Music: Bells

On Christmas day in the morning, bellringers spit on their hands; they catch hold of the ropes that go up into rimed steeples. "Ding dong," goes the first faint and shaken bell; swallows leap out of the belfry. "Ding, dong," peals the carillon, its notes dropping into the air like stones into water.

The poetry of bell effects has always appealed to composers for the piano. In Borodin's Au Couvent, a bell tolls for 18 measures, silvery, gentle, relentless; Debussy composed an intricately sophisticated pattern for bells in his Japanese Temple Gongs; stern...

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