Caneuon Gareth Glyn
Caneuon Gareth Glyn
Gareth Glyn’s music has always defied categorisation. For nearly 50 years he has created an enormously varied body of work, ranging from the light, popular in style, to the substantial, challenging output on a large scale. Furthermore, it is no exaggeration to say that he has created pieces that are, and will, be regarded as classics for many years to come – Llanrwst, Carol y Seren and Iesu Yw to name but three. We could regard this disc as Gareth’s musical journey as a composer, from his student days to the present – excellent examples of his skill for setting words, clothed in the most loving and sensitive melodies and harmonies. Undoubtedly one feels the presence of his late father (the National Eisteddfod crown-winning bard T. Glynne Davies) in his instinctive consciousness of words and their sounds, resulting in a most intimate relationship which is such a pleasure for singers. And it is this flair for words embraced in sound that is Gareth’s strength: an ability to compose music that enriches the listener’s experience of the poetry. Despite the unquestionable craftsmanship of his work – the fine structural sense and skilful treatment of motifs and themes – the technique never overwhelms the content and never impedes the aim of creating enjoyment. An obvious question to ask is this: how ‘Welsh’ is Gareth’s musical style? Naturally it takes more than a descriptive title or the language that is being set for music to be considered ‘nationalistic’, but in my opinion Gareth’s residency on the Isle of Anglesey has deepened his Welshness, and has greatly influenced his musical voice. Without doubt the sounds of Anglesey’s coastline pervade his works, whilst magical and mystical locations such as Llanddwyn, Malltraeth and Penmon have sunk deeply into his very being. Further proof of this can be heard in one of his most important extended works, Dirion Dir (two excerpts from which can be heard on this disc – Llys Aberffraw and Brodyr Maeth Hywel), where musical pictures of Anglesey along the ages come alive through the composer’s vivid imagination and masterly portraits. Despite this, Gareth is no islander in the narrow sense. He is indeed a national treasure. Undoubtedly he is one of the most important Welsh composers of our time.