Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Two Worlds Of The Welsh Harp - William Taylor, Harps - Dorian Recordings, 1999

Ah, see! our last, best harper goes. / Sweet as his strain be his repose! / Extinct are all the tuneful fires, / And music with Twm Bach expires; / No finger now remains to bring / The tone of rapture from the string."

Those times are gone, but the music happily lives on as this most quirky, unusual disc displays. 

This is one of my favorite instrumental recordings, and one of the most original and "alien" you
are likely to hear unless you are, in particular, a fan of the Welsh harps or a scholar of such musics.
One thing I find quite entrancing especially, is the sitar-like distinctive timbre and resonance, evident in particular by the sustained metallic 'buzz' (which can be heard in the very first track, and several
others..such is the magic of an "archaic" instrument imo). 

Harper William Taylor contrasts two completely different repertoires of ancient harp music from Wales. The 'Robert ap Huw manuscript' from 1613 is the earliest body of harp music from anywhere in Europe. Medieval in character it might be dated to the 14th and 15th century, representing the otherwise lost repertoire of the medieval Welsh bards. On the other hand, Edward Jones' baroque compilation "Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards" from 1784-1825 preserved those fashionable dance tunes, which Jones thought was ancient music, but is rather contemporary repertory - "not on the whole very ancient and not at all Welsh in origin, but very Welsh in manner". Each tune is played on reconstructed metal-strung replicas of 12th-16th century Welsh harps. Unlike the later sophisticated triple harp, the Gothic harp has a more limited range of expression and tonal shading. I hope everyone tries out this magic recording... Enjoy

Track listing (minus the ancient Welsh titles):

1. Gosteg Of Master David
2. Erddigan Of The Spindle-Whorl
3. The Whirling Of The Spin-ning Wheel
4. Caniad Of The White Piper
5. Caniad Of St. Silin
6. The King's Note
7. King Charles's Fancy
8. The King's Fancy
9. Caniad Of The Chm
10. The Ebb Of The Tide
11. Little Caniad On The Gogywair Tuning
12. The Silken-Fair
13. Little Tom's Adieu
14. Cainc Of David The Prophet
15. Cainc Of David The Prophet

*I'm adding my own pdf of the liner notes, however the actual booklet contains fascinating illustrations and examples of the different harps used; if I ever can get another scanner (that is, afford to buy anything!) I will absolutely share it!!




Anonymous said...

Thanks! I have yet to hear this recording, but I would like to thank you for Rosner's orchestral disc (Vol. 2).

That disc seems to show other sides of his music - for example, Sephardic Rhapsody reminds me very much of Hovhaness, to my surprise. Trumpet concerto, on the other hand, is quite modern sounding, maybe even dissonant at times. Interesting disc with wide variety of musical flavors.

I have a request also, if you do not mind. Do you happen to have any music by American composer David Sampson? Or any American brass music? I seem to be on a contemporary brass and woodwinds music kick nowdays:)


Anonymous said...

Correction - That must be Vol.1 :)


Tzadik, not signed in! said...

Hey Piterets, very happy you enjoyed the Rosner Orchestral disc on Albany (vol 1 indeed...thus far another volume has not come to be..) it is a nice survey all around. The concerto is my favorite piece on the disc. David Sampson...I'm not too sure, if I do it's not here in my apartment, I only have a small part of my collection here believe it or not!

Brass recordings...I have many, but again a lot of them are stored away still (crystal records, summit, etc.)but also I can look around here. I have another great Eric Ewazen disc right here for Brass quintet and guests. That I can post tonight for you...


Anonymous said...

Summit Records would be fine, whenever you could reach them. :) Ewazen is good too.

Your shares are unique. Thanks so much.


Tzadik said...

Hey Piterets no problem friend, you are most welcome. Of course there's great brass recordings on Telarc and other 'larger' labels, however it (sometimes) depends on if you only want contemporary or 20th century brass music or earlier, even all the way back to composers like Giovanni Gabrieli.. Tz

Anonymous said...

I guess my choice would be most contemporary brass music, followed by some 20th century. :)


Tzadik said...

Got it :)

Audentity said...

Fascinating music. Thanks!!

Tzadik said...

Greetings, Audentity thnks for commenting. You are very welcome, I find it fascinating as well to this day!

Anonymous said...

Do you still have this CD? Any possibility of re-uploading it somewhere? If so and you could I'd be very much obliged as I would love to give this one a listen, especially after hearing some samples.