Six Little Preludes
Six exquisite pieces for just 8 handbells and organ (or piano). Composed with the liturgical year in mind, Frederick Frahm has created a set of works with a prelude each for Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Your handbell ensemble (playable by 4 ringers with two bells each) and keyboardist will find this accessible music rewarding to learn and worthy of repetition. The whole set of works will offer you programming options for a whole year!
Available from Firehead Editions in the UK or below in the US. Each set is just $5.99 and includes a full score with separate parts for handbells and organ. Your purchase allows you to reprint copies as needed for local use. US purchases will go through PayPal via SendOwl.
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“Your People Long to Greet You, O Lord”
A gentle and expressive work evocative of the Advent themes of longing and introspection. The music is filled with expansive melodies and spare harmonies. At the end of the piece, the high note in the organ part looks toward heaven in anticipation of the Redeemer.
“Good News of Great Joy”
Perfect for that one extra meditative piece for Christmas Eve! This work includes a brief quote of a German Christmas Carol melody Vom Himmel hoch, da komm Ich her (From Heaven Above to Earth I Come). In the manner of a pastorale, the handbells open the work with a ‘proclamation’ and the organ part considers the stars in the sky and the footfalls of the shepherds as they make their way to the manger to see their Lord. A contrapuntal passage suggests how all of earth and heaven and God’s people are brought together on this night.
“The Baptism of Christ”
Filled with music that sounds like water, this music evokes the day when Jesus came to be baptized by John in the Jordan River. A soaring melody in the organ part suggests the presence of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove above the scene.
“At the Desert’s Edge”
A spare and contemplative work that offers music for meditation at the beginning of Lent. Tolling bells call the faithful to repentance and the broadly moving keyboard part suggests the expansive desert that enveloped Christ in 40 days of fasting and prayer.
“This is the Day the Lord Has Made”
A joyous piece in multiple triple meters that rings in the Day of Resurrection. This piece includes a brief quote of the classic Easter melody Worgan (Jesus Christ is Risen Today). The most challenging of the set of six preludes, this piece is filled with fanfares, splashy chords, and a part for organ that occasionally breaks into dancing. As the work concludes peacefully, the music offers a programming potential to precede a scripture reading or message on this the most glorious of days.
“The Spirit Intercedes For Us”
A beautiful and haunting work which considers the nature of our humanity, our need for prayer and the gifts of the Holy Spirit which sustain us in our pilgrimage. The celebrated plainchant for the feast of Pentecost “Veni Creator Spiritus” is quoted in the piece, albeit in a transformed way. Where the bells toll for the morning light, the organ part bears up their music with rich harmonic interest in the lower register to suggest the presence of the Spirit in all things.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
Why not buy the whole set at a big discount? Get all of the Six Little Preludes for just $19.99.