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Cylchlythyr/Newsletter 33 Date/Dyddiad: Gorffennaf/July 2009
from the editor

Dear Friends,

As the tide of available funding goes down, like water leaching out from between the stones of a riverbed, and radio and TV reflect increasing anxiety and desperation in the jobs market, the question presents itself – how to do what I have to do, with less money...?

The more I thought about this, the more seemed to be there to be thought about, so I put it in a separate article (see below). And if anyone has any wisdom to share on this rather thorny subject, then a brief and snappy “letter to the Editor”, pointing us all in the right direction, would be more than welcome!

Which leaves me thinking about today in Cardiff - it seems that the centre of Cardiff was closed today, shops shut, buses diverted to bus stops half a mile out, the place milling with people. This was because, nestling in the centre between the station, the bus terminus, and the main shopping street, is the Wales Millennium Stadium, and some of what goes on there can literally bring a city to a stop. Today it was a pop concert, and to my shame I don't know who was performing. It worries me that there is such a chasm between my bit of the music profession and what great swathes of the population listen to. What my much loved daughter-in-law has on her ipod, I wouldn't recognise. Perhaps the world is just too big for one person to know everything?

Enid
oddiwrth y golygydd

Annwyl gyfeillion,

Wrth i'r llanw ariannol fynd i lawr ym myd y celfyddydau, fel dwr yn diflannu rhwng cerryg ar waelod afon, a chyda'r radio a'r teledu'n adlewyrchu pryder ac anobaith mwy a mwy o bobl ynglyn â'u cartrefi a'u swyddi, rhaid gofyn y cwestiwn, efallai: sut i wneud beth sydd raid i mi ei wneud, a gwario llai?

Po fwyaf y meddyliwn am hyn, mwyaf dyrys oedd y peth, felly dyma ei roi mewn erthygl fechan ar wahan (gweler isod).Os oes neb â syniadau yn y cyswllt yma, rhannwch hwy â ni, da chi! - byddai llythyr byr a brathiog “at y Golygydd” yn ardderchog!

A beth am Gaerdydd heddiw? - ynddengys bod canol y ddinas ar gau ddrwy'r dydd, y siopau ynghaead, y bysiau wedi eu hailgyfeirio, a'i safleoedd wedi eu symud hanner milltir allan o'r canol, y lle'n fwrlwm o bobl. Hyn i gyd am fod Stadiwm y Mileniwm yn sefyll yn dwt yn y canol rhwng yr orsaf ganolog, gorsaf y bysiau, a'r stryd fawr, ac y gall rhai achlysuron yn y Stadiwm ddod â'r ddinas gyfan i stop. Heddiw, 'roedd hyn am fod cyngerdd pop yn y Stadiwm, ac er cywilydd i mi, 'dwn i ddim pwy oedd yn canu. Mae'n boen meddwl i mi bod y fath agendor yn bod rhwng fy nghornel fechan i o'r byd cerddorol, a'r hyn mae mwyafrif llethol y boblogaeth yn gwrando arno drwy'r amser. Y caneuon sydd ar ipod fy merch-yng-nghyfraith annwyl – fe fyddwn i'n methu'n lân a'u hadnabod. Tybed a yw'r byd yn rhy fawr i un person allu gwybod popeth?

Enid
from the committee

The Committee met on April 24th at our Treasurer Ian Lawson's house in Penarth, Cardiff, where using a Skype connection we were able to speak with North Wales members Guto Puw and Gareth Glyn. Audrey, our wonderful and energetic Secretary, together with our Treasurer, has launched a thoroughgoing review of the membership, whose subscriptions will now be expected every July.

Making a recording of some of the members' music played at the Bangor New Music Festival in 2007, was very much in our minds as a plan of action. Consideration was also given to the Members' Day, with AGM, on July 11th, which was held by courtesy and kindness of Rosemary Thorpe, who gave us the use of her house and music room at Lampeter for the day (see below).

Our attention was then turned to opportunities to connect with and encourage young composers, particularly with regard to existing organisations such as the “Young Composer of Dyfed”, and the Urdd Eisteddfod.

We are aware of the lack of a forum for members, and considered a plan to expand and reformat our website to include a members' area reachable only by password.


The Schools project, being a follow-up to the Machynlleth concert, has been brought to a successful conclusion, thanks to Owain Llwyd who undertook to run workshops in schools in Welsh in North Wales. Songs composed by the children were recorded in April by Owain Llwyd, with Joy Cornock, soprano and Andrew Wilson-Dickson, piano.

With regard to the BBCNOW's recent Composers' Day, it was agreed to seek closer cooperation with the BBC in the area of performing new Welsh music. In addition to this, plans for a second, future members' day with workshops were discussed.
oddi wrth y gweithgor

Cyfarfyddodd y Gweithgor ar Ebrill 24 yn nhy'r Trysorydd, Ian Lawson, ym Mhenarth, Caerdydd. Yno cawsom gyfathrebu drwy gysylltiad Skype â'n haelodau yn y Gogledd, Guto Puw a Gareth Glyn.

Mae Audrey, ein Hysgrifennyddes ardderchog, ynghyd â'r Trysorydd, wedi cychwyn adolygiad trwyadl o'n rhestr aelodaeth, ac o hyn ymlaen disgwylir i bob tâl aelodaeth ddod i law ym mis Gorffennaf bob blwyddyn.

Mae bwriad clir gan y Gweithgor i gwblhau recordiad o rai o'r darnau gan ein haelodau a gafodd eu perfformio yn ystod Gwyl Gerdd Newydd Bangor ym 2007.

Daeth ein Dydd Aelodau (gyda Chyfarfod Blynyddol) hefyd dan sylw. .Cynhaliwyd hwn ar Gorffennaf 11, trwy garedigrwydd hynod Rosemary Thorpe, a agorodd ei thy a'i hystafell gerdd yn Llanbedr i ni am y dydd (gweler isod).

Yna daeth cyfleoedd dan sylw i gysylltu â chyfansoddwyr ifainc, a'u cefnogi, yn arbennig trwy gyrff a fo'n bod yn barod, megis “Young Composer of Dyfed”, ac Eisteddfod yr Urdd.

