Morvan Rhuddlan/Rhuddlan Marsh

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    In a recent thread on Welsh folk tunes in the main forum (Link), harper posted her arrangements of two Welsh waltzes. I've enjoyed the previous tunes she has posted on the Cafe, and these are well up to this standard.

    So, here is harper's arrangement of Morfa Rhuddlan (or Rhuddlan Marsh), played on:

    Melody: 1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin
    Descant: 1915 Luigi Embergher mandolin
    Harmony & rhythm: Mid-Missouri M-111 octave mandolin


    Evelyn's notes for the tune are:

    “Rhuddlan Marsh (Morvan Rhuddlan)” was collected by Edward Jones (Welsh Bards, p. 143) and notated with variations on a theme. According to Jones' note on the tune: that: “Morvan Rhuddlan, or the Red Marsh, on the banks of the Clwyd ub Flintshire, was the scene of many Battles of the Welsh with the Saxons. At the memorable conflict in 795, the Welsh were unsuccessful and their monarch Caradoc slain… This plaintive style, so predominant in Welsh Music, is well adapted to melancholy subjects. Our Music probably received a Pathetic tincture from our distresses under the oppression of the Saxons.” Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) composed a setting of this tune (Welsh Songs for George Thomson, Hob. 31b/49) for voice, violin, cello and keyboard. An instrumental arrangement of the tune with 9 variations for harp or piano appears in Richard Roberts’ Cambrian Harmony (pp. 15-24). The tune with song lyrics appears in Brinley Richards’ Songs of Wales (pp. 73-75) and Margery Hargest Jones’ Songs of Wales (pp. 52-53).

    As Rhuddlan Castle is in my part of the world -- I live about 15 miles away -- this is a natural tune for me to try my hand.

    Here is the same recording on Youtube, with pictures of Rhuddlan Castle:

  2. GKWilson
    Nice Martin. It must be nice to live so close to so much history.
  3. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Very pleasant arrangement Martin. Your renaissance orchestra concerts are developing into sold-out regular events

    Now that castle... it must have been fun to besiege it, with not too-high walls so you could make do with your medium ladders, plenty of lawn for picnics, towers with convenient windows near the ground to throw fire in.
    The creepy part comes when you read through the history of it:

    In its earliest stage the work was under the control of Master Bertram, a king's engineer who had entered Henry III's service in Gascony in or before 1248.

    Well, who am I to criticize my own design?
  4. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Gary/Bertram. I'm not sure how renaissance this one is -- tremolo harmony is really a more modern addition. While Rhuddlan Castle is reasonably close to us, it is by no means the nearest nor the nicest of our local castles.

    My favourite Welsh Castle is Ewloe Castle. It's only two miles from our house and as it is both well-hidden inside dense forest and largely unknown, it's a great place to drop by for a bit of peace and quiet in wooded solitude. It's an unguarded open castle, meaning you can just walk in for free at any time of day or night and as it's off the tourist trail, much of the time there is nobody else around. Specially for Bertram's siegecraft: Welsh castle builders had some strange ideas about siting -- Ewloe is actually lower than the field next to it, which means that attackers had the high ground looking down on the castle and their approach across the field could not be spotted by the lookout in the castle keep. Pure genius!

    Rather more formidable, and also only three miles from our house, is Flint Castle, which I also often drop by for a stroll to clear my head. Great sea views across the Dee Estuary towards the English coast opposite and lots of history -- it was at Flint Castle that Richard II agreed to abdicate and surrender his throne to the future Henry IV in 1399, which gets the castle its own scene in Shakespeare's "Richard II".

  5. Marcelyn
    That's exquisite, Martin. What a great blend of instruments. And an unguarded, open castle in the middle of a deep forest? That has got to be the coolest thing I've ever heard of.
  6. Dick Dery
    Dick Dery
    Here's a link to a .abc file
  7. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I've now also recorded harper's arrangement of the second Welsh waltz she has posted over in the Celtic forum (Link to PDF), The Red Piper's Melody (or Digan y pibydd coch). Played on Gibson Ajr (melody), Washburn F-style (descant), Mid-Missouri M-111 octave mandolin (harmony and intro), Ozark tenor guitar (rhythm).

    The pictures are of Ewloe Castle and the surrounding Wepre Gorge in Flintshire, North Wales, within walking distance from where I live. It's in the middle of a densely-forested gorge which changes dramatically in setting and mood through the year.

  8. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    We still regularly play Evelyn's arrangements of these two Welsh tunes with our group, so here are both of them re-recorded as a set. Scores are at the link in my original post in this thread.

    1. The Red Piper's Melody (Digan y pibydd coch) - 0.00
    2. Rhuddlan March (Morfa Rhuddlan) - 1.35
    Arranged by Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni

    These two Welsh airs in waltz time are both from "Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards" by Edward Jones (1794). I am playing them as quartets of two mandolins, mandocello and tenor guitar.

    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin (x2)
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar

  9. Frithjof
  10. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Very nice recording Martin! I especially like The red Piper's Melody, so I also wanted to record it.
    Not having a Mandolin orchestra at my disposal, I used my guitar for the accompaniment.
    To avoid difficult barre chords, I transposed the tune from d minor to e minor.
  11. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Christian -- that sounds great! Your slower tempo is probably more authentic, but we got used to play both tunes as waltzes rather than slow airs as it suits Evelyn's arrangements better.

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