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Richard Huw Cole

The Blaina Overture was commissioned by Colin Jones and Blaina Brass Band with funds provided by the Arts Council of Wales and was given its first performance by the Cory Band at Nant-y-glo Lesuire Centre on April 30th 2000.

The Blaina Overture is essentially a fantasia on the Hymn tune Ewing. The tune represents the dominance of St. Peter's Church through the last thousand years and forms all the material throughout the piece. The transformations of the tune represent the various dramatic changes that the area has experienced during its recent history. The form of the work charts the gradual destruction of the rural landscape through a period of developing industrialisation, punctuated by periods of economic depression, and its return towards a more rural environment. The final climax is a return of the tune proper with an insistent bass line that represents the optimism of a new future for the area.

This work is dedicated to the memory of Gwyn Jones who in turn dedicated over fifty years his life to Blaina Brass Band.



Blaina Overture

A setting for Baritone and Piano of three of Larkin’s poems.

I. Trees

II. Dublinesque

III. Explosion



Larkin on Death

A three movement test piece based on the old customs of South Wales and the West of England. The customs share the common theme of group celebration and community.

I. Cwrw Bach (pronounced Coo-roo Bäkh and means Small Beer)  captures the atmosphere of a Cwrw Gwadd meeting which were held in the poor rural communities to raise funds through the sale or auction of the small beer. These meetings provided a platform for performing, story-telling, sing-songs and poetic competitions.

II. Mari Lwyd (pronounced Marry Loo-id and means Grey Mary) vividly the arrival of a group carrying a horses skull on a stick to households on a dark winter’s night. A poetic contest ensues after which the group enter and eat and drink with their hosts. The movement if inspired by Vernon Watkin’s poem ‘The Ballad of Mari Lwyd’.

III. Wassail!: A joyful movement based on the ‘Gloucester Wassail’ and the intoxicating effects of the Wassail bowl.

Music for Brass Band. Selected as the 3rd Section National Finals Test Piece 2012

Published by Kirklees Music 2012.

Three Ancient Customs

Other Works

Other works

Incidental Music to Pizzaro and the United Irishmen – Orchestra

Cromlech - Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra

I Dreamed My Genesis - Baritone Voice and Orchestra

Mari Lywd - Chamber Orchestra

The Force That Through the Green Fuse - Baritone Voice and Tombone Quartet

God, Death and Triangles - Brass Quintet

Structura Allegra - String Quartet

The Death of Saul - Chamber Ensemble

The Ballad of Mari Lwyd - Chamber Ensemble

Especially When the October Wind - Soprano, Flute Trio and Percussion

Featured Work