Ring Out, Wild Bells


by Carl Vine

large choir (SSAATTB)
Mixed Voices
Ring out, wild bells by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Commissioned by Robin Boyle for the Choir of King's College, Cambridge.

First Performance
24.12.12, King's College, Cambridge, UK: Choir of King's College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury

Score 0-571-57219-7 on sale

Programme Notes

Before retiring, Robin Boyle, as the manager of Chester Music (London) and subsequently of Faber Music (London), had the single most profound influence on my career as a published composer. It is fitting that he should also be responsible for affording me one of the most prized opportunities available to my profession - a commission to compose a carol for the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge. Although not directly related to the nativity, Lord Tennyson’s striking poem, Ring out, wild bells, inventively encapsulates the core Christian principles of community, generosity and kindness. Several previous musical settings of the poem exist, but they generally squeezed the words into repetitive bouncing triplet rhythms. This isn’t how I read the poem, and I thought it would be more interesting to explore the less regular rhythmic elements of the text without formulating an invariant ‘verse’ structure. Ring out, wild bells was commissioned by Robin Boyle for the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge, and was first performed by that choir, directed by Stephen Cleobury, on 24 December, 2012.

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