Ring the Bells at Break of Day premièred by the Shepherd School of Music Symphony Orchestra
Ring the Bells at Break of Day was written to mark the 40th anniversary of the Shepherd School of Music, as part of a project to commission each of the school’s faculty composers on this auspicious occasion. The piece is a short, joyful and celebratory work, which commemorates the outstanding music-making that has flourished over the school’s history. The piece was premièred on December 2, 2016 under the direction of Larry Rachleff.
And, oh, the bells at break of day
That roused us, ringing merrily!
—John Morgan (1889)
I wrote Ring the Bells at Break of Day while living in Rome in 2016, and it features a stately chorale tune, Inni e canti [Hymns and Songs], which rang daily from a bell tower across the street. The graceful hymn is interrupted by a quick, punchy theme in the winds (and later, strings)—perhaps the sounds of street bustle and frenetic motor traffic. Eventually the majestic chorale returns: in a solo horn, a short fugato, and finally in combination with the ecstatic, lively music. The piece closes with the jubilant pealing of bells.