Records available

CD canto:). Hortus Musicus

DVD In the Mystical Land of Kaydara. Peeter Vähi

DVD Coppélia. A ballet by Léo Delibes

CD-series Great Maestros. Beethoven, Brahms. Kalle Randalu, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi

CD Quarter of a Century with Friends. Arsis, Rémi Boucher, Oliver Kuusik, Rauno Elp

Super Audio CD Maria Magdalena. Sevara Nazarkhan, Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir, State Choir Latvija, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

CD Jerusalem. Hortus Musicus

LP Contra aut pro? Toomas Velmet, Neeme Järvi, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Arvo Pärt

CD The Soul of Fire. Age Juurikas


Handbell ensemble

CD is a world record: the first recording ever of a work for handbells and orchestra. Peeter Vähi’s “Handbell Symphony” is a masterful blending of the brilliant yet relatively soft qualities of handbells with the rich colors available in the modern orchestra. This extremely successful collaboration yields a very interesting and listenable piece. The three movements of “Handbell Symphony” manage to use the bells very idiomatically and yet also create a *new* idiom by combining them with orchestra. It definitely is an amazing first. (Jason Tiller, USA)


1–3 Peeter Vähi Handbell Symphony 26:06
4 Johann Sebastian Bach Pastorale 4:14
5 Franz Schubert Ave Maria 4:33
6 Trad, arr by B Wayne Bisbee A German Music Box 1:55
7 Johann Strauss Radetzky March 3:31
8 Karen Laney Buckwalter Soliloqui 7:02
9 Georg Friedrich Händel Passacaglia 5:13
10 Trad, arr by Mary Kay Parrish Joy To The World 3:03

Performed by: Ensemble of English Handbells Arsis, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (1–3), conductor Aivar Mäe

Published by: Antes Edition / Edition 49 (1–3), Hope Publishing Company (4 & 5), Harold Flammer (6–8), Beckenhorst Press (9), American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (10)   

Recorded at the Estonia Concert Hall
Stereo, Total time 59:05
Antes Edition / Classics
1997 Bella Musica Audio-VideoProduction
BM-CD 31.9103

player Handbell Symphony, Movement II, fragm, 88 sec, mp3
More music

ImagetextBells and chimes are probably the oldest instruments that many Asian and European nations knew already in ancient ages. The music of handbells is not the invention of last centuries, either. The roots of these musical instruments date back to 13th-14th cent when it was not rare that differently tuned church bells called people to the service playing beautiful melodies. Sometimes there was used carillon – bell-ringing mechanism in which a manual keyboard (and often pedals) is connected by wires to the beaters of up to 70 static bells. The bells are usually hung in church tower. Carillons are found throughout Europe and the USA, mechanized carillons were the forerunners of musical clocks and boxes, also forerunners of handbells and handchimes.

ImagetextArsis Handbell Ensemble was grown up from Arsis Chamber Choir – when the conductor of chamber choir, Aivar Mäe heard handbell music in the USA for the first time, it became his fixed idea to bring this wonderful music also to Estonia, thus founding his own ensemble. It was the year 1991. It took two years explanatory work and preparations in both sides of the world and the idea became reality. In 1993 the representatives of the American Guild of Handbell Ringers visited Estonia, and brought the first three octaves of bells as a present to Aivar Mäe and his choir. By now Arsis Handbell Ensemble has one of the most perfect sets in the world that includes bells of seven octaves. All the handbells in the set have been made in the USA, Malmark Incorporation bell factory with whom Arsis has been co-operating already since 1993. The ensemble, having eight members, has toured in different places of the world. One of the most exotic places was the Republic of South Africa where Arsis participated in Eisteddfod festival and was awarded the Grand Prix. Already for four times Arsis has visited the USA where the handbell music is most widely spread.

The ensemble is playing mostly arrangements of classical music but also a lot of original music. They have given out five CDs that include original works by Peeter Vähi, Tõnu Kõrvits, and René Eespere.

Imagetext Aivar Mäe (b 1960) – the artistic director of Arsis Handbell Ensemble. He acquired his musical education at Tallinn Music High School and Estonian Academy of Music where he studied choral conducting with Prof Ants Sööt. Aivar Mäe has been working with several choirs in Estonia as well as abroad – in Sweden and the USA. He has been the leader of international choir festivals, also running seminars for choral music. In 1992, Aivar Mäe studied in the USA for a year and a half improving his knowledge at the music department of Portland University with Prof Bruce Brown. Since 1999, he has been working as the general manager of Eesti Kontsert, the National Concert Institute of Estonia, 2004–06 as the general manager of Vanemuine Theatre, and since 2009 the general manager of the Estonian National Opera.

Press resonance

Other recordings with Arsis Handbell Ensemble: Om Mani Padme Hung, Traumzeit, Supreme Silence, Awake, My Heart!, The Flutish Kingdom, In Dies, World Festival Of Sacred Music Europe, Planetentöne Vol 2, Night Music, Music Box, Legend, Terra MarianaPrelude, The Best of Arsis Bells

See other records of Peeter Vähi: Maria Magdalena, A Chant of Bamboo, Supreme Silence, To His Highness Salvador D, 2000 Years after the Birth of Christ, Tamula Fire Collage, The Path to the Heart of AsiaSounds of the Silver Moon, Quarter of a Century with Friends

Distribution in Estonia by Easy-Living Music, and Edition 49, phone +372 50 82223, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Distribution in Europe by Edition 49, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and jpc
International distribution by Amazon

See also: www.arsis.ee