Our New CD called Calon Lan is on sale.
Welcome to our recording and we are hopeful that you will enjoy the experience of listening to our choice of songs.
We open with Gloria in Excelsis Deo which is a glorious fanfare like chorus by Antonio Lucio Vivaldi composed in 1715. Vivaldi spent most of his life in Venice as a cleric and composer and many of his works were composed for abandoned children to perform in a girl’s orphanage. Gloria is now one of his most famous vocal works, but was lost for about 200 years, having been rediscovered in the 1920s in his old manuscripts. While his most famous work is the Four Seasons, he wrote a very large range of orchestral works, masses and over 40 operas.
Pan Fo’r Nos yn Hir / Ti a Dy Ddoniau which are two songs by the late Ryan Davies who was a well-known personality in Wales, part of the comedy duo Ronnie a Ryan. They had their own show which became so popular it was transferred to BBC1 and broadcast in English. Ryan also had a solo career as a singer, pianist and a songwriter. He has left a legacy of songs and this arrangement of two of them is by John Daniel.
Some Enchanted Evening is a show tune from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. It is the single biggest popular hit to come out of any Rodgers and Hammerstein show which when you consider how many songs they have written. It is a three-verse solo for the leading male character, Emile, in which he describes seeing a stranger, knowing that you will see her again, and dreaming of her laughter. He sings that when you find your “true love”, you must “fly to her side, / And make her your own”.
Benedictus by Robat Arwyn is a contemporary arrangement of the mass Benedictus to the Welsh translation “Bendigedig”. There is hardly a choir in Wales which does not have at least one Robat Arwyn song in its repertoire. His compositions have a broad appeal and he has that rare ability to create a melody which has instant appeal, and stays in the memory.
Ceiliog Ffesant (Cock pheasant ) is by Mared Emlyn the music set to a poem by J M Edwards. Cor Meibion Colwyn specially commissioned the piece in 2015 from Mared, being part sponsored and supported by Ty Cerdd. In her 20s and living in the Conwy Valley, Mared is a PhD graduate (harp and composition) from Bangor University. We gave the First public performance at the National Eisteddfod at Meifod (mid Wales) in August 2015 and have since included her song in a number of concerts. A number of her compositions are inspired by nature and the landscape and these include works for harp, orchestra and now voice.
Calon Lan is a Welsh hymn that outside its religious context has become associated with Welsh rugby, being sung by the supporters before and during almost every match involving the Welsh national team. The words of which were written in the 1890s by Daniel James and normally sung to a tune by John Hughes however the Welsh have a bit of a reputation of liking foreign tunes and putting Welsh hymn words to them. Hence we find the words of Calon Lan fit perfectly to an arrangement by our MD Tudur Eames to a Bette Midler song tune ‘The Rose’.
Chwarelwr (Working Man) by Rita McNeill the Canadian folk singer who was inspired to write a song about working down a coal mine from her visit to the Princess Colliery in Sydney when she and her family lived there. The song is prompted by the stories of the miners’ daily hardships in difficult conditions. The Welsh words however refer to the Quarrymen (Chwarelwyr) of North Wales where slate was the product of their hard labour in the mines. The soloist is Hywel Roberts
Cowboy Carol is a song by Cecil Arthur Broadhurst who was a Canadian artist, songwriter, actor and playwright, who had a passionate interest in and love for all things Western. A Canadian producer asked him to paint a stage set for him, which prompted Broadhurst to focus his talents on the theatre and his gift for songwriting. He subsequently wrote over a hundred cowboy songs, including “There’ll be a New World Beginning from Tonight” which became an annual fixture as the rousing finale of the hugely popular Christmas concerts of Malcolm Sargent at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
For the Beauty of the Earth is a Christian hymn by Folliott S. Pierpoint who was 29 at the time he wrote this hymn; inspired by the beauty of the countryside that surrounded him. This is an arrangement by the English composer John Rutter.
Deep Harmony is a hymn tune written by Handel Parker the English words ‘Sweet is the Work’. Handel Parker also conducted brass bands and the tune was popular with brass bands because of the exquisite harmonies he had written with them in mind. We sing it to the Welsh words from a Welsh hymn ‘O Iesu Mawr’ by David Charles.
Speed Your Journey uses text that is almost a literal translation of the Italian chorus “Va’ Pensiero” from Guiseppe Verdi’s opera Nabucco. Possibly it is better known as the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves.
“Unchained Melody” is a 1955 song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. The music was used as a theme for the little-known prison film Unchained, hence the name. Jimmy Young had a hit with it in the 50’s. It has since become one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, most notably by the Righteous Brothers.
Llanfair, a hymn tune by Robert Williams who was blind from birth, he earned his living as a basket weaver. Born and lived all his life in Mynydd Ithel Farm, Llanfechell on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales. Williams was a musician of some repute who composed tunes and dictated them to a scribe. The tune which we now call Llanfair was at first called Bethel as it appears in his manuscript dated 14th July 1817. The Welsh words of this hymn are by William Williams Pantycelyn who is generally acknowledged as Wales’ most famous hymn writer.
Hafan Gobaith was composed especially for the Hope House appeal, a children’s hospice which was being built in the village of Morda near Oswestry, serving children and their families of Mid and North Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire. Words are by Eleri Richards and the music by Delyth Rees.
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is the national anthem of Wales. The title taken from the first words of the song translates as “Old Land of My Fathers”, usually referred to in English as simply “Land of My Fathers”. The words were written by Evan James and the tune composed by his son, James James, both residents of Pontypridd, Glamorgan, in January 1856. The earliest written copy survives and is part of the collections of the National Library of Wales.
So these fifteen songs are our choice and as you can see there are compositions that span over 300 years from Vivaldi in 1715 to Mared Emlyn in 2015. In this recording it is our wish to demonstrate our varied repertoire over a broad genre. Please enjoy.
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