Voices of Approval; Those Who Criticise Musical Contests May Re-Evaluate Their Opinion after the Cr Cymru, 2003 Event. Glyn Mn Hughes Investigates

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), February 8, 2003 | Go to article overview

Voices of Approval; Those Who Criticise Musical Contests May Re-Evaluate Their Opinion after the Cr Cymru, 2003 Event. Glyn Mn Hughes Investigates


Byline: Glyn Mn Hughes

THERE are those who turn up their musical noses when it comes to competitions.They are, its seems, conveniently forgetting that many glittering musical careers have been launched on the back of a competition win.

Think of Stuart Burrows, a National Eisteddfod winner who trod the boards of opera houses worldwide. Then there's Karita Mattila, winner of the coveted Cardiff Singer of the World competition, who tops the bill at the likes of Covent Garden and New York's Metropolitan Opera.

And what about the Leeds Piano Competition, the BBC Young Musician of the Year? Just two competitions which propel the winners into the musical stratosphere. So what might the critics think of yet another competition?

They'd probably be mightily impressed with Cr Cymru 2003, a contest taking place in Aberystwyth this weekend. More than 16 choirs from all over Wales will descend on the Great Hall for the semi-final rounds of this major new choral competition which will be televised live on S4C Digital, with the highlights on S4C. And what a competition it is. The programme for the event looks like a quick flick through the catalogue of a music publisher. The range of works is peculiarly wide, from traditional Welsh folk songs arranged by ever-inventive musicians such as Gareth Glyn and Brian Hughes, through works by composers such as Grace Williams, Eirian Dafydd and Mervyn Burtch, to some of the stock classics by Monteverdi, Lassus, Handel, Janacek, Mendelssohn, Faure and Bellini and on, even, to Zulu music.

``We've divided the choirs into four sections,'' said Gwawr Owen of Teledu Opus, producers of the competition on behalf of S4C. ``We'll therefore be hearing youth choirs, male, female and mixed choruses.''

But why another competition? ``Because people enjoy it,'' said Gwawr. ``They enjoy competing. It's a part of Welsh life and competing is in the culture. Think of the whole eisteddfod movement and you'll see how important competition is to Welsh performers.

``On the other hand, there are some choirs in this competition who do not appear on the stage at the National and therefore will be new names for the S4C audience.''

But is the whole event a valuable addition to what seems to be a culture flooded with competitions? …

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