Arsise käsikellade ansambel
Heldur Harry Põlda, boy-sopraano
Bell ringers from Terra Mariana… An exciting performing of classical hits by Arsis Handbell Ensemble. The festive bronze sound of the bells gives a new dimension to the well-known pieces.
|1||J S Bach – Ch Gounod / arr A Hartley||Ave Maria||2:57|
|2||G Caccini / arr V Soonberg||Ave Maria||5:15|
|3||C Franck / arr J Meredith||Panis angelicus||4:05|
|4||J S Bach / arr V Soonberg||Aria||2:38|
|5||T Albinoni / arr K McChesney||Adagio||4:49|
|6||E Grieg / arr A B Sherman||Morning||3:43|
|7||E Grieg / arr F A Merrett||Anitra’s Dance||3:17|
|8||C Saint-Saëns / arr M R Keller||Dance Macabre||2:52|
|9||C Debussy / arr R Ivey||Colliwogg’s Cake-Walk||2:38|
|10||G Bizet / arr B B Garee||The Ball||2:10|
|11||Fr Schubert / arr W H Griffin||Ave Maria||5:00|
|12||A-Ch Adam / arr V Soonberg||O Holy Night!||4:12|
|13||F Grüber / arr F L Callahan||Silent Night, Holy Night!||4:35|
|14||G Bizet / arr K McChesney||Festive Dance||3:17|
Performed by Arsis Handbell Ensemble and Heldur Harry Põlda (boy-soprano)
Conducted by Aivar Mäe
Recorded: Apr 10–11, 2010 in Swedish St Michael’s Church, Tallinn
Engineered and mastered by Tanel Klesment
Photos by Viljo Pettinen
Designed by Piret Mikk / Inox DM
Texts translated by Tiina Jokinen
Management by Tiina Kodumäe
Recording supervisor – Peeter Vähi
Scores published by Harold Flammer Inc (#1), Meredith Music Press (#4), Jeffers Handbell Suply Inc (#5, 17), AGEHR (#6–9, 12, 16), Agape (#10, 11), Warner Bros Publications Inc (#13), Beckenhorst Press Inc (#14, 15)
© Arsis & ERP
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.
Arsis Handbell Ensemble (Tiina Kodumäe, Lemme-Liis Elp, Marge Saarela, Heli Kask, 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). Arsis can boast of an impressive list of concert tours that have taken them to Canada, South Africa, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania and 5 times to the USA. In addition to the current one, the ensemble has released 5 solo recordings and participated in numerous recordings with orchestras and other music projects. Arsis has had close collaboration with many composers and has premiered more than 10 new works.
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 Agency, 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.
Together with hand bells on the current CD we also hear the crystal clear voice of a boy soprano Heldur Harry Põlda, a violin and conducting student at the Tallinn Music College who has rocketed to stardom as a singer and performer of classical music. Born in Kuressaare, the boy began his career 6 years ago after the family moved to Tallinn. Besides violin studies with Prof Mari Tampere-Bezrodny and vocal studies with Zoja Hertz, Heldur Harry sings in the Estonian National Opera Boys’ Choir and performs regularly as a soloist with different musicians and orchestras. He made his stage debut at the age of 8. Now, 5 years later, his repertoire contains several musical and opera roles as well as soprano parts in various oratorial works. He has performed together with renowned opera singers in Estonia, Latvia, Spain and Germany. In 2008, Heldur Harry received the Estonian Culture Endowment Annual Award for his role of Miles in Britten’s opera The Turn of the Screw, being the youngest ever laureate of the prize.