Bells Across the Meadows: characteristic intermezzo                                                   Back to list of works index

 

Bells Across the Meadows was first published in 1921, in versions for piano and for orchestra.  Other arrangements followed later, and it has been particularly popular with brass bands.  Words were added in 1927, but they have rarely been recorded.   For a discussion of the origins of this piece, see my article Bells Across the Meadows of Gozo? elsewhere on this website.

 

A sketch entitled Bells Across the Meadow by Tony Fayne on Philips 632301 has nothing to do with Ketèlbey’s music.

 

Composer’s synopsis

The Intermezzo opens with bells (solo) then the strings and wood wind play a quiet melody, which on being repeated has a chimes effect introduced with it, as if heard from a distant belfry across the meadows.  After a middle section in the dominant during which other bells are heard, the first part is resumed, this time with melody in the 'cellos, and soft chimes intermingling.  This leads to a loud repetition of the principal theme with bells ringing out joyously and then gradually dying away in the distance.

 

Bells Across the Meadows - orchestral

Artists

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Regal O, ?Ketèlbey

Regal G 7737

 71408

10” 78

[Apr 22]

BL, TM, (TM CD)

Pathé Concert O “Across the Meadows”

Pathé 5783

94567

12” 78

[Feb 24]

BL

     Re-issue

- Actuelle 15156

 

12” 78

[Feb 24]

Mayfair O, Byng

HMV C 1173

Cc 4528-1

12” 78

[Dec 24]

Frank Westfield's O

Parlophone E 5752

1183

10” 78

[Apr 27]

     Re-issue

- Vintage Hour VH 107

CAS

VLM Winter 85

Grosvenor String O, organ

Aco G 16221

C 331E

10” 78

[Aug 27]

 

 

     Re-issue  (Sutherland O, pipe organ)

- Beltona 1251

MC 331E

10” 78

[Oct 27?]

 

Concert O, Ketèlbey

Columbia 9410

WAX 3294-1

12” 78

[July 28]               

July 28 p.61

BL, PD, (TM CAS)

     Re-issue

- Columbia DX 775               

WAX 3294-1

12” 78

[May 37]               

May 37 p.532

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Pearl GEMM CD 9968

CD

1993

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Evergreen Melodies C 62

CD

[1999]

PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Naxos 8.110848

CD

2002

BL, NX, PD,TM

Viennese O

Piccadilly 270

xx 1763

10” 78

[?July 29]

 

BL

Grosses Symphonie Orchester, (Staatskapelle Berlin, organ , bells), chorus, Weissmann

Odeon O 2940

Be 8988-2               

10” 78

rec.1930

MMU , cat.1936

WC

London Palladium O, organ, Crean

HMV C 1916

CC 18737-II

12” 78

[Sept 30]               

BL, PD, (TM CAS)

     Re-issue

- IDCD 7               

CD

VLM Winter 98

     Re-issue

- Guild Light Music GLCD 5108

CD

Oct 04

Mar 05 p.71

Grand SO, chorus

Parlophone R 806

?

10” 78

[Dec 30]

Dec 30 p.349

Musical Dawson's Famous Choir of Canaries, orchestra

Broadcast 938

325

9” 78

[Mar 33]

Mar 33 p.403

Anton and the Paramount Theatre O, Bollington (organ)

HMV BD 399      

OER 186

10” 78

[Feb 37]

Feb37 p.27. Excerpt only

WC

Concert O, Ketèlbey

Decca F 7618

DR 4754

10” 78

[Nov 40]

Dec 40 p.154-5

(TM CD)

Portsmouth Division Royal Marines O, Dunn

Overseas Recorded Broadcasting Service 2139

?

[1940s]

     Re-issue

-  RM Historical Society RMHSEC 1

CD

1998

TM

New Promenade O, Robertson

London R 10019

DR 12248-1

10”78

[1948?]

