Heartfelt - Karl Jenkins' Lament For The Valley


I remember when I first heard the 'Lament For The Valley' being played in Karl Jenkins' Requiem concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London. At that time, I didn't have a music programme so didn't know its name and as soon as the concert finished, I rushed to get it and spent a while Googling to re-listen to this piece, which wasn't released at that point. I finally get it hear it again now!

'Lament For the Valley' is one of the pieces in Karl Jenkins' new choral album 'Cantata Memoria - For the Children,' which was commissioned to mark 50 years since the Aberfan disaster. The Aberfan disaster was the catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip in Aberfan, a village in South Wales, that killed 116 children and 28 adults on 21 October 1966.

The piece conveys the unfortunate event very well - it is extremely heartelt with the solo violin, consonant orchestra and purifying singing of the youth choir. I absolutely love the virtuosic solo violin passages with the glissandos, portamentos, double stops and fast scalic progressions in D minor. I felt at some points, the notes were fluttering which is enlivening to hear as this sort of effect gives the listener a sense of vulnerability. Particularly, I love the pizzicato on the left hand which plucked the A note whilst the arco bowing continued on the right hand playing swarming high-register notes - thought that was quite an unique feature.

The graceful and emotive playing of the solo violin passages by young violinist Joo Yeon Sir moreover really impresses me. She brings out that mournfulness against the enlightening orchestra and choir very well.

I will definitely recommend anyone to listen to this new work by Karl Jenkins - I have listened to many works by Karl Jenkins before and he is the master of choral works. It is refreshing to finally hear one of his choral works showcasing virtuosic solo violin.

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