Welsh music has a very distinctive sound that we don’t seem to experience as often as we do English, Scottish and Irish tunes. This delightful collection of arrangements by Darhon Rees-Rorhbacher is a real treat and something a little bit different for your repertoire. As usual, Darhon’s arrangements are wonderfully playable with enough complexity to be interesting. Each of the melodies stands alone but, as she has done with other collections, Darhon has arranged them in a progressive key order so that they can be played together en-suite. As a frequent wedding harpist, I couldn’t help but think that several of the tunes would make wonderful wedding processionals and others are perfect for a prelude. I highly recommend this collection. — Margaret Sanzo Sneddon
Table of Contents
1. Hob y Deri Danno (Away to the Oaken Grove)
2. Cwynfan Brydain (The Lamentation of Britain)
3. Ysgin Aur (The Golden Robe)
4. Dewis Meinwen (The Fair One’s Choice)
5. Triban Gwŷr Morganwg (War Song of the Men of Glamorgan)
6. Ruban Morfydd (Morvydd’s Ribband)
7. Pen Rhaw (The Spade’s Head)
8. Serch Hudol (The Allurement of Love)
9. Castell Tywyn (Towyn Castle)
10. Toriad y Dydd (The Dawn of Day)
11. Croeso’r Wenynen (Welcome the Bee)
12. Galon Drom (The Heavy Heart)
13. Gil y Fwyalch (The Blackbird’s Retreat)
14. Mwynen Môn (The Melody of Mona)
15. Mantell Siani (Jenny’s Mantle)
Welsh airs used in this publication were collected by Edward Jones (1751-1824), harper to King George IV. Jones was born in North Wales and in about 1775 moved to London where he enjoyed a nearly 50-year career as composer, arranger, performer and teacher. He also collected rare books, manuscripts and musical instruments.
Jones was a prolific collector and arranger of melodies and is best remembered for his three-volume work called Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards (1784-1802). In the original editions, there was minimal editing and figured bass indications appear throughout. I have adapted Jones’ arrangements and made suitable adjustments for lever harp. While the original versions were listed as suitable for “harp, piano-forte, or harpsichord,” they actually strongly resembled triple-harp writing.
These airs (in their original keys) have been placed in progressive key order to create a satisfying “Welsh suite” that facilitates lever and pedal changes. Lever changes are indicated between the staves and pedal changes beneath the bass staff. The minimum range needed to play all of the airs in this collection exactly as written is 27 strings (C-A); however, all but three of the airs can be played on a harp with no more than 26 strings (C-G). Guitar chords are included so that the right-hand melody may be played by any C instrument, accompanied by chords on harp, lute, guitar or keyboard.
A recital of Welsh music will attract people from Wales that you didn’t know were in your town/city/area! Try it!