Notes from the arranger
It is my great pleasure to dedicate my arrangement of Cambria by John Thomas, Pencerdd Gwalia, to my former teacher, Ann Griffiths.
This duet, originally for two pedal harps, was written for a concert of Welsh music at London’s Crystal Palace in July, 1862, with John Thomas himself and Frederick Chatterton, his former teacher, giving the first performance. It was also in London that I gave my first performance of this work as part of a St David’s Day celebration at the Albert Hall in 1970. Without a doubt this is one of John Thomas’ masterpieces for two harps which has appealed to so many harpists worldwide.
An outcome of performing this work with Elinor Bennett at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, 2016, was the idea from Yorkshire’s Anita Aslin to adapt the duet for two Celtic harps. I used my version of the work for less experienced harpists as a foundation for this arrangement but with several necessary changes to make the piece technically accessable to lever harpists. Thank you, Anita.
The work is based on three Welsh melodies: Y Gadlys (Of Noble Race was Siencyn), Y Ferch o’r Sgêr (The Maid of Sker) and Tros y Garreg (Over the Stone): three beautiful and popular melodies which I hope will grace the repertoire of lever harp duos.
Please relish with joy every note and chord of this gem from Wales’ rich musical inheritance.