A deeply moving poem written by a National Eisteddfod winning bard from Llanegryn is the inspiration behind a concert at a top music festival.
The poem, Y Gorwel (The Horizon), links in with the theme for the North Wales International Music Festival at St Asaph Cathedral taking place next month.
It was written by John Evans, who was a headteacher in Llanegryn, the grandfather of Aled Lewis Evans, from Wrexham, who is also an acclaimed, award-winning poet.
The poem describes an old man gazing out across Cardigan Bay from his home in the Barmouth area and looking back to his childhood and how the innocence of youth looked to the horizon of his future not knowing the woes of life.
Aled, a chapel minister, will take part in the bilingual concert, Gorwelion y Gair (The Horizon of Words) at the festival on 22 September, when he will be reading some of his own poems.
The concert also features the Trelawnyd and Bro Glyndŵr male voice choirs and the Dee Sign British Sign Language Choir as well as the popular folk quartet, Pedair.
The poem will also feature in a Chamber Music morning concert with poetry on September 28. Ensemble Cymru clarinettist Peryn Clement-Evans and pianist Iwan Llewelyn-Jones will perform music inspired by poetry selected by Aled on the theme of horizons.
Aled’s grandfather won the chair at the National Eisteddfod in Aberystwyth in 1952 and again at Ystradgynlais two years later.
He said: “When the festival’s Artistic Director, Ann Atkinson, asked me for suggestions for a concert at this year’s event themed ‘Horizons’, the poem, Y Gorwel, quickly came to mind.
“It tells of some crossing the horizon into world wars, and not returning. At the end of the poem he looks straight to the last horizon which is death, and beyond. He faces it confidently and completely naturally at the end of the poem.”
Ann Atkinson said: “It fits in perfectly with the theme of this year’s festival.
“The horizon of war raises its head and then finally, the final horizon and the final journey. The choirs will sing and sign a varied repertoire, in both Welsh and English, which will reflect these aspects of life.”
Meanwhile, Pedair, consists of well-known harpists Gwenan Gibbard and Siân James along with acclaimed singer-songwriters Meinir Gwilym and Gwyneth Glyn.
Together they will perform a number of folk-related songs about the concert’s theme, bringing to life traditional material with new arrangements on harps, guitars, piano and accordion.
The North Wales International Music Festival will take place in St Asaph Cathedral between 15 and 30 September and features a bustling programme of performers, from former Royal harpist Catrin Finch and Irish violinist Aoife Ní Bhríain, to the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers and a host of vocal ensembles and choirs.