This 100 change touch on 24 handbells was rung at the Ringing World Centenary reception in Central Hall Westminster on 26th March 2011 by:

The handbell band1-2 Jennifer Butler
3-4 Mark Eccleston
5-6 Philip Earis
7-8 Philip Saddleton
9-10 John Hughes-D'Aeth
11-12 Paul Mounsey
13-14 David Brown
15-16 David Pipe
17-18 Tom Hinks
19-20 Alex Byrne
21-22 Simon Melen
23-24 Michael Wilby

It was composed by Philip Earis & conducted by David Pipe, and Philip gave the following introduction before the performance:

"I am just going to spend a few moments introducing the handbells touch that we are about to ring, so hopefully you'll have a better idea of what is actually going on when we are doing it. First, on behalf of all of us ringing here, I'd like to say that it is a real pleasure and honour to be given this opportunity. The first issue of 'The Ringing World' one hundred years ago stated its aspirations to communicate and support some of the very new things that were being rung. One hundred years ago that was Cambridge Maximus and throughout the Ringing World's history it has continued to reflect some of the exciting things that ringers round the country are ringing and today we will kick off the next one hundred years of the Ringing World's success by doing something new that's never been attempted before.

So we are going to be ringing a touch on 24 handbells of 100 changes specially composed for the occasion. And there are many things to say: with 24 bells we don't want to go on so long that you all flake out, so 100 changes will take about seven minutes and I hope we can have your concentration for that time; it would be greatly appreciated. With 24 bells - that's three octaves and two notes - one of the things to really listen out for is the range of notes from the highest bell, the treble, to the lowest bell, the tenor. And within that range you'll notice the difference in the sound coming from the highest to the lowest notes. I am grateful to Taylor's and to Andrew Wilby for lending us the bells to ring on today. You'll hear the very high notes are really quite clear and crisp and as we go round the circle they become much softer, deeper and mellow. In the first lesson at the Abbey service today we heard a lot about fine cloth, and it's not often that you see ringers dressed up as smartly as today! We also heard about alternating bells and pomegranates ... we've got them throughout the touch. We've got really crisp high notes to start off with, going round to the pomegranates round the back - Michael there.

We will start off with a few changes which are a bit like Bristol, with lots of points, then the bells will gradually get into an order where they produce lots of coursing music, called the mega-tittums order. And if you listen carefully you should be able to hear the little high bells going one way down the scale and then the low bells going up the scale so it is very much alternating bells and pomegranates, bells and pomegranates, bells and pomegranates...

Please do bear with us as it does take a bit of concentration; we practised for the first time this morning and this hasn't been done before. We are exceptionally lucky to have an incredibly skilled band of ringers here: starting on the trebles 1-2 is Jennie Butler, moving round Mark Eccleston on 3-4, myself 5-6, Philip Saddleton on 7-8, John Hughes-D'Aeth on 9-10, Paul Mounsey on 11-12, David Brown 13-14, I'm struggling to count here, David Pipe on 15-16, Tom Hinks on 17-18, Alex Byrne 19-20, Simon Melen 21-22 and Michael Wilby on 23-24.

In his address at the Abbey the Dean talked about the joys of change ringing, he talked about change ringing at its best being modulating, civilising, precise and glorious, so we hope to be able to live up to that. Thank you very much for your attention."

Download file (.mp3, 8min58s, 12.5 MB)

Notes on the recording:

An AKG C414 microphone was placed in the centre of the circle and its output recorded on a Tascam DA-P1 DAT recorder. This recording does give a very good impression of the bands' excellent performance (although low-level feedback from the MCH PA system is audible at times). AU.

© 2011 Permission is given to download the linked .mp3 file above for personal use.

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