Posted on

Safeguarding PolicyPolisi Diogelu

Definitions

Vulnerable Adult

1)     In these Regulations “vulnerable adult” means a person aged 18 or over who is receiving services of a type listed in paragraph (2) below and in consequence of a condition of a type listed in paragraph (3) below has a disability of a type listed in paragraph (4) below.

2)     The services are—

  1. accommodation and nursing or personal care in a care home;
  2. personal care or nursing or support to live independently in his own home;
  3. any services provided by an independent hospital, independent clinic, independent medical agency or National Health Service body;
  4. social care services; or
  5. any services provided in an establishment catering for a person with learning difficulties.

3)     The conditions are—

  1. a learning or physical disability;
  2. a physical or mental illness, chronic or otherwise, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs; or
  3. a reduction in physical or mental capacity.

4)     The disabilities are—

  1. a dependency upon others in the performance of, or a requirement for assistance in the performance of, basic physical functions;
  2. severe impairment in the ability to communicate with others; or
  3. impairment in a person’s ability to protect himself from assault, abuse or neglect
  4. is someone aged 18 or over:

The Police Act 1997 (Enhanced Criminal Record Certificates)
 (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) Regulations 2002

For the purpose of this document a Vulnerable Individual is

  • a child,
  • a young person or
  • a Vulnerable Adult.

Ensemble Cymru’s activities occasionally involve Vulnerable Individuals.  

 Activities include

  • activities in education and community settings
  • work experience placements for young people
  • Coaching young performers
  • Performances in Nursing / Residential Homes
  • Workshops in Day Centre
  • Every individual, regardless of age, ability, gender, ability, ethnic culture and creed has at all times and in all situations, a right to feel safe and protected from any situation or practice that puts them at risk of physical or psychological harm.
  • the welfare of the Vulnerable Individual is of paramount consideration 
  • Ensemble Cymru recognises its responsibility to report concerns that a Vulnerable Individual may be, or may be at risk of, suffering significant harm.

Principles

Ensemble Cymru’s Board of Trustees will act upon guidance received from the NSPCC, Voluntary Arts Wales, County Councils, Mantell Gwynedd, Age Cymru and such organisations that have expertise in issues of safeguarding the welfare of Vulnerable Individuals.

About The Procedures

Through the implementation of its procedures, Ensemble Cymru aims to create an environment whereby Vulnerable Individuals are safe. 

Procedures have been set out for Ensemble Cymru’s 

  • Volunteers Trustees 
  • Employees
  • Service Providers

Employees

Compliance with this policy is mandatory for employees of Ensemble Cymru.  Ensemble Cymru will regard non-compliance with these procedures by employees as a serious disciplinary matter.

Volunteers and Trustees

Compliance with this policy is mandatory for a volunteer or a trustee if they are to be directly involved or come into contact with a Vulnerable Individual in Ensemble Cymru’s name.

Service Providers

Compliance with this policy will be an explicit requirement as part of any contract for services which requires a a service provider – e.g. a performer – to come into direct contact with a Vulnerable Individual. Ensemble Cymru reserves the right to terminate any contract immediately if compelling evidence of non-compliance with this policy by a service provider is found to have occurred.

Description of Responsibilities

Becoming Concerned…

Trustees, employees, volunteers, service providers to the Ensemble may become concerned that a Vulnerable Individual could be suffering abuse if

  • A Vulnerable Individual tells you.
  • An individual conveys his/her concern to you or relates being told by a Vulnerable Individual.
  • A Vulnerable Individual shows signs of physical injury that does not seem to have a satisfactory explanation.
  • The behaviour of a Vulnerable Individual gives cause for concern.
  • You feel disquiet whilst observing the behaviour of a member of the organisation or another worker or volunteer, towards a Vulnerable Individual.
  • You may observe one child / young person / vulnerable adult abusing another. 

Acting on your concerns…

It is not your responsibility to decide whether a Vulnerable Individual has been abused or not.  Your information may be one piece of a larger jigsaw. You should discuss your concerns immediately with the Ensemble Cymru’s Safeguarding Monitor.

Ensemble Cymru’s Safeguarding Monitor is Mr. Wyn Thomas (appointed January 2006) Telephone Number Home – 01248 351347 Work –  01248 382 182

Volunteers, Trustees and Employees

Under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 it is now a criminal offence if an employer does not take sufficient steps to check an employee working with children, either on a voluntary or paid basis. 