WC

Melachrino Strings, chorus, Melachrino          

HMV B 9714

OEA 13467-1

10” 78

[Jan 49]

Jan 49 p.135

BL

New SO of London, Robinson

Decca LK 4080

LP

[June 54]

July 54 p.73, Mar55 p.464-465

BL

     Re-issue

- Decca LW 5120

10” LP

[Aug 54]               

PD

     Re-issue

- Ace of Clubs ACL 1044

LP

[1961]

BL, (TM CD)

     Re-issue

- Eclipse ECS 2016 (+ECM)

CD

1969

Feb 70 p.1332

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Decca DDX 190039

(Dutch)

LP

1969

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca NUX 390044

(Dutch)

LP

1969

 

 

New SO of London, Sharples               

Decca SKL 4077

LP

[1959]

Feb 60 p.434

BL, PD

     Re-issue

- Decca SPA 187 

LP

1971

July 72 p.253

BL, PD

     Re-issue

- Decca LXT 4329

(Spanish)

LP

[1960]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Decca SKC 4077

(Spanish)

CAS

[1969]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Decca 841203

(Spanish)

CAS

1982

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Decca 452987-2               

CD

1997

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- Vocalion CDLF 8143

CD

[2011]

LMS Aut 11 p42

Vienna State Opera O, Aliberti

Westminster WP 6082

 

LP

rec.June 57

 

(TM CD)

     Re-issue

- Westminster WST 15005

 

LP

 

 

WC

     Re-issue

- World Record Club TP 359

 

LP

1963

 

BL, PD

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial Discos/Nevada ND 501312

(Spanish)

LP

1978

 

WC, TM

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial Discos NC 501312

(Spanish)

CAS

[1978]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Westminster WGS  8139

(American)

LP

1981

 

TM

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial Discos 102048

(Spanish)

CAS

[1986]

 

WC

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial 960139                        

(Spanish)

CD

1991

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Voix de son maître 2CO 59392502

(French)

LP

 

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Voix de son maître C 24592502

(French)

CAS

 

 

WC

Stuttgart Philharmonic O, Mareczek             

Fontana SFL 14141

LP

1967

Jan 70 p.1188

BL, TM, (TM CD)

     Re-issue

- Philips G 05585

(French)

10” LP

[1967]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Philips 836397 VZ

(French)

10” LP

[1967]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Philips 837.494 G7

LP

(French cat.1967)

     Re-issue

- Philips 839800 G7/GSY

(Swedish)

LP

 

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Philips 730236

(Spanish)

CAS

[1971]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Philips 7431049

(Spanish)

CAS

[1977]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Philips 7318016

(French)

CAS

 

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Philips 9117 CAA

(French)

CAS

 

 

WC

Royal Philharmonic O, Rogers

Decca PFS 4170

LP

1969

Nov 69 p.833

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- Decca DGS 16

(American)

LP

1980

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 6594064

(Spanish)

LP

1981

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Decca 444 786-2LPF

CD

1996

Aug 96 p.60

BL, PD, TM

Philharmonia O, Lanchbery               

EMI ASD 3542

 LP

1978

July 78 p.261

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- Angel S 37483

(American)

LP

1978

 

 

     Re-issue

- Hörzu 1C 05702986Q

(German)

LP

?

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Voz de su Amo 10C 265002986Q

(Spanish)

CAS

[1980]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Voix de son maître 2C 2692986

(French)

CAS

 

 

WC

     Re-issue

- Angel CDC 7478062

 

CD

[1987]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- CD-CFP 4637

CD

1993

Mar 94 p.114

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- TC-CFP 4637

 

CAS

1993

Mar 94 p.114

 

     Re-issue

- EMI 50112920

(Japanese remastering)

CD

1994 [2007?]

 

PD, TM

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 5730002

(German)

CD

[1998]

 

WC

     Re-issue

- HMV 5724852

CD

1998

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 0724 3573 00056

 

CD

[1999]

 

NX

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 0742 3573 00155

 

CD

[1999]

 

NX

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 0094 6352 39959

 

CD

[2006]

 

NX

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 5099 9228 28552

 

CD

[2008]

 

NX

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 5099 9088 79653

 

CD

[2011]

 

NX

London Promenade O, Faris               

Philips 6514 152

LP

1982

Apr 82 p.1423

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Philips 7337152

 

CAS

1982

Apr 82 p.1423

WC

     Re-issue

- Philips 400 011-2

CD

1982

Apr 83 p.1152

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Decca/Universal  4737202

CD

2003

June 03 p.50

BL, WC, PD

Czecho-Slovak Radio SO, Leaper

Marco Polo 8.223442

CD

1992

Apr 94 p.48

BL, NX, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Naxos 8.553515

CD

1996

BL, NX, TM

     Re-issue

- Naxos

CAS

1997

     Re-issue

- Sony SMM 4912692

(Belgian)

CD

1998

 

 

     Re-issue

- Sony 2894 126910

(Belgian)

CD

1998

 

 

     Re-issue

- Naxos 8.554711

 

CD

1999

 

TM

New London O, Corp

Hyperion CDA 66868

CD

1996

July 96 p.67

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- Hyperion CDS 44261-4

CD

2006?

