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Eisteddfod 2nd Aug 2005

 
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TER1274
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:22 am    Post subject: Eisteddfod 2nd Aug 2005 Reply with quote

The lovely warm sunny day quickly gave way to sheets of rain sweeping across the Eisteddfod Maes late on Tuesday afternoon. I very quickly understood why the fashion statement of the day among festival visitors was wellies worn with anything from jeans to mini skirt! Mud. Lots of it! But a bit of North Walian rain and mud would not stop my enjoyment of the forthcoming evening. I was here to listen to the Cor yr Eisteddfod sing the Mozart Requiem with soloists Rebecca Evans, Leah Marian Jones, Aled Hall and -oh yes, Bryn Terfel.
Having arrived in the early afternoon to have a look round and sample a little of what the Eisteddfod has to offer, I decided as everyone started leaving around 5pm to try to move my car from the field I was parked in to a place a little closer to the Pavillion. I really didn't fancy my chances of survival without a broken limb stumbling around the field in the pitch black after the concert. It's a good job I wasn't going anywhere. The traffic was total chaos and it took over an hour to move up to the next car park level.
It seemed that there were big problems outside too. When my friend rang twenty minutes before the concert started to say she was stuck in traffic I didn't realise how bad it was. Sitting in the huge blue and yellow Pavillion as 8pm approached there were still hundreds of people arriving and trying to take their seats. 8.15 and we were still not started. Finally at 8.25 the huge choir filed into their places and a 8.30 just as the first bars of 'Mae hen Wlad' sounded, my friend slid into her seat!
The first piece to be performed was by William Mathais called 'Sant Teilo'. It was for choir, tenor and Mezzo soloists and Narrator. I am afraid the Welsh was beyond me and I understood very little of the narration. The music was dramatic, quite difficult to listen to at times as it was complex and often dissonant. Other parts were easier with lively, insistent rhythms. I think the choir made a valiant effort with this very demanding piece, though at times they seeemd a little uncomfortable. At an hour long it was no mean undertaking for an amateur choir.
After a brief interval out on the muddy field, we came back for the Mozart.
The soloists were led onto stage by Bryn, easily recognisable even at a distance, as he towerd over everyone else! He's looking well. Clean shaven, hair curling over his collar and very smart in his white tie and tails. Glyn Williams raised his baton and started the Requiem at a cracking pace. Instantly the choir seemed to relax in to the more familiar style and sounded much more confident. This was a first for me. I know the Mozart Requiem very well and have sung it a few times, but not in Welsh! It's quite odd hearing something very familiar but somehow subtely different. I think Bryn was in good voice. I have to say I think because the amplification in the Pavillion was not helpful. It seemed to distort the voices somehow, so much so that at first I hardly recognised his voice. I don't think it did any favours to any of the soloists but Rebecca Evans came off best and is clearly another world class singer.
The 'Recordare' ( sorry I don't know the Welsh equivalent) was nicely balanced and I enjoyed hearing Bryn as a solid bass foundation to the ensemble- he sings a lovely bottom F!
The choir sang the piece with clear enjoyment. What a fantastic experience it must have been for them to sing here with soloists and orchestra like this. I know they will never forget the night they got to sing with Bryn.
Only one 'curtain call' and then the soloists were off, followed by the choir and it was all over. We were off too- we had to get out of that car park!

Helen
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TER1360
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that review Helen. I hope that conditions are a little better by Saturday when we go but I doubt it. We've been pretty lucky in previous years at the Eisteddfod with weather and have yet to experience really muddy conditions but I remember getting the car stuck in the mud on the way out the first time we went to Bryn's Festival a few years back so I hope we don't have a repeat performance!
Am looking forward very much to Saturdays performance, I love hearing Bryn sing in Welsh even though I hardly understand any of it.

Anne
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TER1274
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It certainly is a treat to hear him sing in Welsh. I hope you enjoy Saturdays performance. Please post here to let us know what we missed!
Watch out for the mud. Some of the fields were very bad and I saw a couple of cars that were stuck.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for the weather, but it being North Wales there is no telling!

X Helen
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