Rydym yn ymwybodol o ddiffyg fforwm i'm haelodau, felly bu trafod cynllun i ehangu ac ail-fformadu ein gwefan, fel ei bod yn cynnwys canolfan i aelodau na ellir mynd iddi heblaw gyda chyfrinair.

Daethwyd â'r Prosiect Ysgolion, yn canlyn ein cyngerdd ym Machynlleth, i ben yn llwyddiannus. Mae diolch yn ddyledus i Owain Llwyd, a ymgymrodd â chynnal gweithdai yn yr iaith Gymraeg mewn ysgolion yng Ngogledd Cymru. Recordiwyd caneuon a gyfansoddodd y plant ym mis Ebrill gan Owain, gyda Joy Cornock, soprano, ac Andrew Wilson-Dickson, piano.

Gyda golwg ar Ddiwrnod Cyfansoddwyr diweddar Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Gymreig y BBC, cytunwyd i geisio cyfleoedd i gydweithio'n agosach gyda'r BBC ym maes cerddoriaeth newydd.

Yn ogystal â hyn, cytunwyd i geisio cyfle i gynnal Dydd Aelodaeth eto yn y dyfodol.
reports

I don’t often do this. Write open letters/comments. But, I had been in correspondence with Enid about nominations for the RPS Awards, and out of the blue she asked if I would write something for the forthcoming Newsletter about my composing and holding down a busy teaching post. I didn’t think that readers would be much interested in that, and, besides, the answer is simple: difficult; very difficult, isolating; (I understand how Haydn felt marooned ‘in the sticks’ at Esterhazy!). Then, it occurred to me that as there has been some correspondence recently in these pages concerning contemporary opera, I might throw my lot into the arena about this, because it circuitously brings me to another point which Enid and I briefly corresponded about just lately, and that was the nomination of my orchestral piece Points of Decision for an RPS award by Ty Cerdd (Thank you, Ruth et al) The piece that won the ‘Large Scale Composition’ category was “Into the Little Hill” by George Benjamin, and here I am getting to the point – new opera, and a very well deserved winner it was too. If you can get the opportunity to SEE it on stage, then do everything you can to do so: it will reward your efforts. It is indeed a masterpiece of composition.

I have seen several new large scale pieces in recent years, ranging from Gawain and The Minotaur, by Harrison Birtwistle, The Tempest (Thomas Ades), The Sacrifice (James MacMillan), and Into the Little Hill (George Benjamin), all of which, in their own way, were highly successful, in large part, I contend, because of their libretti, which were written by dramatists/poets with a keen sense of the passing of drama, narrative, the gestures of the medium, and also the language that it requires. It has always seemed to me to be a difficult task to ask anyone to write a libretto (as much as to write an opera!), and not every writer can do it. The more successful attempts that I have experienced in the theatre have always been written by dramatists, and not novelists, because they seem to understand the particular expertise that is required of them, some of which I have outlined above. Whether it is the ritualistic tempo of the drama of the Birtwistle pieces, or the eloquence of the grand opera design of the MacMillan, it was the libretto that built the foundations of the piece. Of course, you still have to have good music to go with it, but without the former then the composer is surely on a difficult uphill struggle. And talking about hills, Into the Little Hill by George Benjamin is the latest that I have seen which confirms this to me. Here the composer was astute enough to understand the conflict that can arise when setting words to music when using a contemporary idiom. It is all about language.

All this, of course, is my humble opinion, but in the twenty first century, we have, as composers, a problem with language and style. The content, and certainly the rhythmic structure of some verse, for example, can pose problems for composers who are working with a contemporary language, for, often as not, the meaning of the words that need to be expressed, and the syllabic rhythmic stresses of the metre are sometimes at odds with the inherent style of the music. Imagine Wordsworth set by Boulez, or E.E.Cummings (or is it e.e.cummings?) set by Finzi. Inevitably the style and content of the text needs to match that of the language, so if one wants to set ‘early’ texts how does one do it, today. without pitch and rhythm forcing themselves on the composer. The result can either be pastiche, or meaningless song. This, it seems to me, is why both Birtwistle and Benjamin, to take just two examples, have used poets/dramatists who are conversant with the fundamentals of drama, and are able to fashion texts in a contemporary manner, with a view to rhythm, accent, and meaning, and which do not conflict with their own contemporary idiom. Benjamin recognises the inherent problem of opera in the twentieth and twenty first centuries, when he says that “A lot of music-theatre in the last 50 years has side-stepped the issue of narrative”, and that “when people try to continue the line of naturalistic, nineteenth century opera, it sounds phoney and wrong in the twenty first century. It just doesn’t seem the art-form of our day, and it can seem awkward, even embarrassing”. (‘new notes’ February 2009) To avoid this, and find a new way forward, Benjamin and his collaborator Martin Crimp recognised that not only a particular type of music was required but also great thought be put to the text, for “our solution acknowledges at all times the artificial nature of sung drama, while still permitting dialogue and characterisation”(Programme note; Into the Little Hill; 2009). Both composer and librettist had to formulate a new approach to their work in order to jointly create music theatre that works, as they both saw the problems and pitfalls of the medium today. It cannot be that easy to write music to fit words, especially today! Or vice versa. As Martin Crimp says about writing the libretto for ‘Into the Little Hill’: “In a text for music, something should be missing - and what’s missing is the music” (programme note: ‘Into the Little Hill’ 2009).

I have meandered on longer than I intended, and in such a compact environment as this Newsletter I must not go further, but suffice to reiterate my general premise that truly great music theatre has been written recently, chiefly because of the worth of the libretti, showing that composers are at least thinking about the medium, and taking it forward. This includes pieces like Harrison Birtwistle’s ‘Gawain and the Green Knight’, and ‘The Minotaur’, which seem to me to be acclaimed examples of a masterful craftsman.

One last thought. I had to travel to London to see these works, and have been doing so for decades now, because obviously there is little call for such new work to be shown here in Wales. There have been examples of good new music theatre, of course, and companies like WNO and Music Theatre Wales have done marvellous work, but I suspect that we should always be ready to travel to see new works and to keep in touch with those who are at the forefront of the compositional process.

Brian Noyes



How to do what I have to do, with less money...?

