A musical tale for Soprano solo, Mixed Choir, Flute, Violin,
Saxofon, Piano/keyboard, Bass,
Lyrics by Edward Broadbridge (from the story by Hans Christian Andersen)
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75) published his short story ‘The Bell’ in 1845. It begins with the deep tone of a mysterious church bell tolling somewhere far away at sunset. The city people can barely hear it, but the country people are sure it comes from deep in the forest. Is there a hidden church there? Among the many who set out to try to locate the bell are a young prince and a poor man’s son. The bell is heard by everyone, for Nature is one great Cathedral, and each of us is eager to run pell-mell towards it, but where is it. The impulse is to join hands and seek it together, for this is a journey into the soul of Nature. When the prince finally climbs the rocks in the middle of the forest, he can see the sunset on the sea and hear the whole of Nature singing. This is the secret of the bell, and to the prince’s delight the poor man’s son is standing beside him. He has taken a different path but reached the same goal. And still the bell goes on tolling all year round.
John Høybye and Edward Broadbridge have previously joined forces on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen in ‘The Little Mermaid’ (Edition Wilh. Hansen, Copenhagen 2007). In ‘The Bell’ they tell the story of both a narrative and a spiritual journey towards the mystery at the heart of human existence. The work draws on Hans Christian Andersen’s vision of God and Nature as one – a common pantheistic belief in Romanticism. The present version uses specific themes in the story in order to open it out to humanity in general.