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About this Piece

Composed: 1993

Length: 3 minutes

Orchestration: 3 flutes (3rd = piccolo), 2 oboes, English horn, 3 clarinets (3rd = bass clarinet), 3 bassoons (3rd = contrabassoon), 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, tuba, percussion (bass drum, chimes, cymbals, glockenspiel, mark tree, tuned drum, and vibes), timpani, piano, and strings

In 1993, I led the Boston Pops Orchestra on a tour of Japan where the orchestra has played many times for wonderfully friendly and enthusiastic audiences. That particular tour was nearly contemporaneous with the wedding of Crown Prince Naruhito and Masako Owada, and I thought our concerts would present a good opportunity to celebrate the event by offering a fanfare written especially for these concerts.

I've always been fascinated by the huge Japanese temple bells, and while I made no attempt to emulate these, they were a kind of inspiration for the prominent use of percussion. Sound The Bells! was originally written for brass and percussion only, and I later orchestrated it for full orchestra for use on our Boston Pops concerts.

-- John WIlliams