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BBC NOW/Llewellyn review an insightful Dylan Thomas celebration


Prichard-Jones Hall, Bangor
Daniel Joness Fourth Symphony, composed in memory of the poet, was the centrepiece for this evening of striking and sensitive responses to Thomass work

In the week of Dylan Thomass centenary, Bangor Universitys School of Music has staged one of the most inventive celebrations: their series of concerts, My Friend Dylan Thomas, examined how composers across the musical spectrum have been inspired by the poets words. The question of what his intended collaboration with Stravinsky might have produced remains tantalising. But at the heart of Bangors commemoration was the work of Thomass best friend, the composer Daniel Jones, whose own genius may be seen as an inspiring element in the poets early development.

Following his incidental music for Under Milk Wood, Jones wrote his Fourth Symphony in memory of Thomas. In this performance by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, both the rawness of grief and the essentially lyrical nature of his elegy emerged. Conductor Grant Llewellyn sustained the long span of the work from the opening Maestoso, where a slow lamenting tread periodically breaks into anguished outbursts, through the exuberant and capricious scherzo to the final return to the inescapable fact of death.

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