Roy Shield conducts the first performance of his tone poem,
"The Great Bell" (1948)
Part 1

Part 2
The music is based on the old Chinese legend of the Bellmaker (a.k.a. The Clock Tower). Commanded by the Emperor to cast a great bell, bellmaker Kwan Yao fails twice. Under penalty of death if he fails a third time, his young daughter Ko-ai throws herself into the molten metal as a sacrifice so that the bell may be perfect. But, says the legend, whenever the Great Bell is struck, one can hear in the echoes the cry of the dying girl...

The score calls for the sound of a bell of such low tone that it would take one of several tons to give the pitch required. Dr. Shield asked the NBC Engineering Department to build an electronic chime to simulate this tone. And so, near the end of the composition, when the Great Bell is heard, this sound is produced electronically.

The music has three main themes: The Bellworkers, The Father, and The Girl.