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I have intermingled my reviews with Richard Ll. Williams own words about the tracks.
01 Cantilena This is my take on the Italian 'baroque’. I hope you find it an exhilarating piece. It started off as one of nine voluntaries for organ.
The title track of the album. This piece really does raise the sprits in the same way as Vaughn Williams Tallis Fantasia but it is of course in a much more condensed form with harmonies that ‘glow’, it has a rich theme with some resemblance to the Rodrigo guitar concerto slow movement.
02 Ardnamurchan Point The most westerly point on mainland Scotland and not too far from Fingal's Cave. It’s my miniature version of that piece in Victorian style. Depicted are the waves crashing on to the cliff below the Egyptian style lighthouse.
This has echoes of the vigour of life at sea in former times, and is probably my favourite piece from the entire album
03 Little Prelude has an obvious reference to J.S. Bach (one of the Brandenburg concertos).
Obviously 'Bachian' and too short to be objectionable!
04 Carol The carol is 'Christ was born on Christmas day' - in medieval style - I can't remember now if the tune is mine or traditional. A sure sign of old age don’t you know ;-)
The 'mediaeval' sound is achieved by plucking the harp strings close to the soundboard
05 Variation on a carol These variations got me a prize at the Welsh National Eisteddfod.
This is I think typical of Welsh variations music, and a very good example, plus it’s a prize winner, what more could one ask for?!
06 David of the white rock is probably the best known Welsh folksong. The dying harper wants one final play on his beloved instrument.
07 Theme and variations was my first piece which got a performance This was at a college concert at Aberystwyth .
08/09 Reeds and Strings My concertina pieces were written as a result of being commissioned for a piece by the International Concertina Society to mark the centenary of Wheatstone's invention of the instrument.
This unusual combination results in an almost Tyrolean atmosphere and should cheer up even the dullest day.
10 Concertina Toccata This Toccata is a seriously virtuosic piece starting in fairly modern style and then looking back (possibly to Schumann) then ending in the present with a flourish. It’s my favourite piece on the disk.
A harder piece to get in to and it really needed a few plays before I could fully appreciate the magic of this piece
11 Ymwelwyr contrasts living in the mining region of South Wales with the joys of a visit to Aberystwyth with its swooping gulls, rippled sand and historic castle ruins which tell of past history.
12 Poem James Thompson is best known for 'Rule Britannia'
A poem about lost love
13 Sonatina is in a somewhat French style. Since the French invented the modern harp this is not inappropriate.
This has a wonderful soaring feel with lots of interesting features that are revealed as the piece progresses.
14 Suai'r Gwynt is the centrepiece of a Christmas cantata. I have used it again with a connecting central section in the Piano Trio.
Côr ABC / ABC Choir Suai’r Gwynt - Nantlais Côr ABC Arweinydd Angharad Fychan, Cyfeilydd Louise Amery
ABC stands for aelwyd bro Ceredigion - literally translates as home area of Ceredigion, but means a youth club. The choir was formed in 1995 as a youth choir and has kept the name… although they are all a little bit older now. :-) The choir is based at Aberystwyth but gives concerts over a wide area. They won chief prize at Strata Florida folk festival in 2007.
15 - 17 Piano trio in A This was written in 2010 and we played it at Cardigan Town Hall where it received a rapturous reception (well no one walked out anyway).
It is a beautifully compact piece which is very concisely stated – Loved it.
"As you may or may not have gathered, tracks 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 are all multi-tracked so that you have string quartets played by two people; I was lucky to find Ailsa who instinctively played just as I wanted.[Alisa Hughes – Cello] It was wonderful finding all my performers virtually on the doorstep and my recording studio too. Many thanks to Branwen for her infinite patience and invaluable musical judgement.” Richard Ll. Williams September 2011
Top Albums and Songs by Richard Llewellyn Williams
||Suair Gwynt||Cantilena||3:18||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Cantilena||Cantilena||2:25||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Ardnamurchan Point||Cantilena||3:39||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Little Prelude||Cantilena||0:45||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Carol||Cantilena||1:15||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Variation On a Carol||Cantilena||4:06||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||David of the White Rock||Cantilena||2:33||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Theme and Variations||Cantilena||4:16||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Reeds and Strings 1||Cantilena||1:56||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Reeds and Strings 2||Cantilena||6:35||£0.79||View In iTunes|