This question applies to self-promotion as much as anything else, so I began this week to see if there are any answers. At the risk of stating the obvious: if you are promoting an event, the aim is getting information out, in time, to people who might be interested. If you are basically selling yourself and your abilities and/or products, the question is where can you put the information so that it gets seen, in a relevant context, by the right people? This last includes records of recent events, and these days, the more direct, concise and visual they are, the better. Reviews are good, photos and videos even better. The one resource which is immediate, visual and accessible to millions, of course, is the internet, so I began to analyse exactly what it gives me, for how much (if any) outlay?

The one site that is set up to give its contributors maximum exposure, and costs nothing, is of course Youtube, provided you can produce videos of your activities. It provides self-promotion tools, for example the “insight data” facility enables you to see who is viewing your videos and when, it offers a small “video bar” to add to your own website, and you get access to archives of past showings. The panorama it presents as a whole is just as wide, just as complex, and just as noisy, as any other site, but at least it gives you ways to navigate it and evaluate the contents. And undoubtedly, for now, it gives kudos.

True social interaction sites (like Myspace) are less a “noticeboard” than a “connection” or network, but if you look after your page and make sure it has maximum exposure through a hefty “friends” list, that's a step forward. I still wonder, though, having spent precious time putting my all into a persuasive and passionate blog, how many of my “friends” are going to actually open the link to read it. Succinctly put, the best publicity is publicity people can't help but see. But that, in its purest forms (posters, leaflets through the post, advertisements in magazines), costs money, and as the trick is to get as close as one can to it without spending money, so you aim at inclusion in areas where the highest number of the “right” people are going to look anyway.

Myspace does offer this in more than one way. One is the rather oddly named “artist sign-up” link, which lets you open a page directly accessible to the public under your “stage” name. As more and more musicians are turning to free sites either to supplement or to replace their own (expensive) website, their own site will feature a link to “my Myspace page”. Once in Myspace, you have to be a bit cunning to put all you want to say about yourself and your music where it will be read, but with judicious use of blogs and “editing” boxes, and using all the available tools to colour, rearrange and generally jazz up your page, you can make an impact!

The new site for professional musicians, Musbook.com, has, among many good features, an “events” calendar, with space for a photo. Being dedicated to professional musicians, it is part of its nature as it were to provide the machinery for self-promotion. This site is being redeveloped, and the new site, accessible via the already mentioned URL, is currently in beta. It can be visited, worthwhile if you are someone who can comment constructively on the content. However, to see the old site which formed its very promising foundation, go to classicalmusicuk.ning.com.

The third way of getting out there without spending any money (over and above your membership) is to take advantage of any possibility you have of a place on the website of any body you belong to which offers you a “page” for personal details. Our own website does this of course, so does BASCA's newly redeveloped site, and the new re-incarnation of spnm, Sound and Music – definitely worth exploring!
Enid Luff



A Day of Songs

Our latest Members' day was held on Saturday, July 11th, at Gelli, the beautiful old house in its own lovely grounds, by Talsarn, near Lampeter in Ceredigion, which belongs to our member Rosemary Thorpe. We were welcomed with coffee mid-morning, then settled in the music room for the first workshop of the day. Soprano Sylvia Strand had reviewed the several scores sent in by the membership, and chosen eight for the workshop. With Andrew Wilson-Dickson at the piano, each song was sung through, then discussed by everyone present, and finally sung through again. As most of the composers of the songs were there, it was challenging and enlightening for each of them to have to explain what lay behind their decision to write a particular passage as they did, and for my own part thrilling to hear in actual piano and voice what I had only heard in my head before.

The songs of the first workshop were “The Nightingale near the House”, by Elaine Hugh-Jones, and “The Linnet”, by Enid Luff. Inevitably, in the context of contemporary song, there arose the question of the composer's response to the clash of style between songs written today and potential lyrics (in other words, poetry, another art form) written at any time more than fifty years ago (before William Glock, who as the person who controlled what new music was played on BBC3 in the 60's and 70's, rightly or wrongly attracted all the blame for restricting those broadcasts to music written in the style of the avant-garde). That barrier was quite real to composers of that generation, and its legacy, for some, is still to be dealt with. However, Saturday's songs inhabited both sides of the divide with no sense of conflict, but rather with a true lyricism.

Andrew then gave a brief on talk the setting of texts and writing for the voice, with an illuminating traverse of ways in which this has been thought about and practised in the past.

After a delicious lunch, we gathered again for a brief AGM, followed by the second workshop, which contained “Nr. 3 Holy Sonnet 1”, by Michael Robinson, “Fall”, a brief work-in-progress by Lee Hicks, and “My first love was a plover”, by Gareth Churchill. The songs were in great contrast to each other, and in the kinds of demands they made on the voice.

We then had a tea-break, followed by the last workshop, containing “The Yellow Knight”, by Rosemary Thorpe, “The Ruffian on the Stair”, by Christian Morris, and “Do it with Anger” from “A Tapestry of Flowers” by Mervyn Burtch. There was indeed a wide canvas of style throughout the day, from some use of contemporary techniques and fragmented phrases to long lyrical lines with illustrative accompaniment harking back into the first half of the last century. And not once was anything felt to be out of place.

Enid Luff
adroddiadau

Theatr Cerdd newydd.

Anaml y byddaf yn gwneud peth fel hyn – ysgrifennu llythyrau neu sylwadau. Ond bum mewn gohebiaeth ag Enid ynglyn ag enwebiadau ar gyfer gwobrau'r RPS, ac yn reit annisgwyl fe ofynnodd mi a fyddwn i'n sgrifennu rhywbeth i'r Cylchlythyr ynglyn â chyfansoddi, a minnau'n ysgolfeistr mewn ysgol brysur. Meddyliais na fyddai hynny o lawer o ddiddordeb i'n darllennwyr, yn wir, yr ateb yw ei fod yn annodd, yn annodd iawn, ac yn creu unigrwydd ('rwydd deall yn iawn sut oedd Haydn yn teimlo wedi ei ynysu yn Esterhazy!).

