From the heart of the Rhondda and steeped in the wonderful musical traditions of that famous valley, the Lewis Merthyr Band comes to Theatr Brycheiniog tongight (Friday) with a dazzling display of film music in Soundtracks, Story and Song.
From the first film soundtrack written by a Welsh woman composer, through famous blockbuster themes to the ‘Lone Ranger’ as never heard before, the programme presents a glorious musical picture of a century of cinema.
And as one of the highlights in that musical picture the band will be accompanying live the screening of four short films all with Welsh connections.
In 1945 Barry-born composer Grace Williams was commissioned to write the score for Blue Scar, a film directed by Jill Craigie (wife of the former Labour Party leader Michael Foot) and from which the Mountain Scene, a five-minute sequence set in North Wales, will be screened with Grace Williams’s music played live by the Lewis Merthyr Band.
In 2005 Brecon composer Paul Shallcross was commissioned by Craig Roberts to arrange for brass band his piano scores for three films by Welsh film pioneer William Haggar (1851-1925). Craig, then musical director of the Parc and Dare Band, is now musical director of the Lewis Merthyr Band and one of the country’s foremost brass band conductors and adjudicators.
In the concert at Theatr Brycheiniog Craig has the demanding task of synchronising music and film, ensuring that the 30-strong brass band (who will have their backs to the screen) tailor their music exactly to the action of the film.
Additionally, the Soundtracks, Story and Song concert will mark a Theatr Brycheiniog debut for Llandovery singing talent Louise Wood.
A former pupil of Brecon’s Gigi Galetta, Louise studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, gaining a First in her BMus, and is now studying for a Masters at The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
In last August’s Noon of Night concert at Brecon’s The Muse, Louise stunned the audience with both the power and the purity of her singing and, in the April 14 concert, will be repeating one of her showpieces from that Muse programme: the much-applauded Noon of Night song cycle.
But what promises to be one of the highlights of the evening will be the first public performance of the magical folktale The Carpenter and the Grand Surveyor, a story told in words and music, and a story which has a strong affinity with Brecon and the woods of Wales.
Partnering Louise as the narrator in the telling of this enchanting tale will be actor and Brecon resident Stuart Hulse, who also, like Louise, will be making his Theatr Brycheiniog debut.
The concert begins at 7:30pm and seems certain to be one of the significant events in Brecon’s thriving musical calendar of 2023.