Tirlun: for orchestra

Mark Bowden (Composer)

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


The Welsh word tirlun refers to the idea of landscape and also to the relationship people have with their surroundings. When I was approached to compose this work for the Ulster Orchestra I was asked if I could create music in response to the landscape of my native Wales. I thought about the area that I grew up in, where highly industrialised communities existed amongst the beautiful landscapes of the South Wales Valleys creating stark contrasts between nature and industry. At the time I was also reading poetry by T. H. Parry Williams; the following passage provided an initial stimulus for the piece:

Ni byddaf yn siwr pwy ydwyf yn iawn
Mewn iseldiroedd bras a di-fawn

- Mae cochni fy ngwaed ers canrifoedd hir
Yn gwybod fod rhagor rhwng tir a thir.

Ond gwn pwy wyf, os caf innau fryn
A mawndir a phabwyr a chraig a llyn.

I don’t know who I am
On rich lowland lacking peat

- Down the centuries my red corpuscles
Have sensed the differences between land and land.

But I know who I am, if given a hill
Peat-bog and rushes, rock and lake.

T. H. Parry Williams (1887-1975)
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSt Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh
Size8 minutes
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2008

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