Yna, gan gofio bod gohebiaeth wedi bod yn ddiweddar yn y Cylchlythyr ynglyn ag opera gyfoes, penderfynais gyfrannu at y drafodaeth, gan iddi arwain hefyd at ohebiaeth fer ddiweddar rhyngof ag Enid ynglyn ag enwebu fy narn cerddorol Points of Decision gan Ty Cerdd ar gyfer gwobr yr RPS (diolch yn fawr, Ruth et al). Y darn buddugol yn y categori ‘Large Scale Composition’ oedd “Into the Little Hill” gan George Benjamin, a dyma'r pwynt – opera newydd oedd hon, ac yn ennillydd teilwng tu hwnt. Os cewch gyfle i'w gweld ar lwyfan, gwnewch bob ymdrech i fynd, byddwch yn elwa o'r profiad, mae'n gampwaith o gyfansoddi.

Bum yn gweld sawl opera sylweddol yn ddiweddar, gan gynnwys Gawain a The Minotaur, gan Harrison Birtwistle, The Tempest (Thomas Ades), The Sacrifice (James MacMillan), ac Into the Little Hill (George Benjamin),. Mae'r cwbl yn llwyddiannus yn eu ffyrdd ei hunain, a'r prif reswm am hynny, yn fy nhyb i, oedd eu libretti, a hynny gan i bob un gael ei ysgrifennu gan ddramategydd neu fardd oedd yn meddu ar ddealltwriaeth ddofn o gerddediad drama, o naratif ac ystum y cyfrwng arbennig hwn, heb son am yr iaith sy'n arbennig iddo. Credais erioed mai peth annodd iawn i'w ofyn gan unrhyw un oedd ysgrifennu libretto; nid pob awdur sydd â'r gallu arbennig hwn. Ysgrifennwyd y rhai mwyaf llwyddiannus a welais i mewn theatr bob amser gan ddramategydd, nid gan nofelydd. Ynddengys bod gan ddramategydd ddealltwriaeth o'r sgil arbennig mae'r gwaith hwn yn gofyn amdano, fel y crybwyllais uchod. Pa un ai gyda thempo a defod y ddrama yn y Birtwistle, neu gyda huodledd “grand opera” Macmillan, y libretto oedd y garreg sylfaen bob tro.

Wrth gwrs, mae'n rhaid hefyd wrth gerddoriaeth dda, ond heb libretto teilwng, serth iawn yw llwybr y cyfansoddwr. Into the Little Hill gan George Benjamin yw'r enghraifft ddiweddaraf a welais sydd yn cadarnhau hyn i mi. Deallodd y cyfansoddwr sut y gall gwrthdaro godi wrth osod geiriau mewn idiom gerddorol gyfoes. Yr iaith yw gwraidd a sylfaen y cwbl.

Fy marn ostyngedig i yw hyn, wrth gwrs, ond yn yr unfed ganrif ar hugain, mae gennym fel cyfansoddwyr broblem gydag arddull ac iaith. Mae rhai mathau o farddoniaeth, er enghraifft, â chynnwys, neu yn sicr â strwythyr rhythmig, fydd yn achosi problemau i gyfansoddwyr sydd yn gweithio gydag iaith gerddorol gyfoes. Yn aml iawn gall ystyr y geiriau, yn ogystal ag aceniad y sillafau, dynnu'n groes i arddull gynhenid y gerddoriaeth. Dychmygwch Wordsworth wedi ei osod gan Boulez, neu E.E.Cummings (neu e.e.cummings?) wedi ei osod gan Finzi. Mae'n anochel bod yn rhaid i arddull a chynnwys y testun gytuno â'r idiom gerddorol. Felly os dymunir gosod testun “cynnar”, sut mae gwneud hynny heddiw, heb i'w draw a'i rhythm osod gorfodaeth ar y cyfansoddwr? Byddai'r canlyniad unai'n pastiche, neu'n gân heb unrhyw ystyr.

Dyma paham, yn fy nhyb i, y mae Birtwistle a Benjamin, er enghraifft, wedi defnyddio bardd neu ddramategydd sy'n gyfarwydd ag egwyddorion drama, a sydd yn gallu creu testun mewn ffordd gyfoes, gyda golwg ar ei rhythm, ei aceniad, a'i ystyr, heb iddo wrthdaro â'i arddull gyfoes bersonol ei hunan. 'Roedd Benjamin yn cydnabod problem gynhenid opera yn yr ugeinfed ganrif a'r unfed ganrif ar hugain pan ddywedodd bod “llawer of theatr gerdd (music theatre) yr hanner can mlynedd diwethaf wedi cefnu ar gwestiynau naratif”. Ac eto “pan fo rhywun yn ceisio parhau traddodiad naturiolaidd opera'r bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg yn yr unfed ganfrif ar hugain, mae'n swnio'n ffals ac yn annaturiol. Nid ein celf gyfoes ni mohoni, mae'n gallu swnio'n anghyffyrddus, yn embaras hyd yn oed” (gweler ‘new notes’ Chwefror 2009).Er mwyn osgoi hyn, a chael ffordd ymlaen, cydnabyddodd Benjamin a'i libretydd Martin Crimp yn gyntaf bod angen math arbennig o gerddoriaeth, ond bod rhaid pwyso'n ofalus iawn natur y testun, gan fod ”ein hateb ni i'r cwestiwn hwn bob amser yn cydnabod cymeriad artifisial drama ar gân, tra'n dâl i ganiatau dialog a dylunio cymeriad”. (Nodyn yn rhaglen The Little Hill, 2009). Bu raid i'r cyfansoddwr a'r libretydd lunio dull newydd o ymgymryd â'u gwaith, er mwyn creu gyda'i gilydd theatr gerdd sy'n gweithio yn nhermau problemau a pheryglon heddiw. 'Does bosibl ei bod yn hawdd felly creu cerddoriaeth ar gyfer geiriau, heddiw yn arbennig! Neu i'r gwrthwyneb, yng ngeiriau Martin Crimp wrth greu libretto ‘Into the Little Hill’: “Mewn testun ar gyfer cerddoriaeth, dylai rhywbeth fod ar goll – a'r peth hwnnw yw'r gerddoriaeth ei hunan”(nodyn yn rhaglen ‘Into the Little Hill’ 2009).

