Caer Drewyn (The Hill Fort)
2.(picc.).2.2.(Bcl.)2(Cbsn). 220.127.116.11.1. 2 perc. timp. hp. strings (18.104.22.168.4).
Duration: c. 8 - 10'
Caer Drewyn is a piece in inspired by an iron age hill fort based in Corwen, North Wales. The fort was historically a strategic outpost for both the English and Welsh forces during different points in history, where it is also said to be the place where Owain Glyndŵr was proclaimed the ‘Prince of Wales’. To represent this, I wanted to use medieval and early music techniques to create the impression of a distance hill fort, looking over Corwen, Llangollen and beyond. Through these techniques I weave two musical ideas: the first idea is a brooding and ominous cantus firmus line, which transforms over the course of the piece. The second is a fanfare-like gestures providing the rhythmical impetuous throughout. As the piece opens mysteriously, where drones and melodic lines appear in the bass soli, where the music material is explored through colour and resonance of the orchestra. After distant fanfares, the music takes a dramatic turn where ostinati and rhythmic propulsion creates a sense of momentum and excitement. Musically, the sense of pulsation unravels where the fanfares and melodic lines become more desperate and frantic, where the brass play a prominent role. The piece then closes calmly and reflectively, with resonances in different instrumental groups representing the historic landmark watching the passage of time through to the present day.
Caer Drewyn was written for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ Composition: Wales Programme for 2022 - 2023 and was workshopped and subsequently premiered by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW) on the 7th March, Hoddinott Hall.