The Welsh Gold Collection - The Great Singers
Benedictus - Robert Arwyn arr. Chris Hazell [3:33] BRYN TERFEL and RHYS MEIRION
Adiemus from Songs of Sancuary Karl Jenkins [3:41] CÔR SEIRIOL
Pie Jesu from Requiem - Andrew Lloyd Webber [3:44] KATHERINE JENKINS and STEFFAN RHYS HUGHES
Bugeilio’r gwenith gwyn (Watching the White Wheat) - John Thomas [3:54] CATRIN FINCH
Ave Maria - Franz Schubert [4:05] ALED JONES
Myfanwy - Joseph Parry [3:13] MORRISTON ORPHEUS CHOIR
Suo gân (Lullaby) - Traditional arr. Brian Hughes [3:13] RHYS MEIRION
Moonlight Sonata (First movement) - Ludwig van Beethoven [6:04] ANNETTE BRYN PARRI
My Little Welsh Home - W.S. Gwynn Williams [2:58] DAVID KEMPSTER
Iesu Annwyl (Pie Jesu) from Requiem - John Rutter [4:24] CÔRDYDD and ELIN MANAHAN THOMAS
Elen Fwyn (Fair Elen) - R.S Hughes [4:59] GWYN HUGHES JONES
Benedictus from The Armed Man - Mass for Peace - Karl Jenkins [4:02] SERENDIPITY
I’ll Walk Beside You - Alan Murray [2:42] DENNIS O’NEILL
Lisa Lân (Fair Lisa) Traditional arr. John Quirk and Shân Cothi [3:43] SHÂN COTHI & ONLY MEN ALOUD
Ora pro nobis (Pray for us) - Meirion Williams [3:55] BRYN TERFEL
Nant y mynydd (The Mountain Stream) -W. Davies [3:40] GWAWR EDWARDS
Byd o heddwch (World in Union) - Gustav Holst [4:25] CÔR GODRE’R ARAN
Der Schiffer (The Boatman) - Franz Schubert [2:00] PAUL CAREY JONES & LL?R WILLIAMS
Where Eagles Sing - Paul Lovatt-Cooper [3:49] CORY BAND
O fortuna from Carmina burana - Carl Orff [1:41] YSGOL GLANAETHWY
rec. 1993-2008
ABC CLASSICS 480 4978 [73:45]
The Welsh Gold Collection - Heartstrings
Pibddawns y mwnci (The Monkey’s Hornpipe) / Y dyrnwr (The Thresher) [3:24] CRASDANT
Myfanwy [4:52] DYLAN CERNYW
Polcas Llewelyn Alaw (Llewelyn Alaw’s Polkas) [3:28] GWENAN GIBBARD
Cadwyn o alawon gwerin (Folk Tune Medley) [5:26] DAFYDD HUW
Cogau Meirion (The Meirionnydd Cuckoos) [6:33] ROBIN HUW BOWEN
Y Maerdy / Pibddawns Merthyr (Merthyr Hornpipe) [2:55] DELYTH JENKINS
Ar lan y môr (Beside the Sea) [2:18] MEINIR HEULYN
Syr Harri Ddu (Black Sir Harry) [2:52] ELINOR BENNETT
Merch Megan (Megan’s Fair Daughter) [3:39] RHES GANOL
Ar hyd y nos (All Through the Night) [1:25] NIA JENKINS
Helfa’r draenog (The Hedgehog Hunt) [2:57] ROBIN HUW BOWEN
Nant y mynydd (The Mountain Stream) / Bwlch Llanberis (Llanberis Pass) [4:03] GWENAN GIBBARD
Llydaw [2:50] AR LOG
Bugeilio’r gwenith gwyn (Watching the White Wheat) [3:54] CATRIN FINCH
Llongau Caernarfon (Ships of Caernarfon) [2:30] MEINIR HEULYN
Conset Dafydd ap Gwilym (Dafydd ap Gwilym’s Conceit) / Symlen ben bys (The Beckoning Fair One) / Erddigan tro’r tant (Awake, Harmonious Strings) [5:35] TELYNAU BRO YSTWYTH
Rec. [2008?]