'Rwyf wedi crwydro 'mlaen yn hirach na'm bwriad, ac mewn cylchlythyr fel hyn dyma'r man i ddarfod. Er hynny, hoffwn ail-adrodd fy mhrif bwynt: cyfansoddwyd darnau gwirioneddol fawr o theatr gerdd yn ddiweddar, oherwydd gwerth cynhenid eu libretti, gan ddangos bod cyfansoddwyr yn meddwl yn ddwfn am y cyfrwng hwn, and yn ei ddatblygu. Me hyn yn cynnwys er enghraifft ‘Gawain and the Green Knight’, a ‘The Minotaur’, gan Harrison Birtwistle, dwy opera, yn fy marn I, o law meistr ar ei grefft.

Un pwynt arall cyn tewi: Bu raid i mi deithio i Lundain i gael gweld y darnau hyn, fel y bum yn gwneud ers degawdau, gan nad oes galw am ddangos y fath gynhyrchiadau yng Nghymru. Gwelsom enghreifftiau wrth gwrs o theatr gerdd newydd dda, a bu cwmnïau fel Opera Genedlaethol Cymru a Music Theatre Wales yn gwneud gwaith rhagorol, ond 'rwy'n amau y bydd rhaid bob amser i ni deithio i weld gwaith newydd, a chadw mewn cysylltiad â'r cyfansoddwyr hynny sydd ar flaen y gâd.

Brian Noyes


Sut wneud beth sydd raid i mi wneud, a gwario llai . . .?

Mae'r cwestiwn yma'n perthynu i hysbysebu a hyrwyddo llawn cymaint ag i unrhyw weithgaredd arall, felly es ati i geisio atebion. I ddechreu, mae dau beth yn amlwg: os ydych am hysbysebu digwyddiad, rhaid cael y wybodaeth allan, mewn pryd, at y bobl allai fod â diddordeb ynddi. Os ydych am werthu eich hunan, eich sgiliau neu eich cynnyrch, rhaid gofyn ymhle y dylid rhoi'r wybodaeth iddi gael ei gweld yn y cyswllt iawn, gan y bobl iawn. Mae'r wybodaeth hon yn cynnwys hanes digwyddiadau diweddar, ac ym myd heddiw, gorau po uniongyrchol, mor fyr, ac mor weledol y bo. Mae adolygiadau'n dda, ond mae ffotograffiau a fideos yn well hyd yn oed. A'r un adnodd sydd yno wrth law, yn weledol, ac o fewn cyrraedd miliynau o bobl, wrth gwrs, yw'r rhyngrwyd, felly es ati i ddadansoddi beth yn union mae'r rhyngrwyd yn ei gynnig i mi, ac am faint o wariant?

Mae un wefan a grewyd yn bwrpasol i roi'r hysybysrwydd mwyaf bosibl i'w chyfranogwyr, a honno yw Youtube, cyn belled ag y gallwch gynhyrchu fideos o'ch gweithgareddau. Mae Youtube yn cynnig taclau neu gymwysderau ar gyfer hunan-hysbysrwydd, er enghraifft y ddolen “insight data” sy'n caniatau i chwi weld pwy sy'n gwylio eich fideos, a phryd; mae'n cynnig dolen fideo (video bar) fechan i chwi roi ar eich gwefan, a chewch weld archif o'ch lluniau diweddar. Mae'r panorama a welir ar Youtube llawn mor llydan, mor gymhleth, ac mor swnllyd ag unrhyw wefan arall, ond mae yn rhoi cymorth i ffeindio eich ffordd drwyddi ac i bwyso gwerth ei chynnwys. Ac yn bresennol, mae'n ennyn rhyw faint o barch a bri.

Mae gwefannau “cymdeithasol” (fel Myspace) yn fwy o rwydwaith nag o hysbysfwrdd, ond os edrychwch ar ôl eich tudalen, a rhoi'r cyrhaeddiad lletaf bosibl iddi trwy restr hir o “ffrindiau”, mae hynny'n gam ymlaen. Mae'n dâl yn gwestiwn gen i, fodd bynnag, wedi treulio amser prin yn chwysu dros “flog” yn llawn brwdfrydedd a pherswâd, faint o'm “ffrindiau” sydd am agor y ddolen i'w ddarllen. Yn fyr, yr hysbysrwydd gorau yw'r hysbysrwydd na all pobl ddim peidio a'i weld. Ond mae hwnnw, yn ei ffurf buraf (posteri, taflenni yn y post, hysbysebion yn y wasg), yn costio arian, a chan ein bod yn ceisio gwneud y gorau allwn heb wario, rhaid anelu at gael ein cynnwys mewn mannu lle mae'r “bobl iawn” yn siwr o edrych. Mae Myspace yn cynnig yr union beth yma, er enghraifft yr adran (dan enw braidd yn od) “artist sign-up”, sy'n caniatau agor tudalen lle gall unrhyw un eich gweld heb gyfrinair (password), dan eich “enw llwyfan”. Ac wrth i fwy a mwy o gerddorion droi at wefannau rhad ac am ddim i ychwanegu at eu gwefannau cyffredin, bydd dolen ar y gwefannau hynny i “my Myspace page”.

Unwaith yr ydych yn Myspace, mae'n rhaid bod yn eithaf dyfeisgar er mwyn rhoi'r cwbl a fynnwch ei ddweud am danoch eich hunan a'ch cerddoriaeth yn llygad y cyhoedd. Ond trwy wneud ddefnydd celfydd o'r blogiau a'r text boxes, a defnyddio'r holl offer sydd ar y wefan ar gyfer lliwio ac ail-gyweirio eich tudalen, mae'n bosibl gwneud dipyn o sbloets!

Mae gan y wefan newydd ar gyfer cerddorion proffesiynol. Musbook.com, lawer o adnoddau da, gan gynnwys calendr digwyddiadau, gyda gofod am ffoto. Gan ei bod ar gyfer cerddorion, mae'n naturiol iddi gynnig cyfleusterau i hysbysebu. Mae'r wefan yma yn bresennol in beta, gellir ymweld â hi, ac mae'n werth chweil gwneud hynny, yn enwedig os gallwch gynnig gwelliannau ac yn y blaen. Gellir ymweld â'r hen wefan, oedd yn sylfaen ardderchog iddi, yn www.classicalmusicuk.ning.com

Y trydydd ffordd I roi eich hunan o flaen y cyhoedd heb wario arian (heblaw am eich tâl aelodaeth) yw manteisio ar unrhyw gyfle I roi eich henw a'ch manylion ar wefan unrhyw gorff yr ydych yn perthyn iddo sy'n cynnig tudalen wê i'w allodau. Mae ein gwefan ni yn gwneud hyn, wrth gwrs, fel mae gwefan newydd BASCA, a gwefan yr spnm ar ei newydd wedd, sef Sound and Music – mae rhain yn werth ymweliad!!

