Not many handbell solos are posted on this blog, mainly because I have a hard time finding ones that keep me engaged for the entire piece. However, I have recently fallen in love with handbell soloist Nancy Kirkner’s performance of “Bonny Doon”. Arranged by her accompanist Janet Anderson, this beautiful arrangement takes a standard Scottish tune to some unexpected places and brings the audience on a journey of exploration as they discover new and exciting variations. Just when you think you know where the piece is headed the chord structure veers off in a different direction. Kirkner and Anderson are both brilliant musicians who combine their instruments beautifully, even though Anderson is technically accompanying the bells.
I first heard this piece during Kirkner’s interview on the Handbell Podcast, which should be required listening for any handbell musician who wants to tackle the instrument professionally. Because Krikner started ringing bells relatively recently, she has some interesting views on the habits the bell community has formed in regards to professionalism. But I will save that for another day.