Bryn Terfel to sing Karl Jenkins

The international bass-baritone will lead an all-Welsh cast in a memorial piece, Cantata Memoria, dedicated ‘For the Children of Aberfan’, by the popular Welsh composer, Karl Jenkins. The oratorio will mark the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster in which 116 children and 28 adults lost their lives in October 1966 when a colliery waste tip collapsed upon a primary school in the village of Aberfan.

Other participants in the performance include the harpist Catrin Finch, brass specialist David Childs and soprano Elin Manahan Thomas.

bryn terfel

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  • Without wishing to get involved in a debate about the relative virtues of Karl Jenkins, my concern about a piece like this is that artistic judgement will be suspended or muted because of the subject matter.

    A cynic might call it manipulative.

  • Are you questioning Jenkins’ sincerity? You may or may not like the music but to suggest it might be “manipulative” seems a bit shabby. Are tragic events never to be memorialised musically? Is Britten’s War Requiem “manipulative?”

    The participation of the artists performing it surely indicates an effort to commemorate a significant and tragic pass in Welsh history. If you are concerned, don’t listen to it.

    I find all this piling on when it comes to particular artists, including composers, unless they are members of a VERY limited field, extraordinary. Music will not last without living creators, or without addressing the world they live in. It is not an insect trapped in amber. Some will be better than others, but one ought to encourage the effort to move it along without leaving anything behind.

  • I would not be the first to suggest that the music of Karl Jenkins sounds as if it has been put together by a committee. He has no right to freedom from criticism, regardless of the subject, and he is no Britten.

    I will question anything I please.

    • No-one is suggesting Jenkins, or anyone else, is free from criticism, or that he is in Britten’s class as a composer.

      But: have we heard this piece yet?

      It was you, after all, who suggested reactions based on the subject matter. Seems fair enough to me for a Welsh composer to tackle it. Whether he succeeds or not remains to be seen. Or heard.

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