Three Welsh Folk Songs
- New Year Carol (Mae’r Flwyddyn yn Marw)
- David of the White Rock (Dafydd y Garreg Wen)
- When Morning is Breaking (Pan gyfyd yr Heulwen)
Wales is known as the “Land of Song,” and its musical culture is celebrated in many outstanding hymns and folk songs. My great-grandfather, Thomas Bennett Thomas, was born in Aberaeron, Wales, and I’ve explored my heritage in a number of musical works. His grandson—my father, John Thomas—taught flute at the Eastman School of Music for forty-some years. Arranging Welsh tunes for flute seems as natural as daffodils in March.
There are few Welsh Christmas carols, but “Mae’r Flwyddyn yn Marw” is one carol that celebrates the New Year. David Owen, a blind harper and composer of the early eighteenth century, was known as “Dafydd y Garreg Wen” (David of the White Rock), for “The White Rock” was the name of his farm. Tradition has it that as Owen lay on his death bed, he called for his harp and composed the famous air that bears his name. “When Morning is Breaking” (“Pan gyfyd yr Heulwen”) was commissioned for flutist Vanita Hall Jones by Ruth Jones. Three Welsh Folk Songs received its premiere in October, 2013 by Linda Chatterton, flute, and Matt McCright, piano.