Taliesin’s Songbook is an exploration of Welsh song of the 20th & 21st Centuries, and features unique performances including a range of prominent Welsh artists: sopranos Natalya Romaniw, Rebecca Evans, Elin Manahan Thomas and Susan Bullock; baritone Gareth Brynmor John; tenor Elgan Llŷr Thomas, and harpist Catrin Finch.
The album features songs in Welsh and English by Alun Hoddinott, William Mathias, Dilys Elwyn-Edwards, Huw Watkins, Mark Bowden, Gareth Glyn, Rhian Samuel and Grace Williams among other acclaimed Welsh composers, living and past.
Piano for each performance is by Welsh pianist Andrew Matthews-Owen, who curated the repertoire for the album, a professor and Lead Tutor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.
Andrew Matthews-Owen said: “We offer here a collection of songs, performed by musicians, colleagues and friends united by a passion for music and a love of Wales, written by local and national composers. Welsh listeners will know some of the songs, and most of the composers I am sure. Hopefully they will have their love for some composers reinforced and their sense of curiosity for new names sparked. Listeners from outside of Wales, and outside of the UK, will be able to enjoy and sample some of the beautiful art songs that have been written over the past century or so performed by exceptional singers and sung from the heart. Almost all the texts here are by Welsh writers, some in Welsh and some in English. Their verses evoke landscapes at once epic and familiar, at other times mysterious and untouchable, as well as more personal musings on love, loss and the human condition.”
DThe main release is heralded on 7 May with a digital release of Dilys Elwyn-Edwards’s tender Gwisg Nefoedd (Cloths of Heaven) performed by Rebecca Evans and Andrew Matthews-Owen); the much-loved song also features on the album in its customary English setting of WB Yeats’s classic verse, but is rarely heard in Meredydd Evans’s Welsh translation, as presented on this digital single.
Deborah Keyser Director of Tŷ Cerdd said “It’s a joy to be sharing Taliesin’s Songbook with audiences, particularly at a time when we’re all yearning to experience live music-making together. We were so thrilled to work with some of Wales’s foremost artists on the release – which, from works by living composers to gems from the 20th Century, really is a treasury of Welsh song.”
Tŷ Cerdd Records and recording studio are an important part of Tŷ Cerdd (Music Centre Wales), which is based at Wales Millennium Centre and provides a central hub for the music community with the aim of promoting and celebrating music-making both at home in Wales, and to the rest of the world.
Taliesin’s Songbook is available to order now on the Tŷ Cerdd site and is available to stream.