Enid Luff



Dydd o Gân

Cynhaliwyd ein Diwrnod Aelodaeth diwethaf ddydd Sadwrn Gorffennaf 11, yn Gelli, hen dy hardd, gyda gardd hyfryd, ger Talsarn yn ymyl Llanbedr, yng Ngheredigion, o eiddo ein haelod Rosemary Thorpe. Cawsom groeso, gyda choffi, gan Rosemary am unarddeg o'r gloch, yna aethom i'r ystafell gerdd ar gyfer gweithdy cymtaf y dydd.

Roedd y soprano Sylvia Strand wedi taro golwg ar y nifer go dda o sgoriau a ddaeth i law gan yr aelodaeth, a dewis wyth ohonynt i'w trafod yn y gweithdai. Gyda chyfeiliant Andrew Wilson-Dickson, canwyd pob cân drwyddi unwaith, ei thrafod gan y rhai'n bresennol, yna ei chanu eto yn ei chrynswth. Gan fod y rhan fwyaf o gyfansoddwyr y caneuon yn bresennol yno, 'roedd yn sialens, ac o fudd hefyd, iddynt gael cyfle i egluro pan 'roeddynt wedi cyfansoddi rhyw ran neu gilydd o'r gân yn y ffordd a wnaethant. O'm rhan i, cefais wefr o glywed yn swn y llais a'r piano y seiniau a glywais yn fy nychymyg cynt.

'Roedd dwy gân dan sylw yn y gweithdy cyntaf, sef “The Nightingale near the House”, gan Elaine Hugh-Jones, a “The Linnet”, gan Enid Luff. Yn anochel, yng nghyswllt caneuon cyfoes, aethpwyd ymlaen i drafod ymatebiad y cyfansoddwr i'r gwrthdaro rhwng arddull cerddorol cerdd newydd heddiw ag iaith draddodiadol llawer telyneg a sgrifenwyd efallai hanner can mlynedd yn ôl.

(Hynny yw, cyn adeg William Glock, rheolwr darlledu cerddoriaeth gyfoes y BBC yn y chwe- a'r saith-degau, a gafodd y bai am wrthod caniatau darlledu unrhyw ddarn newydd nad oedd yn arddull yr “avant-garde”). Aeth hyn yn atalfa gwirioneddol i lawer cyfansoddwr o'r genhedlaeth honno, rhwystr mae rhai ohonnom i dâl i ymgodymu ag e. Fodd bynnag, nid oedd ei ddylanwad yn amlwg o gwbl y dydd Sadwrn yma, clywsom ganeuon mewn sawl arddull heb unrhyw wrthdaro, ond gyda naws gwir delynegol i'r cyfan.

Wedi hyn, rhoddodd Andrew sgwrs fer ar osod geiriau ar gân, a chyfansoddi ar gyfer lleisiau, gyda cipolwg tra diddorol ar hanes y grefft.

Wedi cinio blasus, dyma ymgynnull eto yn fyr i gynnal ein Cyfarfod Cyffredinol blynyddol, ac yna'r ail weithdy, yn trin a thrafod “Nr. 3 Holy Sonnet 1”, gan Michael Robinson, “Fall”, darn ar ganol ei ddatblygu gan Lee Hicks, a “My first love was a plover”, gan Gareth Churchill. 'Roedd y caneuon yn gwahaniaethu 'n gryf oddiwrth ei gilydd, ac yn eu gofynion i'r llais.

Wedi hyn, cafwyd egwyl am baned o dê. Ac yna'r gweithdy olaf, yn trin “The Yellow Knight”, gan Rosemary Thorpe, “The Ruffian on the Stair”, gan Christian Morris, a “Do it with Anger” o “A Tapestry of Flowers” gan Mervyn Burtch. Yn wir roedd gwahaniaethau eang ym mater eu harddull rhwng darnau holl raglen y dydd, rhai yn defnyddio technegau cyfoes, a brawddegau byrion, tameidiog, a rhai'n sgrifennu alawon hirion a chyfeiliant mwy traddodiadol, yn agosach at arddull hanner cyntaf yr ugeinfed ganrif. Ond trwy'r cyfan, nid oedd modd teimlo bod dim allan o'i le.
Enid Luff
news

from Mervyn Burtch
At the Gregynog Festival, on June 13th the first performance of Notes to a Drama for piano trio, was given by the Kungsbacka Piano trio: Malin Broman (Violin), Jesper Svedberg (cello) and Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano), This was a festival commission, and received a really excellent performance. This is a trio to watch!

At the Lanion Celtic Festival in France, the first performance of O Ddewi Sanctaidd for unaccompanied mixed choir will be given by the Ardwyn Singers, conductor David Leggett. These performances will take place on the 4th and 5th August.

At the St Asaph Festival this year in St Asaph Cathedral on the 24th September, The first Dragon for Narrator and Chamber Orchestra will be performed by the Chamber Orchestra of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Narrator Francesca Kay.

Dafydd Bullock
A concert of Haydn's music, conducted by Dafydd, was held in Luxembourg, at the Eglise de Bissen on June 13th, and a week later at the Eglise St Jean in Luxembourg city, with Vox, the international choir in Luxembourg, Daniele Patz, soprano, Isabelle Heischburg, contralto, Christian Chenille, tenor, and Jean Paul Majerus and Joachim Kruse, basses. On June 13th they were joined by the prestigious Kammerkör Borga from Finland. The programme included Haydn's Te Deum, Symphony no. 104, and the St Theresa Mass.

Brian Noyes writes
Firstly, my orchestral piece Points of Decision was nominated by Ty Cerdd earlier this year for an RPS Award (Large Scale Composition category).

Secondly, I now have a web site: www.briannoyes.co.uk

From Chris Maxim:
Christopher Maxim’s carol All and Some was featured in the May 2009 edition of Organists’ Review and has been published by Allegro Music.