ABC CLASSICS 476 4294 [60:16]
The Welsh Gold Collection - Traditions
Y jigiau (Jigs) [3:58] CALAN
Mympwy Llwyd (Lloyd’s Whim) / Y fasged wyau (The Egg Basket) [5:30] CRASDANT
Dod dy law (Place Your Hand) [2:28] GWENAN GIBBARD
Y march glas (The Grey Stallion) / Nos Fercher (Wednesday Night) [3:22] AR LOG
Ei di’r deryn du? (Blackbird, Will You Go?) [3:03] SIÂN JAMES
Cainc y datgeiniad (The Singer’s Tune) / Y delyn newydd (The New Harp) [3:43] GWENAN GIBBARD
Aberhonddu (Brecon) [4:52] CARREG LAFAR
Hoff jigiau (Favourite Jigs) [3:12] ROBIN HUW BOWEN
Tros yr Aber (Across the Estuary) / Llapydwndwr (The Drink of the Great Noise) [3:16] CRASDANT
Merch ei mam (Her Mother’s Daughter) [1:44] SIÂN JAMES
Mympwyon (Whims) [3:51] ROBIN HUW BOWEN
Seren y bore (Morning Star) [5:17] CARREG LAFAR
Y deryn du a’i blufyn sidan (Blackbird with his Silken Feathers) [1:59] PLETHYN
Cwrw melyn (Yellow Beer) / Y dyn meddw (The Drunken Man) [4:15] AR LOG
Si hei lwli (Lullaby) [3:08] DAFYDD IWAN
Set y golomen (The Pigeon Set) [4:23] CALAN
ABC CLASSICS 476 4296 [58:01]
A Welsh Choral Spectacular
Roman War Song from Rienzi [3:12]
Humming Chorus from Madama Butterfly [2:43]
Sailors’ Chorus from The Flying Dutchman [3:05]
On My Lips Every Kiss is Like Wine from Giuditta (Judith) [4:32]
Voi, che sapete from The Marriage of Figaro [2:50]
Chiquitita la Novia [3:20]
The Wonder of You [2:34]
Beautiful Dreamer [2:58]
Cenarth [2:57]
Aros Mae’r Mynyddau Mawr [3:20]
Si può? Si può? from Pagliacci [4:47]
Love, Could I Only Tell Thee [3:25]
Yma o Hyd [3:20]
Pam Fod Eira’n Wyn? [4:37]
Working Man [4:12]
Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn [4:46]
When the Saints Go Marching In [4:32]
Organ Symphony (Symphony No. 3): Finale [7:59]
Pantyfedwen [4:03]
Casatschok [3:12]
Cymru Fach [2:37]
Ô vin, dissipe la tristesse from Hamlet [3:11]
Because [3:04]
Y Dymestl [6:04]
Deus Salutis (Llef) [2:36]
I’m Gonna Walk [2:07]
Some Day My Heart Will Awake from King’s Rhapsody [2:56]
My Little Welsh Home [2:30]
Hei-Ho! [2:38]
Là ci darem la mano from Don Giovanni [3:53]
I’se Weary of Waitin’ [4:06]
Mansions of the Lord [2:59]
Rachie [2:56]
Morte Criste [4:28]
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers) - Welsh National Anthem [2:29]
Rebecca Evans (soprano) and Jason Howard (baritone); Dafydd Iwan (guest artist)
Jeffrey Howard (piano); Timothy Morgan (organ)
The London Welsh Male Voice Choir and various choirs
The Band of the Welsh Guards/Haydn James
rec. 21 October 2006, Royal Albert Hall, London
Llanfair [3:48]
O Isis und Osiris from The Magic Flute [3:09]
Divine Brahma from The Pearl Fishers [2:56]
Granada [3:25]
Yfory [3:33]
Calm is the Sea [2:26]
African Trilogy: Siyahamba (Zulu) - Shosholoza (Shona) - Sikelele Africa (South African national anthem) [3:52]
Heaven is My Home [5:35]
By Babylon’s Wave [7:48]
An American Trilogy: Dixie - Battle Hymn of the Republic - All My Trials [5:09]
My Lord, What a Mornin’ [4:11]
Mi glywaf dyner lais (Sarah) [3:10]
Je veux vivre from Romeo and Juliet [3:40]
I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables [3:34]
Diolch i’r Iôr [4:04]
A Cycle of Welsh Hymn Tunes [7:59]
Finlandia ‘Rho i mi’r hedd’ [5:02]
Sanctus ‘Glân geriwbiaid a seraffiaid’ [2:42]
Hen Wlad fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers) - Welsh National Anthem [2:50]
Fflur Wyn (soprano); Wynne Evans (tenor): Huw Llewelyn (baritone)
Jeffrey Howard (piano); Huw Tregelles Williams (organ)
The London Welsh Male Voice Choir and various choirs
Chamber Orchestra of Wales/Alwyn Humphreys
rec. 23 Ocrober 2004, Royal Albert Hall, London
ABC CLASSICS 476 4290 [3 CDs: 61:26 + 63:47 + 78:53]
