Care home residents captivated by beautiful Welsh folk music performance
Residents at a care home in north Wales were captivated when an internationally renowned pianist gave a stirring performance of Welsh folk songs.
Iwan Llewelyn-Jones is hailed as one of the finest pianists of his generation and his recital went down a storm when he visited Pendine Park’s Bryn Seiont Newydd centre of excellence for dementia care in Caernarfon.
He played popular classics and hymns during his visit and there were tears of joy and of sadness as residents recognised some of the melodies from their past.
Residents were especially enthralled by Iwan’s special arrangements of Dafydd y Garreg Wen, the Welsh musical folk song which is believed to have been composed by David Owen, a harpist and composer who lived near Porthmadog when he was on his death bed in 1741.
The words were added more than 100 years later by the poet John Ceiriog Hughes.
Iwan’s version included elements of well-known pieces by other composers including Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata and he also treated residents and staff to a special arrangement of the Welsh folk song Ar Lan y Môr.
The visit to Bryn Seiont was originally due to take place in 2020 as a thank you to Pendine Park for sponsoring the Wales International Piano Festival via the Pendine Arts and Community Trust which supports arts and community activities.
A packed music room of residents and staff enjoyed an hour-long concert by the Anglesey-born pianist, who is the festival’s Artistic Director and Director of Performance at Bangor University.
Iwan said: “I have enjoyed being here and I hope you enjoyed it as well. It is the first time I have been to Bryn Seiont Newydd but I can promise you it won’t be the last time.
“There are wonderful facilities here and the music room has wonderful views towards the Llŷn Peninsula.
Resident David Edwards, who hails from Dolwyddelan and was a police officer in Blaenau Ffestiniog, told Iwan he had been a member of Côr y Brythoniaid for many years and still enjoyed singing.
“I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say that we are all grateful that Iwan made the time to come here and show us how to play the piano properly,” he said.
Another resident, Anthony Richards, who lived in Beaumaris, added: “I like listening to all music and could have listened to this piano playing for hours.”
Nia Davies Williams, Bryn Seiont’s musician in residence, was pleased Iwan had finally been able to visit the care home.
She said “Music is very important to the residents of Bryn Seiont Newydd and they are as entitled as anyone else to enjoy seeing and hearing the piano playing of an acclaimed pianist such as Iwan.
Born and raised in Amlwch where his parents ran a chemist’s shop, Iwan is a graduate of the University of Oxford and the Royal College of Music where he won several awards and competitions for both academic and pianistic excellence and he holds a doctorate in performance and musicology from Cardiff University.
Iwan appears regularly on television and radio and has been the recipient of several awards and honours, including the Sir Geraint Evans Award in recognition of his significant contribution to Welsh music.
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