Thursday, October 30, 2008

March of the Kings and Farandole

The March of the Kings is a traditional French carol that was used by Georges Bizet (1838-1875), of "Carmen" fame, as part of his arrangement of incindental music for a play, L'Arl├ęsienne (usually translated ad "The Girl from Arles" (Arles, of Vincent van Peep fame)).
You may recognize this carol when you come to a Chicago Bronze concert this December, but be sure to listen for the closing section, which is entirely different in character. Valerie Stephenson's arrangement includes the Farandole from the second act of the play. The second act's score, while originally written by Bizet, was re-arranged by Ernest Guiraud after Bizet's death.

According to Wikipedia, a Farandole is "an open-chain community dance popular in the County of Nice, France. Traditionally led by the "abbat-mage holding a beribboned halberd, the dancers hold hands and skip at every beat; strong beats on one foot, alternating left and right, with the other foot in the air, and weak beats with both feet together... Musically, the dance is in 6/8 time, with a moderate to fast tempo, and played by a flute and drum."

When you hear this section at the concert, and if you're listening for it, it will be hard to miss, feel free to get up and practice your Farandole moves.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Little Drummer Boy

The Little Drummer Boy, originally known as The Carol of the Drum, is adapted from a Chech melody, but was first created in the form we know it today by Katherine K Davis in 1941. It has been recorded by a wide variety of artists since then, from the Von Trapp Family Singers (of "Sound of Music" fame) to Alicia Keys. One recording featured the classic duet of Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Our arrangement comes from another amazing performance group: Campanile. This Los Angeles-based sextet pushed the boundaries of what it meant play handbells, incorporating rhythm instruments and dance into their Jazz performances. Chicago Bronze may not be dancing while we play this piece, but we'll definitely be having fun.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Christmas in October

We started working on our December concert this past week, so now we're all whistling Christmas and holiday music as we walk down the street, even though it's only October. Never fear, the stores will be catching up to us soon.

Our concert schedule is now available, and we hope you'll find a concert near you this December.