Gardd Cymru / The Garden of Wales


Length / year

5' - 1999

Instrumentation

SATB a cappella

Performance history

First Performance
Aberglasney Gardens
4th July 1999
Primavera

Programme note

"By this time, accompanying every house of status, there would be gardens - a herb garden, orchards and a decorative garden"

- from Tai Uchelwyr Y Beirdd 1350 -1650. Dr Enid Pierce-Roberts (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas 1986)

In July 1999 I was asked to write a short choral work for the opening of the newly restored garden at Aberglasney, near Llandeilo in South West Wales. The BBC broadcast a series of programmes about the restoration process and the opening, and John Trefor, a BBC producer, researched for me a series of poems about Welsh gardens.

I chose two fragments by Robert ab Iefan from the 16th century and Lewis Glyn Cothi from the 15th century. I was attracted to their formality, simplicity and tranquillity. I have attempted to mirror this in the vocal writing by using the simplest means. Each vocal part has just six notes which are employed in a gentle, hypnotic repetition.

'Gardd Cymru' was commissioned by Aberglasney Gardens with funds made available by the Arts Council of Wales and was first performed at the opening of the gardens on 4th July 1999.

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Ond hardd a fydd gardd a gwaith y deimwnt ?

Dyma orchwyl perffaith,

Mae'n alawnt ei manylwaith

Hytra gwedd, rhad Duw ar y gwaith

Gardd gwmpli heini hynod yw ei gwedd

A'i gwaith yn urddasglod

Llysiau o fil, lles yw fod

Yn gyswllt yn ei gosod

- englynion of Robert ab Iefan to the garden of Plas Mysoglen, Llangeinwen, Ynys Mon (2nd half of the 16th century)

Iddaw fo mae neuadd falch

ac yn wengaer gan wyngalch

ac o gylch ogylch i hon

naw o arddau yn wyrddion

Perllanwydd a gwinwydd gwyr

derw ieuainc hyd yr awyr

- from Moliant Rhydderch ap Rhys ap Gruffudd by Lewis Glyn Cothi (1447 -1486)