The Land of Song

I’m sure the Welsh get a bit fed up with everyone saying that they sing so beautifully. But the problem with cliches such as “The Land of Song” is that they are so often true. At Friday’s dinner in honour of Leonid Grischchuk we were treated to a solo rendition of the beautiful old love song Myfanwy in Cardiff Castle, but today I found a much better version featuring the excellent Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir. I think it’s a really wonderful version, but the thing that struck me most was how on Earth can a small farming village with a population of less than a thousand produce so many wonderful tenor voices?

Incidentally, the great Luciano Pavarotti, who died in September 2007, gave his first ever professional performance at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in Wales, in 1955. It was his success at this festival, with a small choir from Modena that made him decide to turn professional.

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2 Responses to “The Land of Song”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    We all enjoy compliments and I doubt that the Welsh get tired of being told that they sing well. They do – it is called a tradition. Probably what they find irritating is that that is the only interest many people take in them.

    My Dad shared an office with Geraint Evans when they were doing National Service in northern Germany after the war. Evans had a classic Welsh profile – son of a coal miner, sang in his local Methodist choir, went on to be a great tenor. My father was always welcome backstage after he (Geraint Evans) became famous. Occupying a nation is boring because your task is simply to be there, and among other things they broadcast classical music on the British Forces network. In Germany that is a bit like taking coals to Newcastle, but maybe German radio stations including classical music were off air at the time.

    Anton

  2. telescoper Says:

    Anton,

    A good tenor is actually rather rare – most male voices are in the baritone/bass region – so it’s particularly noticeable that Welsh male voice choirs have so many fine top tenors. Perhaps there’s something in the water..

    Peter

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