Here we have a Triple Crown selection of all things Welsh in the 'Welsh Gold' collection, and a final blockbusting 3 CD 'Spectacular', which documents the London Welsh Festival of Male Choirs at the Royal Albert Hall in London. If that's not enough, we have two goes at ‘Land of My Fathers’, which should swell the chest cavities of Welsh men and women the length and breadth of the principality, especially those that don't actually live there.
The three ‘Gold’ discs are ex-Sain, a good label that has leased the contents to ABC, the Australian company that appears to be on something of a Home Countries kick at the moment, having dished out similar sort of offerings for England and Scotland, and having Waltzed Matilda on its own turf as well.
‘Traditions’ is a folk music disc, full of harp and fiddle, and voice. Jigs and reels and lullabies are properly here, and those bands with guitars and flutes score nicely. This is an engaging selection of contemporary folk with some prominent bands and solo artists of stature. More concentrated focus comes via ‘Heartstrings’ which is devoted to the solo harp. There are hornpipes and polkas, folk tune medleys and ballads. One of my own favourites, Y Deryn Pur (or The Gentle Dove - or is it, as it used to be in days of yore, The Faithful Bird?) is infiltrated into a medley played by Robin Huw Bowen. But it’s invidious to single one harpist; they’re all terrific, niftily fingered musicians. ‘The Great Singers’ disc features three singers on the cover; that splendid forward line of Bryn ‘English is my second language’ Terfel, Katherine Jenkins, a young woman vocally seemingly born at 50, and Aled Jones. This is a bit of a misshapen ruck of a disc, syrupy, souped up and going backwards at the breakdowns. Despite the nomenclature there are instrumentalists as well - quite a few - so I think a sin bin is in order for the compilers. Who can tell what the Moonlight Sonata movement is doing here, merely because it’s played by a Welshwoman. Is this parochialism run mad, or am I missing something? No, this one won’t do at all.
Turn instead to that festival of Welshness, naturally held in London, that features a collection of Welsh choral voices from far (Canada, Hong Kong, Australia) and wide (the Primorski Vinko Vodopivec choir from Ljubljana, though come to think of it, what are they doing there?). There are three discs, one devoted to the 2004 event and two to the 2006. The fare is very mixed. A lot, obviously, of Welsh song but also, should you find too much of this too much, Lehár, Mozart, arrangements of Gospels, solo turns from invited singers, and a bit of massed-up Elvis. Let’s forget the last named out of kindness - three million Welshmen singing The Wonder of You is not a pretty sound - but smaller, less pompous arrangements work much better; the guitar accompanied Pam Fod Eira’n Wyn? for instance. The guest artists are Rebecca Evans, Jason Howard (bit of an on/off night) and Dafydd Iwan. Best song? My Little Welsh Home. The 2004 event only has a single CD, and takes in some Africana, Americana, hymnal things, a choral arrangement of Sibelius’s Finlandia - and yes, how we needed that. Here the guests are Fflur Wyn, Wynne Evans and Huw Llywelyn.
Overall these three discs show two things; one, these concerts are necessarily very bitty on disc, and two, whatever they might think to the contrary, Welsh choirs can’t sing Gospel for toffee.
Jonathan Woolf
Should swell the chest cavities of Welsh men and women the length and breadth of the principality, especially those that don't actually live there.