Issue 83: In a Persian Market?

Many years ago I used to play in a handbell consort. Indeed, it was a rather top-notch handbell consort. We played “off the table” rather than “in hand”, which meant that we each had an array of up to about fifteen bells set out on a padded surface in front of us, which we would snatch up and ring at PRECISELY the right millisecond in order to perform complex arrangements. There were about a dozen of us, as I remember. I tended to have the bells for – I’m half guessing here – E flat, E, F, F sharp and G in three different octaves, ranging in size from a small mug to an espresso coffee cup.

One of our tougher pieces was an arrangement of Ketelbey’s “In a Persian Market”.

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The Persian Market turns up in many unlikely guises;

I suppose this 1920’s theatre organ music roll recording is the least surprising:

Here is a version performed by a Japanese Spanish Guitar Orchestra:

James Last and His Orchestra had a go:

This version, by a Double Bass Orchestra, in full costume, complete with gigantic gong, has to be my all-time favourite (after our own handbells, of course) double bass

After all this, I have no idea what Ketelbey actually intended!

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