Two new CDs: Clytemnestra (BIS/Naxos), released on 4 January, 2020, and Song-Lied-Cân (Tŷ Cerdd), on 6 December, 2019. Clytemnestra contains (obviously) the seven movements of 'Clytemnestra' as well as works by Berg and Mahler. Ruby Hughes is the soprano soloist, the orchestra, BBCNOW, conductor Jac Van Steen. This CD had the distinction of being discussed on BBC Radio 3's 'Record Review' on two successive programmes: the Berg and Mahler pieces on Saturday 28 December and 'Clytemnestra' herself on Saturday, 4 January. Rhian's work was presented by Gillian Moore, Head of Classical Music at the South Bank Centre, and received many favourable comments! The programme is available on the BBC i-player for about a month. Discussion of 'Clytemnestra' begins around 2hrs 02' 44" into the programme.
'Song-Lied-Cân' ('cân' pronounced with a long 'a') contains the three songs of 'The White Amaryllis', the five songs of 'The Flowing Sand' and 'Yr Alarch/The Swan'; these are in the company of a number of beautiful lieder by Clara Schumann. The singers are Katharine Dain and Paul Carey Jones, the pianist, Jocelyn Freeman. All wonderful performances!
BBC Radio 3 has just commissioned Rhian to write a piece for a BBC Singers project for International Women's Day, 2020, and to act as co-ordinator for the project as well as to mentor the younger composers involved. Waiting now for the official announcement!
Rhian has completed a set of songs to a commission from the Ludlow English Song Weekend (director, Iain Burnside), to take place in early April 2020, which she has entitled The Moon and I, using texts by Tabitha Hayward and Anne Stevenson. The singer will be Claire Barnett-Jones, who recently starred in Birtwistle's Mask of Orpheus at ENO, and the pianist, Gamal Khamis. Also in the festival, Roderick Williams, baritone, who has sung several of Rhian's pieces previously, will sing Spring Diary (S&B, 2010), a set of five songs to poems by Anne Stevenson, in his recital with Iain at the festival. These poems were inspired by Anne's summer home, 'Pwll y March', in the heart of Snowdonia. Rhian will also run a composers' workshop and participate in panel discussions.
|Siân Dicker, RS and Krystal Tunnicliffe after the|
Richard Burton Lecture at Swansea University
Rhian attended several excellent performances of her works in October, 2019: Helen Reid played two movements from Dream-Images for solo piano at City University, London, on 18 October, while two days later, Clare Hammond played A Garland for Anne, also for solo piano, at the HGS Series in Hampstead. (What a warm and friendly audience!) Then, in High Wycombe on 29 October, the Tailleferre Ensemble played her Redlands Suite for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, a revised piece from university days, in which Rhian had played the oboe! Since there are two oboists in the woodwind group -- a fairly unusual situation -- Rhian presented them with a newly-minted set of Little Duos for oboe and cor anglais. This set complements LIttle Duo sets for two bassoons and two clarinets, already published. Watch this space for a first performance!
|RS with Clare Hammond (piano)|
|The Tailleferre Ensemble with RS|
On 4 September, Rhian was honoured by a concert devoted to her violin music at the 2nd 'Women's Work' International Conference at Bangor University. The excellent players were Madeleine Mitchell and Nigel Foster; the pieces are One Charming Night, the Violin Sonata and Bitter-Sweet (1st performance, and recently published by Tŷ Cerdd). Rhian introduced the works being played and took part in a panel discussion the next day.
Good to hear via the grapevine that 'Crys y Mab' (no 3 of Cerddi Hynafol) was performed at the National Eisteddfod of Wales at Llanrwst, in a concert on Monday 5 August, by Iona Jones, soprano, and Joy Amman Davies, piano. Two days later, Hilary Summers performed no 2 of the same set, 'Galarnad Heledd (Heledd's Lament)' at the Dartington Summer School with pianist Joanna McGregor. Then there was a lovely performance of The Hare in the Moon at the MostlyModern Festival at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, by Ju Hyeon Han, soprano, and Chris Reynolds, piano, last June. This performance is available on YouTube.
Recent publication (Tŷ Cerdd): Ribbons & Streamers II for flute, viola and harp. This is loosely based on Ribbons and Streamers I for flute and guitar and intermingles carnival-like, exuberant sounds with a mournful, Dowland-esque melody.
An article by Matthew Hoch on the solo piece, Yr Alarch (The Swan), appeared in the US publication, Journal of the IAWM. It discusses the Welsh setting and offers advice to singers unfamiliar with the language on pronunciation, etc, as well as analysing the piece. Matthew has toured the southern United States with Yr Alarch, as well as singing it in the Middle East. The work is about to appear on two CDs in the UK -- in the soprano version (Elin Manahan Thomas) and the baritone version (Paul Carey Jones).