Bryn Terfel - We'll Keep A Welcome
If the Welsh people showed signs of caution when voting for a National Assembly, they might have been stirred into greater numbers at the ballot box by this finely sung and unashamedly patriotic collection of songs featuring their mastersinger Bryn Terfel.
The programme is indeed ‘eclectic’, as described by Terfel, ranging from the unfamiliar, such as Cymru Fach with its Schubertian modulations and Arwel Hughes’s beautiful melody Tydi a Roddaist, to such well-known songs as Ar Hyd y Nos (‘All Through the Night’) and
Careful planning has evidently been given to the content of this CD, but with a diverse cast-list of two choirs, the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, harp, organ and piano, it is impossible to prevent the occasional jolt to the ear. The melancholy and introspective mood of the lullabies and songs expressing a longing for the Homeland followed by such robust fare as Cwm Rhondda and Men of Harlech, taken here at a jaunty tempo, would benefit from a longer pause between tracks.
Chris Hazell has written some attractive arrangements to enhance such songs as Ar Lan y Mor (‘On the Seashore’), which has a grave oboe obbligato, and a sympathetic setting of
The simple legato line of Dafydd y Garreg Wen (‘David of the White Rock’), accompanied by harp, shows off Terfel’s vocal sensitivity and is such a highlight that it is a pity he could not have opened his CD with the solo version (instead of a choral version) of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau (‘Land of my Fathers’), which is reprised anyway for full choir as a finale.
This album offers a rare treat in hearing Bryn Terfel relishing the music of Wales sung in his native tongue, with two vigorous supporting choirs who also demonstrate a gentler side to their art in humming the introduction to Ar Hyd y Nos (‘All Through the Night’). With the two distinguished harpists and keyboard players they provide the best possible advertisement for repertoire too long neglected by the major record companies.'