Suo Gân means “Lullaby” in Welsh, and this traditional Welsh song, with its gentle and simple but delightfully memorable melody, is very well known – not least because of its poignant use in the Steven Spielberg film, Empire of the Sun.
This new setting is for four-part choir and piano accompaniment, with the first verse optionally sung by a solo soprano (or treble). The music is intentionally straightforward as a reflection of the simplicity of the melody, but enough variety is present to maintain interest, and the lilting piano accompaniment maintains a rocking momentum. A tone of unease is introduced for the third verse, whose words reveal concern about external forces, and for this verse some significant chromaticism is introduced. However, for the final verse the rocking tranquility returns and the piece comes to a sonorous conclusion. Note that this setting of the song repeats the words of the first verse in lieu of a fourth verse.
The original Welsh words are provided along with a brand-new rhyming English translation which is faithful to the meaning of the Welsh original whilst attempting to avoid triteness.
Fand produces its music booklets to a very high quality, and they normally include expensively-printed full-colour covers, which both look very attractive and, by being robust, make the copies easier to use on music stands and add considerably to their useful lives. Unfortunately, the colour covers are much more expensive to print than the music pages they enclose, and thus greatly increase the price of the copies overall.
We are very well aware that many choirs struggle to cover their ongoing costs, and simply cannot afford to purchase luxury-quality copies. Therefore, given that multiple copies are needed by any choir to put on a performance, we are also making choral parts available more cheaply, without the nice colour covers. (The full-price scores and the choral parts are absolutely identical apart from the fact that the cheaper parts lack the nice covers.) This keeps costs to a minimum and, we hope, should make the music more affordable to amateur groups.
We therefore suggest that when ordering a set of music, choirs might like to take the following approach:
Bear in mind that the copies are A4-sized booklets, and are therefore large enough to be shared by two singers if necessary.
Of course, if your choir is well off and wants a set of high-quality copies that will stand the test of time, then by all means order the more expensive scores for use by the singers, too! But we hope that the provision of cheaper choral parts will put this music within the reach of typical impoverished groups.
(Click to enlarge)
arr. Richard Hallas
Words: Welsh traditional
Translated by Richard Hallas
Traditional Welsh lullaby
arranged for choir (SATB) and piano with optional soprano solo
|Soprano, Choir (SATB), Piano||3¾ mins|
PLEASE NOTE that the sound sample provided here is completely synthetic, created with Sibelius from the typeset score. In the absence of a ‘proper’ recording of an actual performance, it seems better than nothing in order to allow prospective purchasers to get an idea of how the piece sounds. However, please excuse the absence of words and the synthesiser’s poor-quality ‘aaah’s in lieu of real voices!
Catalogue code: FM200 • Published: 3rd July 2016
Entry last updated: 3rd July 2016