The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

Bells in the High Tower

A beloved Hungarian carol celebrating the cyclical nature of the seasons

Words by Hungarian carol / Howard Box

The beloved Hungarian carol “Krisztus Urunknak” is paired with new English lyrics by Howard Box and a colorful, resounding piano part. A poignant reminder that winter’s long darkness is a necessary step toward renewal.

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Text

Bells in the High Tower

Bells in the high tower, ringing o’er the white hills,
Mocking the winter, singing like the spring rills;
Bells in the high tower, in the cold foretelling
Spring’s green upwelling.

Bells in the old tower, bright as morning chatter
From darting songbirds, summerlong they gather;
Bells in the old tower, now the wine is brimming,
New life beginning.

Bells in the stone tower, echoing the soft sound
Of autumn’s mill wheel, as the wheat is spun round;
Bells in the stone tower, see, the bread is yeasting
For time of feasting.

Bells in the cold tower, ’midst the snow of winter
Sound out the spring song that we may remember;
Bells in the cold tower, after bitter snowing
Come months of growing.

Howard Box

© 1958 by Howard Box, © 1992 by the Unitarian Universalist Association. Adapted and reprinted by permission of the UUA.

Performers

Performers

Premiere: Choir of Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists / Jamie Bartlett (Williamsburg, VA)
Chalice Singers of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Ann Arbor / Glen Thomas Rideout (Ann Arbor, MI)
Choir of First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque / Susan Peck. 450th Anniversary of the Edict of Torda (Albuquerque, NM)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis / Nancy Lower (Davis, CA)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring / Michael Holmes (Silver Spring, MD)
Choir of Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, IL / Cynthia Spiegel (Geneva, IL)
Minnesota Center Chorale / J Michele Edwards. Saint John’s University (Collegeville, MN)
Saginaw Choral Society / Glen Thomas Rideout. The Temple Theatre (Saginaw, MI)