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Claude's Concert Notes

A Child's Christmas in Wales

A Child’s Christmas in Wales was written in late 2012 for the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra as part of a Christmas concert and is accompanied by Dylan Thomas’ celebrated text of the same title. Its premiere took place on December 8, 2012, with Red Deer’s then-mayor, Morris Flewwelling, as narrator.

 

At its heart, A Child’s Christmas in Wales uses an anonymous Welsh carol known chiefly from a series of variations for Irish harp written by Dutch harpist Ank van Campen and published in 1972. The tune is heard in its entirety at the start of the prelude, where it is performed on solo viola. Various extracted motifs, modal transpositions, and permutations of the melody are used throughout the work to give it a sense of unity. Although the tune is one of the many settings of the May carol Mae’r Ddaear yn Glasu (The Earth is Greening), I felt its nostalgic wistfulness and designation as a carol still made it an appropriate choice.

 

Other carols quoted in the score are:

Good King Wenceslas

Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; (in a series of variations, including one in neo-medieval style)

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

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