In his review, Raymond Walker says "To give this symphony a title, ‘The Bell’ seems to be an error as its appearance is easily missed."
In fact, in Russian the symphony is nicknamed "Simfoniya s kolokolom", kolokolom meaning alarm bell. In the West, the symphony is sometimes called "Tocsin", from the French word which also means alarm bell. So the bell that opens and closes the symphony is not simply a decorative element, it also has an extra-musical meaning. Shostakovich makes a similar allusion in his 11th symphony.
I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned in the liner notes.
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