In the Bleak Midwinter
This melody is an ancient one, before Gustav Holst created the hymn tune most commonly associated with this title. It is written in modes, rather than keys. What appears to be Bb Major or g minor, is really G modal, and then the modulation into what appears to be C Major or a minor is really in F modal. The piece employs gyros, echoes and melodies doubled in treble and bass. It is difficult only in the fact that it has eighth-note lines above and below the melody lines, and employs non-traditional chords. In any other medium, they would sound strange, but in handbells, they are very effective. The piece is not especially about Christmas, as it comes more in the Epiphany season and winter. This one will be listened to carefully, because it is very mysterious and haunting, and pulls the listener in on many levels. It is 51 measures.