Previous Conductor - Eilir Owen Griffiths
Eilir’s enthusiasm is contagious, and the co-operation between himself and Branwen Evans, the choir’s accompanist, has enabled Godre’r Garth to maintain the very highest standards which have characterised the choir from its beginning. Eilir has conducted Côr Godre’r Garth since 2002.
Eilir Owen Griffiths is originally from Denbigh but now lives on the outskirts of Cardiff with his wife and toddler son. He is a Music Tutor and Cultural Organiser at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Carmarthen. He is also the Artistic Director of the Trinity St David Arts Festival, which has the Stuart Burrows International Voice Award as its main event.
A former student of Theatre, Music and the Media at the College, he went on to study for an M.Mus. degree in Composition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. His composition work has brought him many accolades, including the Main Composition Prize at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Cardiff in 2008.Eilir has established himself as one of Wales’s most dynamic conductors and has won many of the top competition prizes with his choirs, Côr CF1, Côr Godre’r Garth and Côr y Drindod Dewi Sant.
In June 2011 his three choirs united to perform the première of his exciting Requiem, with Bryn Terfel and Wynne Evans as soloists. 2008 saw Eilir release a CD of his work Y Gair. In addition, Eilir has conducted the Welsh Session Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Wales and is a regular contributor to concert platforms and musical events throughout the UK, appearing on television programmes as a performer and commentator. In 2011 he was appointed as Music Director of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
New CD is a celebration of conductor’s most memorable moments with Côr Godre’r Garth
Côr Godre’r Garth, a mixed choir from the Pontypridd area, will release a new CD as part of its annual Christmas concert held at Tabernacl Chapel in Efail Isaf on Sunday, 18 December 2011 at 7.00pm.
Coro Angelicus features a selection of the choir’s favourite compositions and the debut of a lively and enchanting piece of work composed by Eilir Owen Griffiths to reflect his most memorable moments with the choir since he took over as conductor in 2003.
The work, Coro Angelicus (Choir of Angels), has nine movements which includes Ymdeithgan Angel [Angel’s Procession], composed by Eilir for his wife on their wedding day, when the choir sang in the service. Disgynnodd [Fallen] is in the manner of a folk song, echoing the choir’s folk repertoire down the years. The main theme of Exaudi Nos – Clyw Ni was composed one fine evening when the choir was on tour in La Rochelle in 2010. The work closes with a stirring arrangement of Sanctus, to celebrate the numerous times the choir has sung at the Millennium Stadium before international rugby matches.
The CD, which also features the choir singing classics by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Schubert and a powerful rendition of Handel’s Sadoc Ŵr Duw (Zadok The Priest), marks the end of a full and exciting year. Highlights include performing the première of Eilir’s Requiem with Bryn Terfel and Wynne Evans at Aberglasney Gardens and winning the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Music Festival.
It has also been a busy year for Eilir Owen Griffiths who was appointed as Music Director of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in September. Eilir, who works as a Music Tutor and Cultural Organiser at the University of Wales Trinity St David is one of Wales’s most dynamic conductors and has won many top accolades as a composer and also with Côr Godre’r Garth and his other two choirs Côr CF1 and Côr y Drindod Dewi Sant.
He is looking forward to launching Côr Godre’r Garth’s new CD and performing parts of Coro Angelicus at the Christmas concert on 18 December.
“As a choir we’ve been discussing releasing a new CD for some time now and we decided that this was the year to do it and I’m delighted with the end result. Côr Godre’r Garth is a very special choir with everyone looking out for each other and I feel it a huge privilege that the members agreed to perform the début of Coro Angelicus which was inspired by the choir.
“Although Coro Angelicus is not a festive composition, it contains the familiar carol Noël which brings back fond memories of the annual Christmas concerts held at Efail Isaf. Conducting the choir to perform extracts from the work at this year’s concert will be magical. I’m hoping that the CD will have something for everyone, a taste of the old and the new to whet all musical appetites!”
Côr Godre’r Garth’s Chair, Meilyr Hedd added: “Eilir is always challenging the choir to even greater heights with his enthusiasm and exciting new compositions and the choir thoroughly enjoyed the experience of rehearsing and recording for the CD. We are all looking forward to the concert so be sure to come along to enjoy exclusive performances from Coro Angelicus and grab the opportunity to buy copies as Christmas presents!”
Coro Angelicus has been recorded on the Sain label and is dedicated to Eric Davies, a long-standing member of the choir who died this year.
Côr Godre’r Garth’s Christmas Concert will be held at Tabernacl Chapel, Efail Isaf on Sunday, 18 December at 7.00pm. Tickets are priced at £5.00 (£3.00 concession) and are available on the door or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Free entry is given to those who buy a copy of the CD on the night! The CD is priced £12.98.
About Côr Godre’r Garth
Côr Godre’r Garth mixed choir was founded in 1974 to attract likeminded music-lovers who wanted to boost the Welsh language in the Pontypridd area. It has over 65 members ranging in age from 16 to over 70. The choir rehearses every Sunday in the village of Efail Isaf. For nearly forty years the choir has enjoyed several successes, experiences and travelled afar. For the first 28 years this was under the masterful leadership of Wil Morus Jones, the founder of the choir who made certain that the choir struck the right note from the outset. Following Wil’s retirement Gareth Williams, the deputy conductor took leadership, before Eilir Owen Griffiths, one of Wales most exciting and dynamic musical talents, joined as conductor in 2003. The choir is also very fortunate to have the talent and musicality of Branwen Evans as accompanist. Competing at the National Eisteddfod is of course a highlight for most Welsh choirs and during the past decade Côr Godre’r Garth have won first prize in the competition for choirs with over 45 voices several times. The choir also won the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Music Festival in 2011.
About the work Coro Angelicus
Coro Angelicus is a lively work encompassing some of Eilir’s favourite memories with the choir since he took over as conductor in 2003. The brass ensemble is reminiscent of his first performance with the choir on the National Eisteddfod stage, conducting Gloria by John Rutter. The presence of the harp in the work is significant because of the strong cerdd dant tradition in the Pontypridd area, and the percussion instruments are a reminder of a special concert in Carmarthen in 2009, when the choir performed Carmina Burana by Carl Orff and O Beata Trinitas by Karl Jenkins.
The first of the work’s nine movements is Ymdeithgan Angel [Angel’s Procession], composed by Eilir for his wife on their wedding day, when the choir sang in the service. Disgynnodd [Fallen] has been composed in the manner of a folk song, echoing the choir’s folk repertoire down the years. The main theme of Exaudi Nos – Clyw Ni was composed one fine evening when the choir was on tour in La Rochelle in 2010. The CD was recorded during November 2011 and recorded at Albany Road Baptist Church in Cardiff and at Sain studios in Llandwrog, Gwynedd with the Welsh Session Orchestra, organist Jeffrey Howard, percussionist David Danford, harpists Ceri Wynne Jones and Rachael Jones and Dewi Griffiths on the Flugelhorn.