Grace Williams (1906-1977)3 - 5

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2006080720060814

Grace Williams (1906-1977)

1/5. This year marks the centenary of the birth of Grace Williams, the most significant Welsh composer of her generation, and a maverick voice in 20th century British music. During her lifetime she was criticised for a lyrical style that was out of step with fashionable trends, and subsequently her work has fallen into the sort of posthumous lull that has befallen many great composers.

Donald Macleod visits South Wales to begin a week tracing the course of Grace Williams' life and music, talking to those who knew her, including Welsh musicologists Heward Rees and Rhiannon Mathias.

Yr Eos, The Nightingale

Stephen Betteridge (piano)

BBC Singers

Ronald Corp (conductor)

Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Charles Groves (conductor)

Violin Concerto

Matthew Trusler (violin)

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Jason Lai (conductor)

Watching the Wheat

Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone)

Iain Burnside (piano)

2006080920060816

Apart from a few years spent in England, Grace Williams spent her entire life in Barry, the coastal town west of Cardiff where she was born. She loved the sea and the sense of the infinite it evokes, and its influence on her work is great. Today Donald Macleod visits the composer's home town, and talks to her niece, Eryl Freestone, and artist Ceri Thomas, who has just completed a painting of her inspired by her setting of Ave Maris Stella.

Sea Sketches

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Owain Arwel Hughes (conductor)

Ave Maris Stella

BBC Singers

Ronald Corp (conductor)

Trumpet Concerto

Howard Snell (trumpet)

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Charles Groves (conductor)

Thou Art the One Truth

Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone)

Iain Burnside (piano)

*2006080820060815

Grace Williams (1906-1977)

2/5. This week Donald Macleod commemorates the centenary of the birth of Grace Williams, whose music exercised huge influence on the Welsh musical landscape of the 20th century. And as Wales itself is a place strongly associated with the innate lyricism of language, it's no surprise that voices haunt the music of Grace Williams.

Today, in conversation with musicologists Heward Rees and Rhiannon Mathias, and the composer's niece Eryl Freestone, Donald Macleod takes a look at some of the Welsh voices - and characters that find their way into Grace Williams' work.

Jim Cro

Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone)

Iain Burnside (piano)

The Dancers

Eiddwen Harrhy (soprano)

Caryl Thomas (harp)

Richard Hickox Singers

City of London Sinfonia

Richard Hickox (conductor)

Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands

Stephen Betteridge (piano)

BBC Singers

Ronald Corp (conductor)

Penillion

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Sir Charles Groves (conductor)

Mari Lwyd

*2006080920060816

Grace Williams (1906-1977)

3/5. Apart from a few years spent in England, Grace Williams spent her entire life in Barry, the coastal town west of Cardiff where she was born. She loved the sea and the sense of the infinite it evokes, and its influence on her work is great. Donald Macleod visits the composer's home town, and talks to her niece, Eryl Freestone, and artist Ceri Thomas, who has just completed a painting of her inspired by her setting of Ave Maris Stella.

Sea Sketches

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Owain Arwel Hughes (conductor)

Ave Maris Stella

BBC Singers

Ronald Corp (conductor)

Trumpet Concerto

Howard Snell (trumpet)

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Charles Groves (conductor)

Thou Art the One Truth

Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone)

Iain Burnside (piano)