by Rhys Meirion


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Bass-baritone Bryn Terfel was so prolific at one point that you wouldn't think he'd need to kill two birds with one stone, but that's what he does with Benedictus, an album of duets recorded with tenor and fellow Welshman Rhys Meirion: it serves both as an album aimed at Britain's large crossover classical audience and as a step in Terfel's pursuit of Welsh identity. Most of the music is in the Welsh language, and liner notes are in both English and Welsh. The notes describe the album as "a tribute to that [Welsh] culture." "Benedictus," a work by Welsh composer Robat Arwyn (a friend of Terfel's), is a big, warm, Romantic setting of the "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" text from the Catholic mass, tailor-made for classical radio airplay. Another surefire classical hit is "Eli Jenkins' Prayer," a setting of a Dylan Thomas poem. The track listing on the back cover is typical of crossover releases: the poor old composers don't get credit except on the inside of the booklet. There are just titles, in the manner of a pop album. Despite its multiple marketing aims, the album works nicely. Terfel has chosen his Welsh material well, and the result is something like the performances Italian singers used to give of Neapolitan songs: the music is sentimental and delivered with full sincerity. Terfel and Meirion, who blend naturally as a duet, cover a wide temporal range here: some of the music sounds as though it goes back to the Thomas Moore era; some of it was written by followers of Schubert; and some is contemporary. Accompanying musicians include a small string group, an all-female string group called Celticana, and a piano. Sometimes this results in a little lurch from track to track, but Terfel's big, warm voice keeps everything together. A lesser singer might not have been able to carry this off, but with Terfel there are tunes here that will hang in your head.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/27/2005
Label: Sain Records
UPC: 5016886250021
catalogNumber: 2500


  1. Benedictus
  2. Y Darlun (The Picture)
  3. Y Ddau Forwr (The Two Sailors)
  4. Grist Bendigedig (Blessed Christ)
  5. Perhaps love
  6. Y Ddau Frython (The Two Brythons)
  7. Y Border Bach (The Little Brook) (tune Neander's Arnsberg)
  8. Luned
  9. Dal Ein Tir (Holding our ground)
  10. Pan F'or Nos Yn Hir
  11. Sunset Poem (Eli Jenkins' Prayer)
  12. Y Ddau Wladgarwr (The Two Parrots)
  13. Anwylyn Mair (Mary's dearest one)
  14. Salm 23

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