St David's Day Celebration, now with Extra Triple Crown Shine
As you will all know, Thursday 1 March is St David's Day, and we shall be celebrating with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales' annual St David's Day Concert at St David's Hall. There were a lot of saints in that sentence.
Both my bachelors and masters papers were on the work of the composer and violist Rebecca Clarke, and so I was pleased to see that our programme for this concert has a decidedly feminine edge. Indeed, it is quite a celebration of Welsh women with music by composers Grace Williams and Morfydd Owen, and performances by the lovely Catrin Finch (who, may I add, always has fabulous handbags and concert clothes) and Cardiff born soprano, Rosemary Joshua.
I always find it inspiring to read about women who made their way in the musical world in the days when its 'old boys club' nature was not questioned and it would appear that Wales produced more than its fair share of these trailblazing for the sisterhood ladies!
Morfydd Owen was not a name I was familiar with, so I went for a little nosy online to see what I could find out (and no, I didn't use Wikipedia). Morfydd was something of a pianistic wunderkind, before turning her attentions to composition. She was a student at Cardiff University before continuing her studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where she later became a member of staff.
Unfortunately, she died tragically young (not even 30) and so perhaps she never got to fulfill her potential entirely. She was also exceptionally beautiful! I'm looking forward to discovering her work Threnody On The Passing Of Branwen; you never know what an unknown work will bring and this work is laden with medieval story overtones - I love a good story.
I rather like the work by Williams that we will play - her Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes. We've played it quite a number of times before and it's light and fun. I would very much like to hear some of her song settings with orchestra someday though.
I've played the Concierto de Aranjuez many times (or the Orange Juice Concerto - go on say Aranjuez in your best accent, it definitely sounds a bit like orange juice), but never with harp solo. I really liked Catrin's recording of the Goldberg Variations though, another work definitely not for harp, so I'm convinced this will work too!
My native Ireland may be the land of saints and scholars, but Wales is most definitely the land of song, and rounding off the concert will be a rousing rendition of favourite Welsh songs and hymns. Led by the voices of a mass primary schools choir it should be a fitting celebration for this saint's day. Additionally, with the Triple Crown sitting all shiny in the trophy cabinet, you all have extra reasons for singing doubly loud this St David's Day...not that I'm bitter about the rugby at all!
For further information about the Orchestra's St David's Day gala concert, or to book tickets, call the St David's Hall Box Office on 029 2087 8444.