"Beirdd Cymru / The Bards of Wales / A walesi bardok" by Sir Karl Jenkins was premiered & recorded live at the National Concert Hall of Hungary for this CD on 29th June 2012, and forges an unexpected link between Hungary and Wales.
The Hungarian poet János Arany (1817-82) was asked to write a poem in praise of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph but, as the Austrian overlords had just suppressed the 1848 Hungarian Revolution, the poet did the opposite. To satisfy the state censor, the poem was written in terms of Welsh history rather than Hungarian, telling how Edward I of England executed Welsh bards for failing to sing his praises at a banquet in Montgomery Castle in 1277.
When Hungary emerged from World War I as an independent state, The Bards of Wales found its place in the national education system and is learnt by heart by all children at the age of 13 or 14. In Hungary it is a poem so ingrained into the cultural psyche that adults and children can recite it on demand.
Jenkins has set the text in Hungarian, Welsh and English, and it is intended that the work can be sung throughout in a single language or a combination. This CD features the Hungarian version (full notes in English and Hungarian in the CD booklet). The UK premiere of the work was performed at the National Eisteddfod of Wales last August and featured the Welsh language version of the work by poet Twm Morys.
King Edward Scales the Hills of Wales / O Wlad y Saeson Daeth y Teyrn
He Comes to High Montgomery / I Gastell Maldwyn Daeth y Teyrn
An Ancient Bard to Rise / Fe Ddaeth Hen Ŵr
You are the Guilty One! / Ti, Frenin, a Wnaeth Hyn!
A Breeze So Soft / Daw Awel Fach
King Beware! / Melltith ar dy Ben!
His Men Went Forth / A Dyna'r Gair yn Mynd ar Led
The King Can't Fall Asleep / Mae'r Brenin ar Ddi-hun
Those Martyred Bards of Wales / Canu yn y Tân
Arany János: The Bards of Wales / Beirdd Cymru