Recruitment & Selection

Ensemble Cymru will address the recruitment and selection of volunteers including trustees and paid employees by

  • Checking that all adults with access to children / young people / vulnerable adults are vetted appropriate to the degree to which they have access to children.  Options include checking with the Criminal Records Bureau; (See Ensemble Cymru Vetting Checklist)
  • Ensuring that every new volunteer, trustee or employee completes a Personal Profile Form and Declaration form.  The declaration form will be confidential, will ask for details of any criminal record and request permission for checks; (See Personal Profile Form)
  • Requesting previous addresses on volunteer/ job application forms;
  • Asking for the names of two referees who will be prepared to provide a written reference.  Ensemble Cymru will follow up each reference with a telephone call or personal contact during which we will discuss the applicant’s suitability to work with children. A record of this discussion will be kept in the applicant’s file.  This will be confidential so as to protect the applicant’s privacy;

 

Interviewing prospective volunteers and employees; 

Ensemble Cymru will

  • Note at interview all previous experience of volunteers and employees in working with children Vulnerable Individuals.
  • Require that applicants bring documentary evidence of identity (driving licence etc.) to interview and the original certificates of any qualifications claimed.  Copies will be placed on file; 
  • Require all volunteers and employees to undergo a probationary period of at least 3 months;
  • Appoint a senior member of the organisation to be responsible for all Safeguarding issues.  (See Safeguarding Monitor)

Service Providers

Ensemble Cymru engages the services of a range of service providers among them performers, composers, photographers, technicians, workshop leaders, coaches & consultants.  Where a service provider is working with Vulnerable Individuals Ensemble Cymru will make it a condition of service to comply with its Safeguarding Guidelines. 

In the event that a service provider is required to have a substantial degree of access to Vulnerable Individuals then they will be subject to the vetting procedures as for employees and volunteers.

Ensemble Cymru will ensure that service providers who have not been vetted are not placed in a position where they will have direct access to Vulnerable Individuals.

Monitor for Safeguarding

The Monitor for Safeguarding is responsible for:

  • Regularly reviewing Ensemble Cymru’s policy making sure it is clearly displayed
  • Ensuring that Ensemble Cymru volunteers, employees and service providers are aware of the policy and that they have read and understood it.
  • Receiving information from employees, volunteers, children, parents and carers who have Safeguarding concerns and recording them.
  • Assessing the information promptly and carefully, clarifying or obtaining more information about the matter as appropriate
  • Consulting initially with appropriate statutory authorities such as the local social services office or the NSPCC Cymru Help line, to test out any doubts or uncertainty about the concerns as soon as possible
  • Making a formal referral to social services or the police immediately.  

It is NOT the role of the organisation to decide whether a Vulnerable Individual has been the victim of assault, abuse or neglect or not.  This is the task of the social services and or police who have the legal responsibility under legislation such as the Children Act 1989 to investigate concerns.  However, it is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that concerns are shared and appropriate action is taken.

Monitor for Safeguarding for Ensemble Cymru is

Mr. Wyn Thomas (appointed January 2006) WT@ensemblecymru.co.uk [Other contact Information to be agreed with Wyn]

Safeguarding Guidelines

(To be displayed)

Employees, trustees, volunteers and service providers to Ensemble Cymru must: 

  • Acknowledge the age group they work with;
  • Never trivialise or exaggerate issues of assault, abuse or neglect;
  • If a Vulnerable Individualtells you they are being hurt/abused…
    • Allow them time to speak. 
    • Do not interrupt or make suggestions to them which could imply or be perceived as being an investigation
    • Reassure them that you are glad they have have told you what has happened and that it was right to tell
    • Do not interrogate or question other than to clarify your understanding. If the matter is to be investigated further it will be so done by trained professionals.
    • No matter how well you know the individual, spare them having to repeat themselves over and over. Apart from anything else, they may begin to think that you don’t believe them;
    • Be honest, tell the Vulnerable Individual that you cannot keep it a secret, and that you have to talk to someone else who is in a position to help
    • Remain calm, no matter how difficult it is to listen to the Vulnerable Individual.  Think of how hard it must be to say it. Some things are very difficult to talk about.  You have been chosen because they feel that they can talk to you. If you show anger, disgust, disbelief then they may stop talking for fear of upsetting you further or because they feel that your negative feelings are being directed towards them;
    • Listen to them – REALLY LISTEN – take what they say seriously. Tell them that they have done the right thing by telling you;
    •  As soon as practical write down everything the Vulnerable Individual told you.  However remember what you have been told is confidential and your notes recording the conversation should be kept in a secure place. 