LMS Autumn 06

Palm Court Theatre O, Godwin

Chandos FBCD 2002

CD

1998

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

Chandos CHAN 6676

 

CD

 

 

NX

Royal Philharmonic O, Wordsworth

Warner  Classics 2464-62020-2

CD

2006, rec.Sep 04

Ian Sutherland Concert O, Sutherland

Alto ALC 1192

 

CD

Aug 2012

LMS Autumn 12

 

John Johnson & his Novelty O

Filmaphone 404

BT 3803

10” 78

? [ca.1930]

 

 

Orchestre symphonique

Broadcast 1066

(French)

8” 78

?

 

WC

?

Broadcast B 1001

(French)

78

?

 

WC

? (re-issue of modern recording)

Virgin VTCDX 584, 7243 5946 3421

(British)

CD

2003

 

 

Ricchard Crean’s version can be heard at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3515R1Ut12w

 

The composer made three recordings:

 

1) In 1922 he started with an acoustic 10” record, playing at 80rpm.  The initial 6 bars and one other are cut.  The orchestra is much reduced, with just flute, clarinet, cornet, trombone, bells, violin, cello and bass being identifiable.  Duration 2’ 52".

 

2) By 1929, Ketèlbey was famous enough to have an album dedicated to his music, and could benefit from having an electrically recorded 12” record.  A full orchestra is used.  Duration 4’ 08”.

  

3) Finally, the composer returned to the studio to record an album for Decca in 1940.   This reverts to a reduced orchestra and the 10” format, but by now technology allows 3’ 30” on the side.  This is the only recording of the three to double the opening bell solo on the piano, as instructed in the score.

 

Smith gives the date of the recording on DX 775 as 27th February 1930, but this is a mistake.

 

The other 11 recordings consulted vary little in interpretation.  Some include the piano with the bells, others don’t.  Three recordings (Mareczek, Leaper and Corp) substitute glockenspiel for tubular bells for most of the time.  The Mareczek also starts with random bells rather than the E flat melody in the score, and adds a harp in the final bell scales.  Some conductors allocate the reprise of the melody to a single cello, though the marking “Solo” is probably intended by the composer to mean “you people have the tune”.   Aliberti uses a different orchestration altogether, and omits the final descending scale on the bells.  Godwin has a small orchestra including piano throughout, with just one player to each string part; his bell-ringers seem unable to stop, and adds three extra scales at the end.  Crean also uses a piano throughout, and sustains the final chord for an amazing 6 seconds after the bells stops playing. 

 

Speeds vary, but all are slower than Ketèlbey’s own recordings and his metronome mark of crotchet = 84.                                                                                                              

Approximate timings

Metronome                  3’ 40”

Ketèlbey (1929)           4’ 08”

Godwin                        4’ 11”

Aliberti                        4’ 15”

Robinson                     4’ 15”

Rogers                         4’ 30”

Dunn                           4’ 31”

Mareczek                     4’ 33”

Crean                           4’ 37”

Faris                             4’ 38”

Corp                            4’ 40”

Lanchbery                   4’ 50”

Leaper                         5’ 09”

Sharples                       5’ 38”

 

 

Bells Across the Meadows - military band

Artists

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Band of HM Welsh Guards

Aco G 16160

C 98E

10” 78

[Apr 27]

Apr 27 p.464

     Re-issue (Beltona Military Band)

- Beltona 1168

CE 98E

10” 78

[?1927]

Apr 27 p.464

     Re-issue (Gresham Military Band)

- Guardsman 2006

 

10” 78

[?1927]

 

 

Band of HM Irish Guards, Hassell

Imperial 1952

4804

10” 78

[?1928]

Nov 28 p.247

BL

     Re-issue

- VLMS VH109

CAS

[?1980s]

TM

Band of HM Royal Air Force, Amers

Regal G 9360

WA 8567-1

10” 78

[July 29], rec.15.2.29

(TM CD)

Band of HM Royal Horse Guards

Sterno 606

S 1088

10” 78

[Feb 31]

Band of HM Scots Guards, Dowell

Winner 5479

?

10” 78

[Apr 32]

     Re-issue

- May-Fair G 2137

12979

10” 78

 

 

 

Band of HM Royal Horse Guards, Dunn

Regal MR 2651

?

