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Grace Williams - Missa Cambrensis


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Author Topic: Grace Williams - Missa Cambrensis  (Read 1274 times)
britishcomposer
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« on: February 25, 2016, 08:52:12 pm »

A St David's Day performance of Grace Williams's Missa Cambrensis may close a gap in Colins choral list:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b071cyg7
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jimfin
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2016, 12:23:54 am »

How lovely! Grace Williams is always good value!
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2016, 12:34:22 am »

I presume/hope that some kind soul will record this broadcast for us.....please!!

This will be only the work's second ever performance and at over an hour long is Grace Williams's biggest composition (apart, possibly, from the unpublished opera "The Parlour"). It is wonderful that the work is getting this second chance Smiley
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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2016, 09:54:19 pm »

I normally can record stuff off Radio 3 and post it, though it's not always as high quality as some would like.

 Smiley

However, as I'm not a Christian I don't listen to Christian music generally (and I think it was a pity GW wasted her time on this instead of writing another couple of Symphonies, or String Quartets (which are my religion)).

I was going to do it for you, but I see it involves narration by Rowan Williams  Sad And I can't bring myself to sit through that.

(I can't just leave it recording and come back an hour later as our wonderful internet keeps on dropping out and I have to listen to spot when the glitches are, which I repair later).
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2016, 01:02:35 am »

That is entirely your prereogative.

I hope that someone else with the necessary equipment can record the work.
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Albion
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2016, 10:00:55 am »

I will record the broadcast and upload a copy to the archive.

 Smiley
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A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)
tapiola
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2016, 03:15:37 pm »

Albion, that would be marvelous!  Thank you very much.
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shamus
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« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2016, 04:26:34 pm »

Though also not being of any organized religious persuasion I am crazy about Requiems! Berlioz' "Sanctus" is so beautiful to me, especially the old recording with Charles Munch and Leopold Simoneau singing it. I can't relate to the text but the sounds ovewhelm me in much church or temple-related music. Sometimes, philistine that I am, and without a libretto, I also listen to operas just for the music, letting the vocal sounds become simply another part of the listening experience. So, perhaps there is a way, religious or not, to enjoy Grace Williams "Missa Cambrensis", and as someone else said, her other stuff is wonderful (to me, anyway).  Gotta admit, pieces with narration rarely float my boat but if the music is worth it, I will deal with that, too. Just a ramble, not a jibe nor criticism. Thanks, Jim
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northern
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« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2016, 07:38:38 pm »

I believe that amongst the texts, Grace Williams sets Vernon Watkins poetry. Though none were Swansea born, Dylan Thomas, Daniel Jones and Vernon Watkins were members of the Kardomah Gang who regularly met up in a Swansea cafe. Grace Williams spent much of her life in Barry, close to Cardiff, and I guess we’ll find out tomorrow just how well she knew her fairly local contemporaries.

 Rowan Williams is, however, a Swansea born poet and great admirer of Vernon Watkins’ poetry, so the links are made, and his choice as narrator is a natural one. I do agree with Jim, though, about narration.in general.

Anyone interested in settings of Vernon Watkins may want to listen to Furnace of Colours by Christopher Painter on Youtube (Hoddinott pupil, and sounds like one! His Third Symphony is also up there).
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Albion
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2016, 06:00:24 am »

I have added the Missa Cambrensis to the archive and updated the catalogue.

 Smiley
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A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)
Gauk
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2016, 08:53:59 am »

I am generally opposed to narration in music as being distracting and a bad idea, but here it is not too bad. I did listen to the broadcast, but with distractions. What helps here is that the narration is in Welsh, so for a non-Welsh speaker like me (and I suspect most of us) the effect is one of a quiet, not unmusical burbling of sounds from Rowan Williams with the strings beneath.

It is a great shame that this was only the second public performance of such a major work in 45 years - partly due to the difficulty of the choral writing. I have to say, though, that making allowances for the fact that I was not giving the work my full attention, there are other pieces by Williams I would look forward to re-hearing first.
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northern
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2016, 09:14:26 am »

Thanks for the posting of the work.  I have one too as a backup, and guess I had 28 days of iplayer had it gone wrong.

Well, what I first understood to be a 25 minute mass grew into a work with sections of the mass interspersed with narration and poetry, but I wasn’t sure if the poetry was sung or narrated. What we heard was quite different, substantially longer,  very powerful, and successful I think in moving away from the mass to the interlude and narration over orchestra, which must take a lot of practice.

I only read about the Vernon Watkins connection (my post above) in relation to this broadcast but despite searching joint names, nothing now comes up, although what does come up, as one would expect, is that they, and Daniel Jones, were friends, and she had earlier set a Watkins’ poem. It seems that the Watkins link to the mass was wrong. Apologies (yet again!).
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2016, 05:24:38 pm »

Thank you, John, for the upload Smiley
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tapiola
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2016, 06:35:09 pm »

Amazing score.  There's iron in this music, beauty and anger too.  Far exceeds so much pablum recorded today. The performers seem inspired to me and well recorded too.  I sense a CD forthcoming as the audience held their applause for some time.
Thank you very much.
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savoir_faire
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2016, 08:54:31 am »

According to this month's Gramophone, this performance was recorded by Lyrita for release in August this year
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