An exciting new work celebrating Wales’ patron saint will be premiered at St David’s hall on St David’s Day.
BBC National Orchestra of Wales with Catrin Finch will perform the world premiere of Vita Davidis by Gareth Glyn, portraying scenes from the life of Saint David. Presented by Beti George, the concert will also feature tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones singing works by Morfydd Owen and Dilys Elwyn-Edwards.
Glyn’s new harp concerto, a co-commission between BBC NOW and Tŷ Cerdd, will be led by renowned Welsh conductor Grant Llewellyn.
Gareth Glyn says “This compact concerto is a musical depiction of many of the elements of the story – the storm in which David was born, the dove which taught him the ways of God, the hill that arose beneath his feet as he preached, and his last words: ‘Be joyful, and do the little things.’
“The work is a showpiece for the harp, in the skilful hands of Catrin Finch, allowing it to display all its varied qualities from the expressive and delicate to the tempestuous and virtuosic.”
To mark this new commission, BBC NOW are creating a 360˚ video, allowing audiences to explore in Virtual Reality (VR), the places and stories that have inspired Gareth’s new work. The video will also feature footage of the premiere performance.
As part of the orchestra’s 90th year, this concert celebrates Wales’ rich musical heritage. The concert looks back at composers who played significant roles in the BBC NOW’s development and identity, alongside current composers in Wales such as Sir Karl Jenkins and Paul Mealor. Mansel Thomas a composer from the Rhondda Valley was Music Assistant and Deputy Conductor for BBC NOW in 1936, and worked with the orchestra for over 25 years.
The mid 1940s saw a new generation of composers in Wales, with BBC NOW giving premieres by some of the most promising. Grace Williams’ work Sea Sketches was one of the first major premieres that the BBC Welsh Orchestra (as it was then called) gave in 1947. Swansea based composer Daniel Jones’ First Symphony was premiered in 1948 conducted by the composer himself. Sat in the audience of that very performance was a eighteen year old Alun Hoddinott, who would go on to forge a relationship with BBC NOW for over 60 years. BBC NOW’s home in Cardiff Bay is attributed to the very same man – BBC Hoddinott Hall.
During the interval, the Cardiff North Forget-me-not Chorus, which supports people with dementia and their families through weekly singing sessions, will perform alongside members of BBC National Chorus of Wales. The performance is part of an Arts Council of Wales project for this year’s UK-wide festival Get Creative (March 17-25), which shines a light on how taking part in creative activity makes a real difference to lives. For more information visit bbc.co.uk/getcreativewales
The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio 3, and televised on the 10 March on S4C.
- Celebrate St David’s Day with BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales at St David’s Hall on 1 March 2018 at 7.30pm. For tickets and more information visit bbc.co.uk/bbcnow or contact the BBC NOW Audience Line on 0800 052 1812.