Chris will open the Saturday night concert of the 2009 Annual Festival of New Organ Music at St Marylebone Parish Church with the premiere of his Fanfare, composed to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. He will also be playing his Prelude & Fugue . The concert takes place at 7.30pm on 1st August.

Chris has completed a commission for an anthem for the wedding of Miss Susan Moss and Mr Stuart Burke at St Mary’s Bletchley on 24th October. The Peace of God is for unaccompanied choir and has the Londonderry Air (fairly well hidden!) in the tenor part. The words are by the bride's great-grandfather, Canon Charles Stack (1865-1946).

Chris has been commissioned to compose a Christmas piece for the choir of St Margaret’s, Lee, London SE13.

Elaine Hugh-Jones
A programme including songs by Elaine was presented by James Gilchrist, tenor, in June 2008, in Wroclaw, Poland. He subsequently sang four of her cycle of settings of Wilfred Owen's war poems in the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester, one of which was broadcast on Radio 3. Four of the Wilfred Owen War Songs were performed in St. James' Church, Piccadilly, in London, in April, in a new setting for baritone and tenor.

On June 26th 2009, Elaine accompanied four of her songs in a concert by the British Music Society, at the Warehouse, Theed Street, in London. One of the singers was Ian Caddy, bass-baritone. (I'm sure that Elaine will not mind my mentioning that she is now aged 83, and looking back on a distinguished career.)

Other performances soon to come include A Farewell and The End from the War Poems, and her settings of two Edward Thomas poems, The Dark Forest and House and Man.

John Hardy
John recently won the BAFTA Cymru award for Best Original Music Soundtrack, the first time it has ever been won in two years running by the same composer. The latest award brings John Hardy's total BAFTA Cymru count to four awards, another BAFTA record. After netting two of the three nominations for the award, John's win was announced at the BAFTA Cymru awards ceremony on Sunday 17 May in the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay.

The winning music score was for Welsh-language film Martha, Jac a Sianco, which won a total of 6 awards in this year's ceremony, including Best Actor for Ifan Huw Dafydd and Best Actress for Sharon Morgan. The film is an adaptation of Caryl Lewis' award-winning novel which tells the story of a family's life, and their heartbreak following their mother's death. Speaking to producer S4C, Sharon Morgan (Martha) explained "it's a superb story which will pull at the heart strings, but it's a also a strong and sensitive portrayal of agricultural life in Wales."

The award was presented by Only Men Aloud!'s leader Tim Rhys-Evans. Only Men Aloud! have a close connection with John Hardy, having performed on his BAFTA Cymru award winning soundtrack with Rob Love for Welsh gangster series Y Pris, now in its second series on S4C. The choir also co-commissioned the concert song series Spaces: Beyond the End of the World with fellow Cardiff choir Vivace Singers. The latest is Hardy's fourth BAFTA Cymru award with Y Pris last year, Fondue, Rhyw a Deinosors in 2002 and the Oscar-nominated Hedd Wyn in 1994.

Hardy's second nominated soundtrack this year was for heartwarming road-trip movie Abraham's Point, which has been praised as "a poetic, moving film."

(This information is reproduced from the website of John Hardy Music by permission).

John Williamson writes:
My Organ Piece: A Pageant for Saint Elfod, first performed at Abergele in April by Graham Eccles as part of the St. Elfod year of celebrations, was given a second performance by Graham at a Chester Cathedral mid-day recital on May 28th.

The British Music Society (BMS), held their AGM in London on Sat. 27th. June at the Warehouse, Theed Street.

This year composer members were invited to present a recital of a selection of their works.

I performed 3 Piano preludes, extracts from my circa 150 preludes; also A Lament for Sarah - a piano or harp solo, being Variation VIII from my Theme and Variations for solo harp (total time circa 10 minutes).
newyddion

oddiwrth Mervyn Burtch

Yng Ngwyl Gregynog ar Mehefin 13 cafwyd perfformiad cyntaf Notes to a Drama i driawd piano, gan Driawd Piano Kungsbacka: Malin Broman (ffidil), Jesper Svedberg (sielo) a Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano),. Un o Gomisynau'r Wyl oedd hwn, a chafwyd perfformiad penigamp – triawd ifanc llawn addewid!.

Yng Ngwyl Geltaidd Lanion yn Ffrainc, fe geir perfformiadau cyntaf cyntaf O Ddewi Sanctaidd, I gIor cymysg, gan yr Ardwyn Singers, dan arweiniad David Leggett, ar Awst 4 a 5.

Yna yng Ngwyl Llanelwy, ar Medi 24, ceir berfformiad o The first Dragon, i adroddwr a cherddorfa siambr, gan Gerddorfa Siambr Coleg Brenhinol Cerdd a Drama Cymru, gyda Francesca Kay nb adrodd.

Dafydd Bullock

Cynhaliwyd cyngerdd o gerfforiaeth Haydn dan arweiniad Dafydd yn Luxembourg, yn yr Eglise de Bissen ar Mehefin 13, ac eto wythnos ymhellach ymlaen yn yr Eglise St Jean yn ninas Luxembourg, gyda Vox, côr rhyngwladol Luxembourg, Daniele Patz, soprano, Isabelle Heischburg, contralto, Christian Chenille, tenor, a Jean Paul Majerus a Joachim Kruse, bas. Ar yr achlysur cyntaf, ymunodd y côr siambr enwog o'r Ffindir, Kammerkör Borga â hwynt. 'Roedd y rhaglen yn cynnwys Te Deum Haydn, ei Simffoni Rhif 104, ac Offeren Santes Theresa.

Oddiwrth Brian Noyes:

Yn gyntaf, yn gynharach y flwyddyn hon, cynnigwyd fy narn cerddorfaol, Points of Decision, gan Ty Cerdd i gystadlu am wobr yr RPS Award (Categori Cyfansoddiadau Mawr).

Yn ail, bellach mae gennyf wefan: www.briannoyes.co.uk

Oddiwrth Chris Maxim:

Cafodd carol Christopher Maxim, All and Some, sylw yn rhifyn Mis Mai 2009 yr Organists’ Review. Cyhoeddir hi nawr gan Allegro Music.

