SM0514: The Drowning of Capel Celyn

The Drowning of Capel Celyn (Boddi Capel Celyn)
for solo harp
Michael Stimpson
Edited Sioned Williams

Cover imageCapel Celyn, a village near Bala in North Wales, was flooded in 1965 to create a reservoir for Liverpool. People were devastated as the water rushed into the valley, drowning the Chapel, Quaker Meeting House, the Post Office, and a number of cottages. There had been considerable protests, including the bombing of a transformer on the site of the dam structure, and in many respects the controversy had wider and longer-term consequences. I wrote this work to mark the 50th anniversary of the flooding in 2015, as well as the 60th birthday of Sioned Williams. The Drowning of Capel Celyn is recorded on the CD "Dylan" by Roderick Williams and Sioned Williams.

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Further information

The Drowning of Capel Celyn (Boddi Capel Celyn)
Michael Stimpson
Edited Sioned Williams

I. First Light (Golau cynta’r wawr)
II. Wheels of Treason (Olwynion brad)
III. Flooding (Llifogi)
IV. Sunken (Suddedig)
V. Farewell (Ffarwél)

The harp solo,‘The ‘Drowning of Capel Celyn’, began life as another commission for Sioned Williams. She approached Michael for a new piece to mark her 60th birthday. Sioned’s grandfather, Welsh Trade Union leader, politician and poet Huw T. Edwards (1892 – 1970) was chairman of the ‘Save Tryweryn’ campaign that fought hard to overturn the decision to flood the Tryweryn and Capel Celyn valleys to form a reservoir for Liverpool. Set in five movements, the work evokes Capel Celyn in first light, the marching of protesters and the violence of the flooding. Speaking about the piece, Michael says “In my mind, gradually the waves subside and the waters soften - bubbles stream, fish glide, and towards the end are the first signs of sadness before a fond farewell.” Speaking about the piece, Sioned said: “Performing Capel Celyn is especially poignant for me. I sat as a young girl on the banks of Capel Celyn with my grandfather, listening to him explaining why Tryweryn was such a tragedy, and what he personally had tried to do to stop the reservoir being built.”


This promotional video clip, using the audio from the CD Dylan was prepared by Stone Records.

The Drowning of Capel Celyn


Library Information

Title: The Drowning of Capel Celyn (Boddi Capel Celyn)
Composer/Arranger: Michael Stimpson (edited Sioned Williams)
Instrumentation: Solo pedal harp
Level: Advanced Level
Duration: 15' 23"
Format: Stapled
Size: A4
Weight: 85gm
ISMN: 979-0-57046-180-6
Our Ref: SM0514
Publisher: Creighton's Collection
Edition/Year: March 2016
Origin: Wales, UK (EU)

Sample page

sample page 1