Monday, 14 March 2016

New Harp Duet: Grand Duet - John Thomas

Grand Duet
John Thomas 
Pencerdd Gwalia (1826-1913)

Both the Grand Duet (1865) and the Souvenir du Nord of 1854 (Adlais 164) are dedicated to a Welsh-born patroness. “Mrs. Lucy of Charlecote Park” was born Mary Elizabeth Williams at Bodelwyddan Castle, St. Asaph, and both she and her sister “Miggy” (later to become Lady Willoughby de Broke) were talented harpists.

In her book Mistress of Charlecote: The Memoirs of Mary Elizabeth Lucy, Alice Lady Fairfax-Lucy quotes a very amusing account of the Abergavenny Eisteddfod of 1853 which led to Mrs Lucy's first meeting with John Thomas at Llanover, and to her subsequent lessons with him at her home. “Mr. Thomas kept me to scales and exercises for the first year, and I did learn his way, and before I was very much older, I was able to play many a difficult duet with him. I would get up an hour earlier to have a good practice before breakfast, and I would go to sleep trying to hold my thumb up.” As her harp teacher, “Mr. Thomas” became a frequent guest and partner in duets on their Erard harps. As an enthusiastic patroness, Mrs Lucy attended his concerts over a period of some 35 years.

John Thomas composed duos, both for two harps and for harp and piano, throughout his life. For the most part, these compositions were operatic fantasias and duos based on familiar Welsh folk melodies. The Grand Duet is an exception, as whereas the others are concert arrangements, this one duet is an original composition.
Ann Griffiths, 2016

Published by Adlais Music Publishers
Printed & distributed by Creighton's Collection
Published Retail Price - £14.00 (set of parts)
Further information available at

New Baritone & Harp Music - Michael Stimpson

Dylan for Baritone & Pedal Harp
Michael Stimpson
Words Dylan Thomas
Edited Sioned Williams

The song cycle, Dylan, is a chronological account of the life of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Each song is preceded by a short spoken text, and these, together with the words used for the songs, date as closely as possible to the period and subject matter in question. Many of the striking elements of Dylan’s life are included: the controversy of his character, poverty, alcoholism, the tempestuous relationship with his wife Caitlin, America, and of course his remarkable ability to write and speak so astutely and evocatively.

Published by Creighton's Collection
Published Retail Price - £15.00 (full score) / £8.00 (alternative baritone only part)
Further information available at

Dylan is recorded on the Stone Records CD "Dylan" 
Performed by Roderick Williams (baritone) & Sioned Williams (harp).
The CD is available from Creighton's Collection - £12  +p&p

Promotional Video from Stone Records using the music from Dylan

New Harp Music - Michael Stimpson

The Drowning of Capel Celyn Solo for Pedal Harp
Michael Stimpson
Edited Sioned Williams

Capel Celyn, a village near Bala in North Wales, was flooded in 1965 to create a reservoir for Liverpool. People were devastated as the water rushed into the valley, drowning the Chapel, Quaker Meeting House, the Post Office, and a number of cottages. There had been considerable protests, including the bombing of a transformer on the site of the dam structure, and in many respects the controversy had wider and longer-term consequences. Michael Stimpson wrote this work to mark the 50th anniversary of the flooding in 2015, as well as the 60th birthday of Sioned Williams.

Published by Creighton's Collection
Published Retail Price - £8.00
Further information available at

The Drowning of Capel Celyn is recorded on the Stone Records CD "Dylan" 
Harp solo performed by Sioned Williams.
The CD is available from Creighton's Collection - £12  +p&p

Promotional Video from Stone Records using the music from The Drowning of Capel Celyn