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Dunwich Bells

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Parts  

Solo piano

Duration (approx)   5 minutes
Composed   2012
Publisher   Music Haven
First performance   20th April 2012
Venue   Two Rivers Festival, The Bushell Hall, Birkenhead School
Soloists / Players   Clare Hammond (piano)
Movements  

Single movement

Programme Notes

The small town of Dunwich, on the Suffolk coast, was once the most important trading port in the east of England - a large and thriving town in its heyday. We may imagine the hustle and bustle of townsfolk and merchants going about their daily life with the ever-present clangour of bells from the numerous churches, which were so central to medieval life. The traces of the inhabitants' existence were swept into oblivion by a series of catastrophic storms over the following centuries but a legend persists that, at certain times and tides, the church bells may still be heard from beneath the waves. There is a parallel here to Debussy's prelude, La cathedrale engloutie, which contemplates the legend of Ys - the magnificent cathedral emerging resplendent from the murky, watery depths.

Dunwich Bells pays homage to Debussy's understanding of the piano - in particular the use of the pedal, but it makes no direct reference to his musical material. There are suggestions of pealing bells, mediaeval plainsong and, of course, waves - of both water and, I like to imagine, time. Exclamatory, joyful and plaintive fragments of music are stirred up like silt as haunting glimpses of a remote past.

It is dedicated to my dear friend Fiona Mayor, with whom I visited Dunwich in 2009 .

Related News

Performance: Dunwich Bells

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Thursday 8th October 2015, 7.30pm

Works:  Dunwich Bells

Performances: Dunwich Bells

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Thursday 17th to Tuesday 22nd October 2013

Part of the Presteigne Festival City Tour performed by Clare Hammond (piano).

Thursday 17th October 2013, 1pm -- St George's, Great George Street (off Park Street), Bristol BS1 5RR -- Tickets: £8 / free for under 21s and jobseekers on 0845 402 4001 or online

Friday 18th October 2013, 1.10pm -- The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham -- Free entry

Sunday 20th October 2013, 1pm -- The Pound, Pound Hill, Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 9HX -- Tickets tbc, more information online

Tuesday 22nd October 2013, 1.05pm -- Cheltenham Town Hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham GL50 1QA -- Tickets £3.95 on 0844 576 2210 or online

Works:  Dunwich Bells

Performance: Dunwich Bells

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Friday 23rd August 2013, 2pm

Presteigne Festival, Event 8: Piano in the Afternoon. Tickets: £12 reserved, £9 unreserved, £6 student.

Works:  Dunwich Bells

Performance: Dunwich Bells

Friday 28th September 2012

Consonances Festival.

Works:  Dunwich Bells

Performance: Dunwich Bells

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Saturday 21st April 2012

Works:  Dunwich Bells

World Premiere: Dunwich Bells for solo piano

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Friday 20th April 2012

Two Rivers Festival.

Works:  Dunwich Bells

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