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"Many many years ago a dear friend of mine copied out for me in her own hand the complete four part poem by Edgar Allen Poe entitled 'The Bells'. Alas this 'friend' relationship was doomed as I wanted more from it than she did. But I kept her handwritten transcription close at hand (I have it with me even now on my desk as I write this), and a few months or so after we parted ways way back then, I got it into my head that I would write a piece inspired by it, 'From the Bells...'. "As the poem has 4 'movements' - sleigh bells (silver), wedding bells (golden), alarm bells (possibly brass or steel) and steeple bells (iron) - I too wrote my piece, originally an octet for brass and percussion, in movements, - but only 3, naturally leaving out the one about the wedding bells... At the time I was blissfully unaware of all the other composers since Poe's time that have, as well, been caught up in the ebb and accumulating rhythm of his verses. These include the most famous chorus and orchestra works by Rachmaninoff and Holbrooke, a rock version by the Hour Glass, and a folk song by Phil Ochs!
  "Flash forward 35 years, after Steven Schick asked me to write an overture-type piece to act as a kind of prelude to the last of the season's Stravinsky-themed concerts, I came up with the notion to use the best parts of that long ago piece which I never actually got a chance to hear. To distinguish this from all the other works titled 'The Bells' inspired by the same poem, I chose to pull out that most singularly descriptive word, 'tintinnabulation', for its title. "By the way, I am also a big fan since childhood of the Adventures of Tintin, a Belgian comic book hero. (Spielberg's Christmas blockbuster is based on the same character.) This piece 'Tintinnabulation' is not to be confused with 'Tintin Adulation' a piece I might write in the future;)"

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