November 12, 2020
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Quarter of a Century with Friends



Arsise käsikellade ansambel

ERP 9917

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1 Johann Sebastian Bach Siciliano from Flute Sonata No 2 in E-flat major, BWV 1031 2:29
2 Johann Sebastian Bach Air from Orchestral Suite No 3 in D major, BWV 1068 5:25
3 George Frideric Handel Lascia ch’io pianga from Rinaldo 5:08
4 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben from Zaide 5:50
5 Vincenco Bellini Casta diva from Norma 5:02
6 Johann Sebastian Bach – Charles Gounod Ave Maria 3:07
7 Vladimir Vavilov Caccini’s Ave Maria 5:33
8 Giuseppe Verdi Di Provenza il mar, il suol from La traviata 4:20
9 Richard Wagner O Du, Mein Holder Abendstern from Tannhäuser 4:51
10 Georges Bizet Adagietto from L’Arlésienne Suite No 1 2:17
11 Frédéric Chopin Étude in E major,  Op 10 No 3, Tristesse 4:04
12 Johannes Brahms Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, gute Nacht 3:05
13 Tommaso Giordani Caro mio ben 3:33
14 Francisco Tárrega Recuerdos de la Alhambra 6:08
15 Johann Strauss Jr – Josef Strauss Pizzicato Polka 2:38
16 Vittorio Monti Csárdás 4:52

#3 George Frideric Handel. Lascia ch’io pianga, fragm, 2 min 13 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

#6 Johann Sebastian Bach – Charles Gounod. Ave Maria, fragm, 2 min 27 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

#13 Tommaso Giordani. Caro mio ben, fragm, 1 min 23 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

Total time 68:26

Performed by Ensemble Arsis (#1−12, 15, 16), Ivo Posti (#3), Kristel Pärtna (#4, 5), Rémi Boucher (#7, 13, 14), Rauno Elp (#8, 9), Oliver Kuusik (#12), Mikk Mäe (#13). Artistic director Aivar Mäe.

Engineered by Tanel Klesment
Liner notes by Kaisa Luik
Photos by Viljo Pettinen
Design by Mart Kivisild
Produced by Peeter Vähi

ERP 9917
℗ + © 2017 Arsis, Estonian Record Productions (Tallinn)

“When we started in 1993, we were the only handbell players not only in Estonia, but in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries as well. Today, there are eight players in the ensemble. We have two handbell schools with 300 pupils and several youth ensembles. We have given over 1000 concerts, recorded 8 CDs, toured in practically all the continents and we have one of the best handbell sets at our disposal, made by the Malmark Bellcraftsmen in the United States. We are grateful and happy for our many friends who appreciate, support and love us!”


Estonian composers and arrangers: Tõnu Kõrvits, René Eespere, Arvo Pärt, Peeter Vähi and Vahur Soonberg
Soloists: Toomas Vavilov (clarinet), Heldur Harry Põlda (boy soprano), Ivo Posti (countertenor), Rémi Boucher (guitar), Mikk Mäe (pop-singer) and soloists of the  Estonian National Opera – Kristel Pärtna (soprano), Rauno Elp (baritone), Oliver Kuusik (tenor)
Concert organizations: Latvijas Koncerti, Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society, Saint Petersburg Philharmonia, Baltic Centre for Culture Management, Eesti Kontsert and Shanghai City Theatre
Festival organizers: Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, Ottawa and Hautes-Laurentides festivals in Canada, AGEHR handbellmusic festivals in the US, the Al Bustan festival in Lebanon, Baltic Music Festival in China, Eistedfodd festival in South-Africa, Probaltica festival in Poland and Glasperlenspiel festival in Estonia

Arsis Handbell Ensemble


The bells are ringing
The song they’re singing
The sound is bringing the people ’round…


Church and temple bells, carillons, chime clocks, tinkler bells, death knells… their timeless ringing has carried through centuries and cultures, accompanying man from birth to death, always present on important moments. Uniting and parting, rejoicing and mourning, calling and cautioning (wedding and funeral bells, Christmas and alarm bells), their sound embodies strong emotions that have inspired composers and instrument masters, poets and writers from Bach and Shakespeare to Hemingway.
The roots of the handbells date back to the 17th century England where the first miniature copies of church bells were cast. The bells that first and foremost were meant for practice by carillon players, soon acquired a status of independent musical instruments and were called hand bells. Their heyday was left in the 18th century when most self-respecting civilized people practiced hand bell music as their hobby. Today, those in the meantime obsolete instruments, are gaining more and more world-wide recognition.

Handbell Ensemble Arsis (today Tiina Boucher, Lemme-Liis Elp, Kristel Linnutaja, Marge Saarela, Aivar Mäe, Margus Bubert, Mart Schifrin, Indrek Jürimets) formed in 1993 from the singers of Arsis Chamber Choir, consists today of eight professional players and has one of the biggest handbell collections in the world (7 + 4 octaves of English handbells and 7 octaves of chimes). Guest performances have taken them to South Africa, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Poland, Holland, Canada and the USA. The most prestigious halls that have hosted Arsis are the Grand Hall of St Petersburg Philharmonic, Oslo Concert Hall
and El Pardo Palace in Madrid, the concert in the latter was attended by the Spanish Royal Couple. In addition to the current one, the ensemble has released 5 solo recordings and participated in numerous recordings with symphony and chamber orchestras, choirs, and other music projects. Arsis has had close collaboration with many composers and has commissioned and premiered more than 10 new works.

 Arsis400                 AivarMae300

The conductor and artistic director of the ensemble is Aivar Mäe who introduced handbell music to Estonia. However, Aivar Mäe’s work is not only limited to handbell music, he is one of the most prominent figures in the Estonian musical life, having occupied positions of director at various music theatres, Estonian National Concert Institute Eesti Kontsert, being the founder of new concert halls as well as co-initiator of several festivals. And why not also remember his youth as a pop singer (ensemble Vitamiin). Since 2009 he holds the position of general manager of Estonian National Opera. Aivar Mäe is a Honorary Member of the Estonian Society for Music Education.

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