Sign up for our newsletter

The Bards of Wales


Monday, 20 January, 2014, 7:00 PM
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall
Tickets: $20 - $100
Save 30% on tickets with discount code DCI18191
To Purchase Tickets:
IN PERSON Carnegie Hall Box Office - 57th Street and Seventh Avenue Mon-Sat 11 AM-6 PM, Sun 12 PM-6 PM.
PHONE CarnegieCharge - 212-247-7800, Daily 8 AM-8 PM

New York's famed Carnegie Hall will honor Karl Jenkins on his 70th birthday on 20 January, 2014, with a program featuring the most important works by the famed composer and presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York. The selection includes Jenkins' Stabat Mater, the Benedictus movement of The Armed Man - A Mass for Peace, as well as the cantata The Bards of Wales, which puts to music the eponymous ballad by János Arany.
“Karl Jenkins is a rarity among contemporary composers, balancing popularity with innovation.”  -  The Independent (UK)
"Jenkins’ gift for writing solid melodies according to the mood of the text is profound."- Choral Review
World famous Welsh composer Karl Jenkins wrote his ambitious cantata based on János Arany's ballad The Bards of Wales on the proposal of Concert Masters International Budapest (CMI). The world premier event took place on 21 June, 2011 in the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall of the Palace of Arts in Budapest. The English language first performance featured a Welsh-Hungarian choir, 170 strong, assembled for the occasion, as well as well-known performers and the Symphony Orchestra of the Hungarian State Railways, with the author himself conducting the premiere.
The concert was realized under the patronage of HRH Charles, Prince of Wales and garnered great praise. It could take place thanks to the amical cooperation of a handful of committed Hungarian, Welsh and English friends of the piece, including László Irinyi, former secretary of the Budapest University Choir who is currently CEO of Concert Masters International, a concert agency in Budapest. He first thought about the potential of adapting the ballad to music at the performance of the Swansea city choir in Debrecen when in the spur of the moment he recited Arany's poem at the end of the performance. The response was elementary and immediate, and gave rise to the idea that if set to a musical score, the ballad could reach people beyond Hungarian audiences and open up János Arany's great work to the whole world. When he heard The Armed Man -A Mass for Peace performed by the Leeds Philharmonic Choir Association in concert in Krakow, he knew immediately that he had found the perfect person to compose the music in Karl Jenkins.
Karl Jenkins
Karl Jenkins is the most celebrated, most played and most popular contemporary classical composer in Britain who is a living legend in his native Wales and is sometimes referred to as a British "Carl Orff". His career started in jazz and included performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival, but he has since moved on to composing contemporary classical music, while continuing to find inspiration in jazz foundations. His unique sound daringly crosses boundaries of genres, his works sometimes evoking the jazz-rock of his early years with the same ease with which they reference his later crossover work embodied in the Adiemus recordings. One of his chefs-d'oeuvre, The Armed Man - A Mass for Peace has been performed over 1000 times in the ten years since its premiere, in 20 different countries. Jenkins' best known melodies have been covered by innumerable performers. His music represents a fusion of classical and popular styles which yield an eminently lovable and enjoyable music based on the harmonic unity of well-crafted melodies and lively rhythm by horns and percussive instruments.
The composer, represented exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes, has a number of platinum certified albums to his name. Despite his stature as a preeminent representative of contemporary classical music, he immediately accepted the proposition to compose the piece and wrote the 47 minute long cantata in nine movements in a single year. The text of the cantata is in English and uses the new translation of the Hungarian original by Peter Zollman, a native of Hungary who had emigrated to the United Kingdom after the 1956 revolution.
Jenkins' cantata remains true to the dratamturgy of the original ballad by Arany: one by one, the participants of the royal feast in Wales enter the stage and the mysterious flames burn once more under the ramparts of Montgomery Castle. Edward, king of England suspects, however, that the Welsh lords resent him and asks for songs singing his praises. One bard after the other refuses to do so, and tragedy unfolds at the site of the feast originally meant to symbolize the pacification of the rugged Welsh people.
The well-known ballad presents us with an ageless message: there have always been and there will always live those who will raise their voices in defense of freedom. The new cantata is indeed the praise of civilian courage, of resisting and standing up to oppression and tyranny.


No events


No events