Leontovych – Carol of the Bells

Composer: Mykola Leontovych (1919)
Duration: 2.5 minutes
Price: £15
Grade: 6-8
Instrumentation: Brass Quintet
Trumpet 1 and 2 in Bb
French Horn

Carol of the Bells is a popular carol composed by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych. Although not originally written as a Christmas song, recent inclusion in films such as ‘The Santa Claus’ and ‘Home Alone’ combined with the addition of English lyrics, have secured it’s place in modern Christmas popular culture. It is characterised by the famous 4 note bell motif, passed through the trumpets and later throughout the quintet, marking both the beginning and ending of this work. ‘Bell tone’ notes combined with muted trumpets and fast moving inner parts make this work a vibrant and effective addition to any Christmas programme, and a welcome change to the more usual Christmas melodies. As the work progresses, it slowly builds towards the glorious ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’ moment, the first time we hear a major tonality. As this falls away we are reminded of the minor 4 note bell motif which fades away into the distance. It was written for the Kensington Brass Christmas Extravaganza 2013 as a Dectet (available from Superbrass Publishing) and has been adapted for the Quintet.

Kensington Brass Performance:

Sample Scores: