are no sleeve notes but plenty of information on the Cass Meurig's
web site, some of which is repeated below.
The Crwth (courtesy of www.crwth.info)
The crwth is a medieval bowed lyre and ranks
as one of wales's most exotic traditional instruments. It has six
g g' c' c d' d'' and a flat bridge and fingerboard. The gut strings
produce a soft purring sound, earthy but tender. The melody is played
of the six strings, with the other two acting as plucked or bowed drones
and the octave doublings producing a constant chordal accompaniment.
The crwth has been played in Wales in one form or another since Roman
times. It was an instrument of the highest status during the middle
ages whose best players could earn a stable income in the courts of the
aristocracy. Crwth players had to undergo years of apprenticeship and
memorise twenty-four complex pieces of music.
During the seventeenth century new instruments such as the fiddle came
to Wales with their modern repertoire of country dance tunes. The crwth
with its range of about an octave was unable to compete, and ceased to
be played around the beginning of the nineteenth century. However the
last ten years have seen a remarkable revival of the ancient instrument
and there are now a number of both professional and amateur players and
several crwth makers.
There are three surviving eighteenth-century crwths which
are kept in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, the Museum
St Fagans, Cardiff, and Warrington Museum. There are also some nineteenth
century reproduction crwths in other european museums.
about the tracks reproduced verbatim from www.cassmeurig.com
dugan y crythor du. blodau’r gogledd the black
crowther’s tune. flowers of the north two tunes at least as old
as the seventeenth century, both preserved in Morris Edward’s manuscript
which he wrote in Anglesey around 1778.
2 y dryw bach. marged fwyn ach ifan. parsal y mesur the little wren.
gentle marged ach ifan. passim measures galliard y dryw bach neu’r
tri phlygiad bys’ and ‘parsal y mesur ‘ are also from
Morris Edward’s manuscript. ‘parsal y mesur’ is probably ‘passim
measures galliard’ which turns up in a list of ‘Lute Lessons’ written
by Philip Powell of Brecon in 1633. ‘Marged fwyn ach Ifan’ was
first printed by John Parry of Rhiwabon in his book Antient British Music
3 sbonc bogel. y crythor pengoch pepper’s black. half hannikin
Both tunes were printed in Playford’s Dancing Master (1651). ‘pepr
is blac’ is listed amongst the tunes possibly associated with the
music for the Christmas festivities at Lleweni, Denbighshire c. 1595.
It was used as a dance tune in the Welsh anterliwtiau and was recorded
by John Thomas in 1752; the Welsh name ‘sbonc bogel’ which
means ‘belly jerk’ may have referred to a dance performed
to the tune.
4 y grimson felfed. y cowper mwyn crimson velvet. the gentle cooper ‘Crimson
velvet’ is a sixteenth-century English ballad tune which became
hugely popular in Wales during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The title ‘ffion felfed’ which means ‘velvet flower’ was
given to it by the nineteenth-century collector Ifor Ceri. ‘Y cowper
mwyn’ was a popular ballad tune in eighteenth-century Wales, also
known as ‘dol y moch’ (‘pig meadow’).
5 ffarwel ned puw ned puw’s farewell A seventeenth-century Welsh
tune particularly popular for singing Christmas carols, which survived
to the present day in the plygain carol tradition. There are at least
nine different tunes called ‘Ffarwel Ned Puw’ (see track
12 for another one!).
6 dydd calan new year’s day A tune written by Cass on New Year’s
Day 2003 in Pwllgloyw.
7 llawenydd pob llu shepherd’s hey A well-known English tune printed
in Playford’s Dancing Master, which somehow acquired the Welsh
title ‘llawenydd pob llu’ (‘everyone’s delight’).
8 hwbad i langoed. tri hanner tôn a leap to llangoed. three half
tunes ‘hwbad i Langoed’ is a triple-time hornpipe recorded
by John Thomas in 1752 and also known as ‘Punchanello's hornpipe,
or the three rusty swords’. The aptly named ‘tri hanner tôn’ was
printed in Edward Jones’s Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh
9 dugan y pibydd coch. consêt gruffudd rowland y crythor the red
piper’s tune. gruffudd rowland the crowther’s tune Two more
tunes recorded in Morris Edward’s 1778 manuscript but dating back
at least to the seventeenth century.
10 hoffedd nia grace. dawns nicky. dawns jac Tunes written by Cass for
her niece Nia Grace and nephews Jack and Nicky, who like dancing.
11 gwêl yr adeilad. y fedle fawr see the building. the great medley ‘Gwêl
yr adeilad’ derives from a probably early seventeenth-century ballad
which begins ‘See the building, / where whilest my mistris lived
in, / was pleasure’s essence’. It came to Wales during the
seventeenth century and remained popular as a carol tune well into the
ninteenth century. Both appear in John Thomas’s 1752 manuscript. ‘Y
fedle fawr’, also known as ‘Aboute the banckes of Elicon’ can
be dated back to the sixteenth century in Scotland and was used for a
ballad called ‘Balet Gymraeg’ by Edmwnd Prys dated around
12 cil y fwyalch. plygiad y bedol fach. ffarwel ned puw ffordd arall
the blackbird’s retreat. little shoe bend. farewell ned puw another
way All three tunes appear in John Thomas’s 1752 manuscript and
probably date back at least to the seventeenth century. ‘Cil y
Fwyalch’ may have been used for the declamation of Welsh poetry;
the other two are dance tunes.