Tuesday, October 30, 2012

UKRAINIAN BELL CAROL for two pianos, eight hands

(for 2 pianos 8 hands)
Rearr. Jelia Megawati Heru

Listen "Ukrainian Bell Carol" for 2 pianos, 8 hands HERE

Listen "Ukrainian Bell Carol" in youtube

Ukrainian Bell Carol is written based on Ukrainian folk song, 
The melody was created for choir in 1916 by Ukrainian composer 
Mykola Leontovych (1877-1921) and titled "Shchedryk", means "bountiful."
adapted by Peter J. Wilhousky as a "Carol of the Bells" 

Based on an old Ukrainian folk song, 
the original lyrics describes the swallow flying 
into a household to proclaim the plentiful year that the family will have. 

The swallow is a herald of spring coming, possibly of pre-Christian origins. 
The folk melody was sung in many Ukrainian villages 
on Jan. 13 – New Year's Eve on the Julian calendar 
– usually by adolescent girls going house to house in celebration of the new year.

The title chosen by him "Carol of the Bells" 
was harmonious with the old Slavic legend 
that at midnight the evening Jesus was born 
all the bells on earth started to sound of their own accord in his honor. 

Since then the song has become a popular Christmas tune 
especially in the US and Canada where it is also known as "Ukrainian Carol"

Leontovych originally created the piece as an assignment for a harmony course.
He was taking by correspondence to demonstrate the use of a four-note known as ostinato. The ostinato motif, a repeated four-note pattern within the range of a minor third, is thought to be of prehistoric origins. a New Year's chant known in Ukrainian as "Shchedryk" [the Generous One]

The original traditional Ukrainian text used a device, known as hemiola, in the rhythm (alternating the accents within each measure from 3/4 to 6/8 and back again). 

This device however is lost in the English translations and rarely is used in non-Ukrainian or instrumental performances.The original work was intended to be sung a cappella by mixed four-voice choir. 

Two other settings of the composition were also created by Leontovych: one for women's choir (unaccompanied) and another for children's choir with piano accompaniment. These are rarely performed or recorded. 

The choral work Shchedryk was first performed by students at Kiev University in December 1916. When American choir director and arranger Peter Wilhousky (1902-1978) heard Leontovich's choral work, it reminded him of bells; so he wrote new lyrics to convey that imagery for his choir.