In Welsh history, there appears a revered noble woman, wife and mother, Angharad, who lived a long, noteworthy life until 1162. She is singled out for lavish praise by her husband’s biographer as a handsome blonde, gentle, eloquent, generous, discreet, good to her people and charitable to the poor. The name, Angharad, means “much loved.”
Angharad’s Feast was commissioned by parents and friends of Brisbane’s Western Suburbs String Orchestra. It marks WSSO’s 30th Anniversary and the ongoing contribution of founder and director, Andrea Messenger. The premier performance, presented by an alumni ensemble at WSSO’s November 2019 concert, brought pleasurable surprise to Mrs Messenger and concluded the event with great excitement.
Angharad’s Feast depicts a family gathering and meal. Each string section characterises family members across the generations. The first violins are the children, enthusiastic, playful and energetic; the second violins are their parents, gently guiding, cajoling, encouraging; violas play the voices of aunties and uncles while the double basses and cellos represent wise grandparents. It is a warm, well-paced and charming musical experience from the opening folk-style theme, including optional solos. The parts are interesting and enjoyable to play. A thoughtful structure underpins the work with all themes drawn from the first subject. Angharad’s Feast comes together in concert as a fitting celebration of family, music and life.