Tuesday, May 12, 2009

For Ringers Only

Tonight's post is a little quiz for all my ringers.
Study these pictures of Kiriku ringing and tell me in the comments what you observe about their technique that enhances their tone. Hint: It is something that you have heard from both Debbie Rice and your very own flawed, but fervent, director.

Needless to say, Kiriku completely blew me away with their supremely musical ringing. I put together a slideshow from the concert at North Raleigh United Methodist Church. Obviously, not the same as being there, but the soundtrack for the slideshow was their exquisite opening number, "By the Seaside." click here to see the Kiriku slideshow.

Griff Gall, the Artistic Director of the Back Bay Ringers in Boston wrote this fitting review of the concert on the handbell mailing list: (all emphasis is mine. JoyBell Ringers: Pay Attention!!)

"Saturday night, at the Hancock Church in Lexington, Mass. I had the pleasure of hearing one of the most musical and technically brilliant ensembles I have ever heard. Kiriku, a small design handbell ensemble from Japan under the direction of Taiko Otsubo, performed an hour long concert that left the audience breathless and in awe!
What makes their performance amazing is how well they they respond to each other. When they are playing a melody line between positions, they lean in towards each other, and watch each others ringing so they remain connected to the musical line at all times. Their interpretation of Schubert's Ave Maria was a key example of this. The accompaniment was gentle, flowing and extremely legato. The melody line was "sung" by the bells in the top position fluidly and with incredible phrasing. Perhaps my favorite pieces where the selections from Pleiades Dances by Takashi Yoshimatsu. These exciting piano compositions spoke beautifully on handbells, what a treat to hear! The ensembles technical skills were exemplified in their final selection "Csardas" by Vittorio Monti. The selection demands virtuosity with its incredible glissandi and dramatic changes in tempo and dynamics. The audience sprang to their feet and erupted with applause after this selection.
I enjoyed watching this ensemble perform as much as I enjoyed listening to them. Their ability to watch and stay connected with each other through out their playing was engaging. Each of the ringers are constantly in a fluid motion that is grounded and organic. Michael Joy has often spoken about the ringers should look like the music, and Kiriku has this down. Their movements are not choreographed to simply look pretty, there was no wasted motions just to impress the audience, their movements add to the musical line and release the sound. After the performance, I had a chance to briefly speak with Taiko. Although we had a language barrier, her passion for creating beautiful music with handbells came through. As the artistic director of Kiriku, Taiko said "I can teach technique, but it is much more difficult to teach how to share the heart of the music." I responded by assuring her that their performance shared the heart of the music, and inspired many in the audience."

I wish you all could have been there! And all of Rejoice, too.

I'll wrap it up with just a few shots of my ringers who made the trip to Raleigh with me that didn't make it into the slideshow.
This first shot is P.L. Grove, of Velocity Handbell Ensemble, and the emcee for the evening. I only wish she was one of my ringers . . . 

This last shot is Karen, from Rejoice Ringers, and her 
unknown twin that Michael Glasgow found in his church!

And last, but not least, your puzzle of the day!
Click to Mix and Solve


The Hardys said...

They keep their bells in a perfect line on cords by watching each other. We wish we could have been there!

Michele Sharik said...

Study these pictures of Kiriku ringing and tell me in the comments what you observe about their technique that enhances their tone. Hint: It is something that you have heard from both Debbie Rice and your very own flawed, but fervent, director.Oh, am I allowed to answer? ;-)

C McPherson said...

Sure, Michele, answer away! I'll take answers from anybody! The handbell wizes, like you, on down to my couldn't-care-less cat, but I'm not going to release the comments for a couple more days to give everyone an equal chance at the table here.

C McPherson said...

The Hardy's are absolutely correct.
Wild cheering and fireworks exploding!!!!
Hey, where are all of my ringers, hhhmmmmmmm?????????
Miss C.

Yoshimichi Fukuda said...

Oh, am I allowed to write in here, too? I just happened to pick up your page by googling around.
I enjoyed the slideshow.

It is sometimes quite significant to view our own performance from third person's view, including some funny pictures.

If you are interested, please drop me a note, either by commenting here or by clicking on "mail" link in Kiriku website.

C McPherson said...

Hello, Yoshimichi, and welcome to my blog!
Not only are you allowed to write here, but you are my honored guest. What a simply heavenly evening your concert was! I am glad you were able to find the slide show and enjoy it. I know what you mean about watching yourself. I just imported some video of Rejoice playing a concert. Right in the middle of that gorgeous cascading 16th note section in "Moon Over Ruined Castle" the camera zoomed in to me, and there are my lips moving and counting. How embarrassing!

From my perspective, your concert was ethereal and flawless. Nothing funny happening. You all were simply fantastic! I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you again.

Yoshimichi Fukuda said...

Hello, Charlotte,

I introduced your blog article to all of us, and they said they all liked your pictures and slideshow very much.

I was wondering if I could ask you a favor-- could you let us use your photos and slideshows for our publicity on our concert brochures and on our websites.

We are also interested in your photos that are not posted on your blog.

Please make any questions, and I will be waiting for your reply.