I’ve been commissioned to compose works for choir for Stefhan Caddick’s openings event of the renovated ‘Llwyn Celyn’ house by Landmark Trust, on October 5 and 6. The sheer wealth of material about the place, landscape, history, language and nature gathered by research, by knowledgable commissioners, professionals, friends and colleagues is such a treat, I’ll be blogging little snippets to share the joy.
Llwyn Celyn is one of the finest surviving medieval hall houses in the heart of the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons, which is being restored into it’s full glory by the Landmark Trust. Click on the above links to read more.
I was wondering which tunes were hot around 1420 when my friend Dan turned around and sang me ‘Prenez Sur Moi’ by Johannes Ockenghem. Since Dan is from around 14-15C but somehow landed in 2018, he must be reliable source!
Ockenghem is a Flemish composer, sort of from around my native area and I thought it might be fun to sneak a little bit of my genetics into the music …so I took after him. (see what I did there? ha!)
‘Prenez Sur Moi’ was going round in Europe around 1450s. Lyrically it’s a bit of a cheeky song with a dark undertone. Technically it’s a canon consisting of three parts in different keys. The difference in pitch gives each part a different feel. A beautiful challenge to work with.
For the first movement of ‘Enduring Like A Tree Under The Curious Stars’ I wanted to focus on the passing of time, something the title carries so elegantly. A canon is perfect for it – technically it can go on forever, there isn’t really a beginning or an end, it nestles in a moment of time. Ockenghem’s three different keys I changed into four, to voice the four seasons over the choir’s SATB ranges.
‘Four Seasons, Countless Years’ is a slow, pensive work, reminiscent of sacred music, worshipping time and nature. The lyrics are in the nearly extinct Gwenhwyseg dialect. Here is the Soprano part ‘Spring’ I wrote with help of notes and glossaries:
Amsar ō’r dīwadd dīni cadeira yn y cwm ma
Time finally wakes up stones in this valley
Blōta ācor i llycid yn ārath nêt ācos Pen-Y-Glec
Flowers open their eyes in a fine speech near House-Of-Gossip
Dēra dinīwad cyfordis yn y bwa’r wibran
Come comfortable innocence in a bow in the sky
Amsar traddōti, am bỳth āarth mōr annepyg â dŵr ā thɛ̄n, o dan y sêr diarth
Time tells tales, for ever as different as water and fire, curious under the stars
Premiere and performances are coming up soon!
‘…as the Raven knows of singing’ is producing artist Stefhan Caddick’s umbrella title for the openings event, which takes place on October 5 and 6 at Llwyn Celyn, Cwmyoy, Black Mountains, Wales.
Admission is free but ticketed. You can obtain tickets and more information from the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cynefin-of-this-place-tickets-48551002355
#modernmedieval #choralmusic #llywncelyn #blackmountains #breconbeacons #bats #gwenhwyseg #cymru #whatdoesanartistdoallday #enduringlikeatreeunderthecuriousstars #october5and6
@stefhancaddick @LandmarkTrust @unicornsingers @HeritageLotteryFund