Eisteddfod Choir breaks new ground

5 August 2018

This year’s Eisteddfod Choir concert will break new ground as they perform two very different pieces.

The concert will have two very succinct parts, with the first half a chance to enjoy Geraint Cynan’s amazing arrangements of some of the best Welsh pop songs combined with the classical world’s most iconic melodies.

Describing the project, he said, “The re-arrangement of music exists in a wide range of genres – cycles of folk songs, themes and variations in the classical field, different interpretations of the Great American Songbook and jazz to name but a few. 

“It’s quite a new phenomenon in modern Welsh music, and the aim of this project is to take some of the Welsh music’s scene’s most iconic songs out of their normal habitat and merge them with some of the most wonderful and voluminous classical works in a challenging and forward-thinking experiment.”

This part of the concert will be an emotional journey full of drama, vigour and calm, starting with some ‘Baroque ‘n’ Roll’ as Y Blew’s classic, Maes B is combined with Handel’s masterpiece, Zadok the Priest, before moving on to all kinds of original combinations, including Safwn yn y Bwlch by Hogia’r Wyddfa mixed with Bach’s Sixth Brandenburg Concerto, and a mash up of Meic Stevens’ Tryweryn and the beautiful When I am laid in earth from the opera Dido and Aeneas by Purcell, and much more.

Eisteddfod Organiser and Artistic Director, Elen Elis, said, “This has been a great project to work on over the past year.  It was quite difficult to explain the original concept at the beginning but once the choir started learning Geraint’s lovely arrangements, everyone loved the idea, and it’s also grasped the imagination of our audience, as this was one of the first night to sell-out.”

“The hope is that these wonderful arrangements will be performed regularly on stages across Wales after the premiere at the Wales Millennium Centre. On Sunday.”

The second half of this evening’s concert is the premiere of a brand new adaptation of the classic Welsh rock opera, Teilwng yw’r Oen.  Musicians Meilir Gwynedd and John Quirk have gone back to Handel’s original Messiah, and with the words reworked by the Reverend John Gwilym Jones, we present Teilwng yw’r Oen for the new millennium.

Meilir Gwynedd said, “Working on this project has been so much fun, and a great experience for me as a musician.  By the time I’d finished analysing the original work, I was a huge fan of Handel and his work – especially as he composed the whole work in less than a month!”

“There are a number of different genres in the show, from heavy rock to folk, with touches of soul and a few touches of the blues.  This year’s Eisteddfod has no boundaries, and the same is very true about this show!

Elen Elis added, It’s not easy to coach a choir of more than 350 members, and we are very grateful to everyone who has been part of the project this year, and in particular to Jeffrey Howard, whose enthusiasm as Musical Director has brought everything together.

“I know the choir have enjoyed working on two such different things over the past few months – and I’m sure that the audience will also love to hear such variety on the Pavilion stage.”

The concert is sponsored by Alun Griffiths (Contractors).