music

Morfydd Llwyn Owen a Ruth Herbert Lewis

January 6, 2018 2 Comments
Morfydd Llwyn Owen a Ruth Herbert Lewis

Faint o bobl sy’n ymwybodol bod un o’r mynwentydd gorau yng Nghymru i’w gweld oddi ar Newton Road, Ystumllwynarth?  Ac o’r rheiny, faint sy’n gyfarwydd â’r gofeb urddasol sy’n llechu mewn cornel anghysbell o’r fynwent, fel na fyddai ymwelydd sy’n troedio’r llwybrau yn sylwi arno?  Cyfeirio ydw i at fedd y gyfansoddwraig ifanc Morfydd Llwyn […]

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Walking to meet heroes

December 22, 2017 1 Comment
Walking to meet heroes

In October 1705 Johann Sebastian Bach set out on foot on a journey of 260 miles.  He was twenty years old.  He’d recently been in a brawl with a musician he’d insulted in the market place of his home town of Arnstadt in Thuringia, central Germany.  The church authorities who employed him as organist in […]

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Nicholas Roerich: archaeology and ‘The Rite of Spring’

June 11, 2017 0 Comments
Nicholas Roerich: archaeology and ‘The Rite of Spring’

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales’s  concert on Friday in the Brangwyn Hall had a well-matched programme: Stravinsky’s The rite of spring, preceded by Prokofiev’s Scythian suite and Ravel’s piano concerto in G major.  All are brilliant works, written within twenty years of one another, and all feature the strongest of rhythms and cross-rhythms.  Prokofiev […]

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Domenico Scarlatti and Basil Bunting

April 9, 2017 2 Comments
Domenico Scarlatti and Basil Bunting

Under his full wig he looks like a successful but no-nonsense, even grumpy eighteenth century aristocrat or businessman.  It would be hard to guess, if you didn’t know, that this is Domenico Scarlatti, the composer of the most inventive, quirky and joyful Baroque music ever written. Born in Naples in the same year as Bach […]

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Me, myself and I

April 9, 2016 0 Comments
Me, myself and I

Billie Holiday and Lester Young had as close and creative a musical friendship as any two people could.  All agree: the pair themselves, their friends and musical colleagues, their biographers, and anyone else with a view. How can you get a proper sense of that friendship, 70 and 80 years after the event?  The scattered […]

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Blues recordings: gwallter’s top 10

January 23, 2016 1 Comment
Blues recordings: gwallter’s top 10

  Richard ‘Rabbit’ Brown, James Alley blues, 1927 James Alley is in New Orleans.  Like Louis Armstrong Brown was a native of the Storyville district of that city.  He only recorded six songs, but this one, recorded in his home town, is a peach.  Brown was already in his late forties when he sang it, […]

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Glenn Gould’s ‘The idea of north’

December 12, 2015 0 Comments
Glenn Gould’s ‘The idea of north’

This week, as part of its Northern Lights season, Radio 3 broadcast an hour-long documentary made by the pianist Glenn Gould for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1967 called The idea of north. It turned out to be as absorbing as his piano playing. By 1967 Gould had famously turned his back on performing in […]

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Jimi Hendrix and Ludwig Wittgenstein in Swansea

January 18, 2015 2 Comments
Jimi Hendrix and Ludwig Wittgenstein in Swansea

That Jimi Hendrix came to Swansea was news to me until yesterday. It seemed almost as unlikely as the fact that Ludwig Wittgenstein used to stay here on his holidays. Gary Gregor, in his excellent South Wales Evening Post column ‘Hidden History’, says in his latest contribution that Hendrix visited the city in the 1960s. […]

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John Fahey, American primitive?

December 10, 2013 0 Comments
John Fahey, American primitive?

Like many teenagers of the late 1960s I was first awakened to what would become my most treasured music by the late John Peel.  His weekly programme Top Gear on Radio One was unmissable.  It was almost the only place you could come across American musicians ignored by the mainstream (Peel had worked on a […]

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Cyngerdd Tŷ

July 13, 2013 0 Comments
Cyngerdd Tŷ

Ar noson grasboeth arall dyma ni’n dau’n cerdded ar hyd pafin ein stryd dan gario cadair blygu’r un, ar ein ffordd i ‘gyngerdd tŷ’.  Daeth y gwahoddiad oddi wrth Delyth Jenkins a’i merch Angharad – ‘DnA’ yw eu henw proffesiynol – sy newydd ryddhau albwm newydd o awelon Cymreig traddodiadol a newydd, Adnabod (Fflach). Chlywais […]

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