Tribute to Osian Ellis
Elinor Bennett & Elen Hydref
31 March 2021, 8:00pm
The Video will appear here soon!
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Osian Ellis: Lachrymae
Benjamin Britten: Suite for Harp
Osian Ellis: Clymau Cytgerdd i 2 delyn
In this short virtual concert, we wish to pay homage to Osian Ellis, the Festival’s ex-President and one of the greatest harpists of our time. By transmitting the “eternal muse” we wish to ensure that his love of the harp and its music is kept alive by a new generation of harpists. Elinor Bennett studied with Osian Ellis at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and was Elen Hydref’s teacher at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias for several years. Representing the new generation, Elen also received some lessons from Osian Ellis before studying at the Royal Academy of Music and becoming one of the foremost young harpists in Britain today.
Three very different works will be heard in the concert :
- Osian Ellis – Lachrymae Osian Ellis wrote that the piece was composed in 2018 when Llinos, a young member of the family was dying from cancer. The work expresses deep grief and Osian wrote : ” I urge my harp to be aggressive and cruel in the first section, reflecting stress and pain; the harp glissando reflects the ebb of life and is followed by a death-knell and the consequent dorian “L’ Envoie” leads us to the forest grave at Boduan. The Dorian mode prevails, and we meditate simply on a song “O wailing wind, have you also lost somebody who loved you.” (based on a poem by the Welsh poet John Morris Jones.)
- Benjamin Britten – Suite for Harp op 83
- Osian Ellis – Diversions for Two Harps
(i) Chasing (ii) Descanting. (iii) Gossiping
“Diversions” were written to commission by the Bangor committee of Cymdeithas Cerdd Dant Cymru, as a test piece for its annual competitive festival held at Bangor in 1990.
(i). Overture ii) Toccata (iii) Nocturne (iv) Fugue (v) Hymn
Written for Osian Ellis, Britten’s ” Suite for harp” ( first performed at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1969) is regarded as one of the most important harp works of the 20th century. In the five short movements, the composer explores new ways of musical expression on the harp and challenges future harpists. The last movement is a set of variants on the Welsh hymn-tune, St Denio as a tribute to Osian’s Welsh roots.
Welsh harpist Elen Hydref enjoys a career freelancing with some of the UK and Norway’s finest orchestras including Welsh National Opera Orchestra, Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Royal Opera House Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet Orchestra. Alongside her orchestral career she enjoys teaching and has tutored on the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain and Wales Harp Festival courses several times.
Elen studied with Elinor Bennett and Dylan Rowlands in North Wales before moving to London to study with Skaila Kanga and Catherine White at The Purcell School of Music and The Royal Academy of Music.
Whilst preparing for the Strings Final of the BBC Young Musician Competition in 2004, Elinor Bennett arranged for Elen to have a series of lessons with the late Osian Ellis.