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Beautiful Guitar Music

Jo Simmonds - Classical Guitar

Music for Twelve Bells Plus?

Review

- Music for 12 bells plus?

arranged by Jo Simmonds (for 12 handbells)

'Sleep? Not now! I can’t, my mind is working overtime! Half and hour ago I was yawning my head off here at Heathrow Airport waiting for a 4.30am flight to arrive. So I though I’d better open the package the editor sent me to review in a vain attempt to stay awake! 

'What a wonderful surprise. I do not know Jo Simmonds (the arranger of this collection), but she is obviously a skilled musician with an in depth knowledge of handbells (and ringers!) ……….

'Technically the arrangements are not too difficult and will suit both new and more experienced 1½octave teams alike. Musically however, there is plenty of opportunity for interpretation and the excellent performance notes give not just guidance for performance but detailed information including a glossary of terms and even a statement of copyright restriction. Read it! It is very well complied and we can certainly learn from this standard of presentation.

'The collection of fifteen popular pieces includes such favourites as Amazing Grace and When the Saints go Marching in, which I am sure already form part of some teams’ repertoire, but I doubt if many teams have the Andante movement of Vivaldi’s concerto for two mandolins – and for this alone it is well worth purchasing a copy.

'The pieces are designed to be playable with twelve hands and keep within the range of an octave and a fifth. Ten of them require bells entirely from the key of C-major and five require additional F sharps (but no extra ringers).

'There is no point analysing the music as it is theoretically correct and does not include any of those unnecessary augmentations and effects so often put in by lesser arrangers to provide cheap thrills. The thrill of handbell ringing is playing musically correct works well.

'Please, Jo, can we have more?!'

A. R. Price (extract from review in Reverberations Spring 1995)