Three and a half years, that’s how long it’s been since I listened to the last Rachmaninov piece for the classical list (The Isle of the Dead). It feels like I start a lot of these classical music posts with a similar sort of sentiment, but wow this list is taking a while. Probably should listen to more than one a week if I want to make proper headway.
So let’s get to The Bells a choral symphony – based on a Russian adaptation of an Edgar Allen Poe poem of the same name – in four movements. Each movement is based on a verse of the poem, which get darker and darker as the piece progresses and feature different sets of vocalists.
We start with sleigh bells (which was my favourite because it was remotely Christmassy) and then get to a darker more melancholy piece which, on first listen, had a repeated section that reminded me of ‘Moon River’. Most interesting of the bunch are the penultimate set of bells. This movement, where the male voices take over, it titled ‘The Loud Alarm Bells’ and that’s a pretty accurate summation of how it sounds. Actually makes for a more effective contrast when the pieces ends on the downbeat of the ‘The Mournful Iron Bells’.