Caneuon y Gerddi - Songs of the Gardens

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Length / year

8' - 1999

Instrumentation

high or low voice/piano

Performance history

First Performance
St. Davids Hall, Cardiff
18th May 1999
Jeremy Huw Williams - baritone
Nigel Foster - piano

US Premiere
New York
24th July 1999
Michael Jones - Bass

Recording
(Sain Recording)
2000
Jeremy Huw Williams - baritone
Nigel Foster - piano

Broadcast
Stad y Rug broadcast, Classic FM
26th March 2002
Jeremy Huw Williams

Programme note

Early in 1999 I was commissioned to write a choral work for the opening of the newly restored garden at Aberglasney near Llandeilo, South West Wales. John Trefor, a producer from BBC Wales, assisted me by researching poems by early Welsh writers about gardens. This research was so rich in its results that there were many delightful poems that could not be used for this one commission.

At the same time I was working on a short song cycle, commissioned by Jeremy Huw Williams. I was attracted to the simplicity, elegance and timelessness of the 'garden' poems and decided to set four as a group for this commission. This was not the first time that I had written music inspired by gardens; my violin work 'Paradise Haunts . . .' written in 1995 was written in response to the extraordinary garden of film maker Derek Jarman.

The songs in 'Caneuon y Gerddi' are miniatures, fleeting impressions of the highly developed and tranquil world of 16th century aristocratic houses in Wales. Each is built on a simple, minimalistic musical idea.

'Caneuon y Gerddi' was commissioned by Jeremy Huw Williams with funds made available by the Arts Council of Wales, and was first performed at St. David's Hall, Cardiff on 18th May 1999.