Bydd Chris yn agor cyngerdd nos Sadwrn yr Annual Festival of New Organ Music, 2009, yn Eglwys Santes Fair, Marylebone, gyda premiere ei Fanfare, a gyfansoddwyd er anrhydedd canmlwyddiant y Royal Canadian College of Organists. Hefyd bydd yn chwarae ei Prelude & Fugue. Bydd y cyngerdd yn cychwyn am 7.30yh ar Awst 1af.

Mae Chris newydd gwblhau comisiwn am anthem ar gyfer priodas Miss Susan Moss a Mr Stuart Burke yn Eglwys Santes Fair, Bletchley ar Hydref 24. Mae The Peace of God ar gyfer côr digyfeiliant, ac yn cynnwys yr alaw Londonderry Air (fyn weddol gudd!) yn y rhan tenor. Mae'r geiriau gan hen-daid y briodferch, Canon Charles Stack (1865-1946).

Comisiynwyd Chris I gyfansoddi darn Nadolig ar gyfer côr St Margaret’s, Lee, Llundain SE13.

Elaine Hugh-Jones

Bu James Gilchrist, tenor, yn cyflwyno rhaglen yn cynnwys caneuon gan Elaine Hugh-Jones, yn Wroclaw, Gwlad Pwyl, ym mis Mehefin 2008. Yn dilyn hynny, fe ganodd pedwar o'i gosodiadau o ganeuon rhyfel y bardd Wlifred Owen yn y Three Choirs Festival yng Nghaerwrangon, a chafodd un o rhain ei darlledu ar Radio 3. Canwyd pedwar o War Songs Wilfred Owen yn Eglwys St. James, Piccadilly, yn Llundain mis Ebrill diwethaf, mewn gosodiad newydd I fariton a thenor.

Ar Mehefin 26 y flwyddyn hon bu Elaine yn cyfeilio pedwar o'i chaneuon yng nghyngerdd y British Music Society, yn The Warehouse, Theed Street, yn Llundain. Un o'r cantorion oedd Ian Caddy, bas-bariton. ('Rwy'n siwr y bydd Elaine yn caniatau i mi grybwyll ei bod nawr yn 83 oed, ac yn edrych yn ôl ar yrfa lewyrchus dros ben.)

Mae perfformiadau yn y dyfodol i gynnwys A Farewell a The End, o'r War Poems, a gosodiadau o ddwy gân o waith Edward Thomas, sef The Dark Forest a House and Man.

John Hardy

Yn ddiweddar ennillodd John y BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Original Music Soundtrack, y tro cyntaf i'r wobr hon gael ei hennill ddwy flwyddyn yn olynol gan yr un cyfansoddwr. Cyhoeddwyd y dyfarniad yng nghanolfan Mileniwm Cymru ym Mae Caerdydd ar Mai 17.Erbyn hyn mae John wedi ennill pedair gwobr BAFTA.

Y sgôr buddugol oedd cerddoriaeth ar gyfer y ffilm Gymraeg Martha, Jac a Sianco, a ennillodd chwe gwobr yn seremoni'r flwyddyn hon. Cyfaddasiad yw'r ffilm o nofel lwyddiannus am hynt a hanes teulu, a'u torcalon wedi colli eu mham.

Cyflwynwyd y wobr gan arweinydd Only Men Aloud!, Tim Rhys-Evans. Mae'r côr hwn a chysylltiad cryf gyda John Hardy, gan iddynt ganu yn nhrac sain y ffilm Y Pris, nawr yn ei ail gyfres ar S4C.

Comisiynodd y côr hwn gyfres o ddarnau corawl gan John , sef Spaces: Beyond the End of the World gyda Vivace Singers. Gwobrwywyd Fondue, Rhyw a Deinosors gan BAFTA yn 2002, a Hedd Wyn in 1994. Ennillodd John Hardy ei ail enwebiad y flwyddyn hon am Abraham's Point, “ffilm barddonol a theimladwy”.

(Cymerwyd y wybodaeth hon, gyda chaniatad, o wefan John Hardy Music)

Oddiwrth John Williamson:

Cafodd fy narn i organ, A Pageant for Saint Elfod, ei ail berfformiad gan Graham Eccles yn Eglwys Gadeririol Caer mewn cyngerdd ganol dydd ar Mai 28. Chwareuwyd y darn am y tro cyntaf gan Graham Eccles ym Mis Ebrill yn Abergele.

Cynhaliwyd Cyfarfod Blynyddol y Briish Music Society yn y Warehouse, Theed Street, yn Llundain.Y flwyddyn hon gwahoddwyd aelodau o gyfansoddwyr i gynnig datganiad o'u gwaith. Chwareais i dri “Piano Prelude” o'm casgliad o 150 Preliwd, yn ogystal a'm A Lament for Sarah – darn i biano neu delyn, sef wythfed Amrywiad fy Theme and Variations i'r delyn (tua 10 munud).
composers at work

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Calling all Male Vocalists
4 vocalists are needed for a play through of a new operatic work composed by Dan Phelps with Libretto by Simon Rees. All participants are promised involvement in a performance of the piece if it reaches the stage.

Venue: Welsh National Opera Rehearsal Room.
Date and time: TBC
We require two Baritone vocalists, one Tenor vocalist and one Bass vocalist.
Any interested volunteers are invited to contact Dan Phelps for more information on:
mob: 07974 635502
tel: 01443 203256
e-mail: dan_phelps81@yahoo.co.uk
cyfansoddwyr wrth eu gwaith

Cantorion o ddynion:
Mae angen 4 canwr ar gyfer arbrawf o waith operatig newydd gan Dan Phelps, y Libretto gan Simon Rees. Bydd rhan yn y cynhyrchiad i bob un a gymer ran, os bydd y gwaith yn cyrraedd y llwyfan.

Venue: Ystafell Rihyrsal Opera Genedlaethol Cymru.
Dyddiad ac amser: i'w gadarnhau
Mae arnom angen dau Fariton, un Tenor, ac un Bas.
Os ydych â diddordeb, cysylltwch os gwelwch yn dda â Dan Phelps am ragor o wybodaeth:
symudol: 07974 635502
tel: 01443 203256

e-bostl: dan_phelps81@yahoo.co.uk