10” 78

[?1938]

Mar 38 p.433

Bahamas Police Band

Penny Farthing R4RS 4836

(American)

LP

[1963]

 

 

     Re-issue

- RCA PR4M 6148

(American)

LP

[1963]

 

 

Wembley Military Tattoo Massed Bands. Sharpe

Castle Pulse PLS CD 180

CD

rec.June 77

Band of the Blues and Royals         

Music Masters MMCD 409

CD?

1990

May 91 p.2069

BL

     Re-issue

- Music Masters MMC 0662

 

CAS

1990

May 91 p.2069

 

Band of HM Royal Air Force, Amers

Lindström GO 10907

5027

10” 78

?

 

WC

Oliver Military Band (=Band of HM Irish Guards, Hassall)

Oliver 3018

E 602

6” 78

?[1920s]

 

 

Hassell makes cuts totalling 19 bars, including the final 5 bars.  His average metronome is crotchet = 80.

Amers cuts 24 bars.  His average metronome is crotchet = 75.

 

                                                                                                 

Bells Across the Meadows  - brass band

Artists

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

CWS (Manchester) Band, Mortimer

Fontana 688300 TL

 

[1963]

cat.Sept 63

     Re-issue

- 866164 TY

[1963]

cat.Sept 63

     Re-issue

- Fontana FJL 507

LP

[?1968]

July 68 p.189

GUS (Footwear) Band, Boddington

Columbia SX 6146

LP

[1967]

BL

     Re-issue

- Columbia TWO 161

LP

[1967]

June 67 p.32

BL

     Re-issue

- EMI OU 2159

LP

[1977]

Jan 77 p.1193

BL

     Re-issue

- Studio 2, CDP 7962782

CD

1991

BL

     Re-issue

- Studio 2 EMS 194

CD

VLM Aut 91

Brighouse & Rastrick Band, Hirst

Catalogue CATCD 09

CD

1997

BL

Black Dyke Mills Band, Watson

Doyen DOY 081

CD

1999

PD, (TM mp3)

Black Dyke play an arrangement by Graham with added bell-like scale passages, played by cascading cornets in the style of Ronald Binge’s arrangements for Mantovani..

 

 

Bells Across the Meadows  - organ

Artists

Instrument

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Reginald Foort

New Gallery Cinema, London

HMV B 2444

BR 635-VIII (or 835?)

10” 78

[1927]

June 27 p.24

BL

 

Re-issue

- Gramophone K 5293

(French)

10” 78

?

 

WC

Re-issue

- World Records SH 338

LP

1979

BL, WC, TM, (TM CAS)

Spencer Shaw

"with bells"

Winner 4581

?

10” 78

[Mar 27]

Jack Courtnay

Elite Super Cinema, Wimbledon

Regal G 8855

WA5158-1

10” 78

[July 27] rec.1.4.27

BL

Charles Saxby

cinema organ

Zonophone A 329

Z 049282, ZR 1185-I

12” 78

[Jan 28]

Jan 28 p.340

BL

 

Re-issue

- Salabert FL 8

 

12” 78

 

 

WC

Gatty Sellars

church organ

Columbia 5233

WA 6450

10” 78

[Mar 29]

BL

Charles.D. Smart

Plaza Theatre, London

Winner 4933

?

10” 78

[Oct 29]

Oct 29 p.208

Herbert Griffiths

Stoll Picture Theatre

Broadcast Twelve 5113

R2366-III

10” 78

[Dec 29]

Dec 29 p.322

BL

Herbert Griffiths

Stoll Picture Theatre

Broadcast 604

lacks matrix no.

8” 78

[1930?]

 

Sydney Gustard

Gaumont Palace, Chester

HMV B 8063

OBR 270 III

10” 78

[Dec 33]

Dec 33 p.282

BL

Reginald Dixon

Tower Ballroom, Blackpool

Rex 9122               

R 2366-3

10” 78

rec.June 37

Oct 37 p.207

BL, WC, (TM CD)

Reginald Dixon

Tower Ballroom, Blackpool

Columbia SCX 6221

LP

[1968]

cat.Sept  68

BL

Re-issue (as wurlitzer)

- Grasmere GRCD 94

CD

1991      

BL

 

Re-issue

GLMY 3818

 

CD

2009

 

 

Joseph Seal

wurlitzer, Musical Museum, Bradford

Pye PKL 5557

LP

Apr 77 p.1608-9

BL

Armsbee Bancroft

Burton Town Hall

DEROY 1425

 

LP

1978

 

BL

Phil Kelsall

Tower Ballroom, Blackpool

Grasmere

 

?

?

