Pfitzinger - 4-5 octave handbells - Level IV
A short, quick, slightly dissonant piece that featured an actual anvil in the original version. A C8 substitutes, but any metallic anvil sound can be used if necessary. It's a big crescendo that ends with a most triumphant Picardy third.
SECOND SUITE IN F - Gustav Holst/trans. Scott Pfitzinger - 3-7 octave handbells with optional 3-6 octave handchimes - Levels III-V
One of Gustav Holst's most famous compositions, the Second Suite in F for Military Band is a staple of college and high school symphonic bands. This transcription carefully re-creates the sounds, colors, textures, and moods of the original using only bells and optional chimes, with no other instruments. Each movement is a gem, and together they are a real treasure, sure to please any audience.
I. MARCH (FROM THE SECOND SUITE IN F) - Gustav Holst/trans. Scott Pfitzinger - 3-7 octave handbells with optional 3 octave handchimes - Level V
A variety of techniques, crossing bell/chime lines, and fun 6/8 middle section make this march a challenge to play, but the fun makes it all worthwhile.
IV. FANTASIA ON THE "DARGASON" (FROM THE SECOND SUITE IN F) - Gustav Holst/trans. Scott Pfitzinger - 5-6 octave handbells with optional 5 octave handchimes - Level V
The 'Dargason' is an English folk tune that goes back to the 16th century. The tune is carried continually in one voice or another throughout this entire fantasia, despite all the variations in treatment that occur. With Greensleeves (What Child Is This?) interspersed throughout, this makes a great Christmas selection, as well. A fitting conclusion to a wonderful suite!