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Arsis Ensemble Discography

To date, Arsis Handbell Ensemble has released seven CDs. Each of them is made unique by its musical approach and the pieces chosen, when all of them are marked by the professional interpretation that characterised the Ensemble.

Handbell Symphony, the first CD released in 1997, let a prominent place to composer Peeter Vähi’s Handbell Symphony, a work for handbells and orchestra. This first and extremely successful collaboration between the renown Estonian composer and the Ensemble will find a prolongation the very next year, in 1998, with the record of Supreme Silence. This composition is not easily accommodated under any style or genre. Peeter Vähi himself characterised it as a reminiscent of stylized Oriental music.

The next album bears the name of a piece especially composed by René Espere, another well known Estonian composer, entitled In dies. This composition brings a surprisingly aesthetic modern touch to an album that is more classical in the choice of the remaining pieces, such as Tchaikovsky and Bizet.

In 2003, Arsis Handbell Ensemble dedicated the whole album to Estonian music. Arranged by Tõnu Kõrvits, Awake, my heart! is a musical journey taking us far back in time. Theses archaic and sacred folk songs from Estonian villages find their origin at the roots of Estonian national singing heritage. This album is the first performed at eight musicians.

Estonian music is almost absent of the album called Night Music, except for the very last piece of the CD, the quiet and warm Talveöö composed by A. Tammeorg. For the very first time, the release is mostly made of classical pieces. The truth is that arranged by V. Soonberg and interpreted by Arsis, even the most classical pieces have that ineffable touch that we enjoy so much in Arsis handbell music.

Although Terra Mariana is a Latin for Land of Mary (the official name of Medieval Livonia) and the performers are from Estonia, the music is focused on Mary-related hymns in general and it is written by composers from France, Germany and Italy. Arsis's sixth album holds the tradition of the previously released Night Music and consists mainly of classical music. In addition to handbell-music, there is also boy soprano Heldur Harry Põlda performing on this CD, whose voice sounds harmoniusly with handbells.

In 2013 released album The Best of Arsis Bells is dedicated to the ensemble’s 20th Anniversary. CD consists of the best pieces of Arsis through the 20 years of activity. On the album Estonian music as original works and arrangements of folk songs can be heard, as well the classical music. Different soloists, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Estonian Male Choir are adding special color to the album. Additionally to the CD a DVD was released with Arsis’ live-performances as ensemble’s videochronicle.