 

 

 

Re-issue

Universal 4659022

 

CD

2000

 

TM

Jan Kees de Ruijter

110-key Marenghi/Verbeeck fair organ

private recording

 

web

rec.Sept 2010

 

 

Thomas Trotter

Town Hall, Birmingham

Regent REGDVD001

 

CD & DVD

2011

Feb 12 p.69-71

PD

?

cinema organ

Orchestrola 2470

?

?

?

MMU (German)

Dixon does not vary much from the published piano version, with just the occasional extra hiatus to change registration, plus 2 single bars cut.

Foort starts with a different bell solo, and makes other cuts totalling 14 bars.

Kelsall plays most of the notes as written in Gatty Sellars’s published organ arrangement. His main tempo is at roughly the prescribed speed, but he pauses at the end of lines like a church organist waiting for a lethargic congregation to wake up.  The bell effects on his organ are ineffective.

The Marenghi fairground organ can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUZgsrOvAek  It plays a straightforward arrangement, with just the odd additional chromaticism and delightful frills in the 2-foot register; the only negative is the overpowering side-drum rolls.

Bancroft plays just the main melody as part of a “Ketelby Selection.” 

 

 

Bells Across the Meadows - other instrumental

Artists

Instruments

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Archive

Terence McGoveran and his International Accordion Band

accordion band

Zonophone 6168

30-8990, OY 3141

10” 78

[Sept 32]               

Sept 32 p.146

BL

Martin Dale [i.e. Len Fillis], Charles D.  Smart

Hawaiian guitar, Wurlitzer organ

Rex 8137

F 700

10” 78

rec. Feb 34

Apr 34 p.444

WC, (TM CD)

Motherwell Flute Band, Wallace

flute band

Waverley SZLP 2081

LP

[Nov ?66] 

BL

Eric Halstead

piano

private recording

www

[2002]

(TM CD)

Trevor Workman

carillon

Bournville Carillon BC000005 

CD

2003

TM

Guy Rowland

piano

Dempsey AWK 1

CD

2009

BL, PD, TM

Guy Rowland

piano

private recording

DVD

rec. 26.11.2009

PD, TM

piano

Artona10000

roll

PD

mr15

piano

Meloto Full Scale Standard Roll 45049b

roll

PD

mr01

Len Phillis plays the just main melody in what is otherwise an organ rendition, with cuts totalling 14 bars.  The Hawaiian guitar is well suited to the wide leaps of the melody, but introduces stuttering double notes which hinder the flow.

The Halstead recording is available at http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/4904171-bells-across-the-meadows-by-ketelbey-mp3  

The recording by Workman uses his own arrangement, and was made at a live performance on Bournville Carillon, Birmingham, on 9th August 2003.

               

Bells Across the Meadows  - vocal

Artists

Instrument

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Jessica Dragonette, orchestra, Bourdon

Song with orchestra

Brunswick 7433

BB 16777

10” 78

rec.Jan 35

 

WC

Ronnie Ronalde, orchestra, Chacksfield

Song, with whistling, orchestra, organ

Columbia DB 2583

CA 21135-1

10” 78

[Oct 49]

Oct 49 p.85

BL, WC

Re-issue

- Columbia SCM 5007

SP

[Jan 53]

Re-issue

- Columbia SCD 2008

cat.1953

Re-issue

- Columbia SEG 7678

(British)

EP

[1956]

cat.Apr.57

 

Re-issue

- Encore ENC 208

(British)

LP

[1959]

 

 

Re-issue

- World Records SH 395

LP

BL

Re-issue

- EMI NTS 222

BL

Re-issue

- Evergreen Melodies EVR 55

CAS

cat.1999               

TM

Re-issue

- HMV 5340042

online cat.2001

 

Re-issue

- EMI 7243 5318 9228

(British)

CD

2001

 

 

 

Re-issue

- Fanfare 004

 

CD

 

 

 

OperaBabes (Rebecca Knight, Karen England, Janet Haney)

Soprano, mezzo-soprano, piano

Warner 256466140-3

 

CD

2012

 

TM

Ronnie Ronalde’s version can be heard at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrRJsZc56yc  He whistles along with the opening melody, adds blackbird-like whistles to the middle section (which is cut by 16 bars), sings the start of the reprise, before reverting to whistling the melody.  An organ is very prominent in the accompaniment.  The final few bars are replaced by a new ending.

 

The OperaBabes sing an unstylish arrangement by Noel Vine, rather than the published duet version by Arthur Baynon.  Perhaps in response to the opening line “While the sun is setting”, the introduction seems to have a clock chiming 5 o’clock rather than 3.