The only person you should be discussing it with is with the Ensemble’s Safeguarding Monitor.

Safeguarding Monitor: Mr. Wyn Thomas – WT@ensemblecymru.co.uk [Contact Information to be discussed with Wyn Thomas]

 

 

Contracts

As part of your terms of contract with Ensemble Cymru you are required to comply with the following guidelines when dealing with Vulnerable Individuals.  

  • Treat everyone with respect
  • Provide an example you would wish others to follow
  • Be aware that someone else might misinterpret your actions even if they are well intentioned.
  • Respect the right of a child / young person / vulnerable adult to personal privacy
  • Encourage children / young people / vulnerable adults to respect and care for others
  • Take action to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour.  This usually means reporting it to a carer or teacher 
  • Remember to REFER not INVESTIGATE any suspicions or allegations about abuse.  Please remember it is a legal requirement to report suspicions or allegations about abuse.
  • Share your concerns and seek support ONLY from Ensemble Cymru’s Safeguarding Monitor whose name and contact details are listed below. 
  • Do not allow yourself to be left with children / young people / vulnerable adults. A carer / teacher should be present and supporting the activity at all times.  

 

Safeguarding Monitor: Mr. Wyn Thomas – WT@ensemblecymru.co.uk

Contacts

Children and Young People: www.nspcc.org.uk | Text 88858 National Help line (as of Jan 2012)0808 800 5000  help@nspcc.org.uk

Vulnerable Adults:  SSIA | www.ssiacymru.org.uk/pova www.elderabuse.org.uk/In Safe Hands Implementing Adult Protection Procedures In Wales July 2000

Please do not be afraid to make contact with these people for advice and guidance – remember – you may not be the only one to have concerns. You must also remember that all referrals are discussed thoroughly by the statutory agencies before any action is taken. Your concerns will be genuine and treated as such by them.

 

 

 

 

Posted on

Equal Opportunities PolicyPolisi Cyfleoedd Cyfartal

Ensemble Cymru is committed to equal opportunities policy and practice and will ensure that all employees and service users, both actual and potential, are treated equally and as individuals regardless of age, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, marital or parental status, political belief, race, religion or sexual orientation.

In implementing this policy Ensemble Cymru will take account of the relevant legislation

 

Public and Service Users

Ensemble Cymru aims to make its services accessible to as wide a range of the public as possible and in order to achieve this will take steps to remove barriers which prevent potential audience, participants, members and users from having equal access to the organisation’s activities.
These steps will include:

  • ensuring that activities take place in venues and premises which are accessible to disabled people,
  • providing facilities for disabled people to enable them to participate fully in activities
  • ensuring that the design of publicity material takes account of the needs of disabled people both in terms of print, format, information on access encouraging and enabling people from underrepresented groups to attend and participate.

 

Mae Ensemble Cymru wedi ymrwymo i bolisi ac arferion cyfleoedd cyfartal a bydd yn sicrhau bod yr holl weithwyr a defnyddwyr gwasanaeth, gwirioneddol neu bosibl, yn cael eu trin yn cyfartal fel unigolion waeth beth fo’u hoedran, hanabledd, tarddiad ethnig neu genedlaethol, rhyw, statws priodasol neu rhiant, cred wleidyddol, hil, crefydd neu cyfeiriadedd rhywiol.

Wrth weithredu’r polisi hwn, bydd Ensemble Cymru yn ystyried y ddeddfwriaeth berthnasol

 

Cyhoedd a Defnyddwyr Gwasanaeth

Mae Ensemble Cymru yn anelu at wneud ei wasanaethau’n hygyrch i amrywiaeth mor eang o’r cyhoedd ag y bo modd ac er mwyn cyflawni hyn, bydd yn cymryd camau i ddileu rhwystrau a allai atal cynulledifaoedd, cyfranogwyr, aelodau a defnyddwyr rhag cael mynediad cyfartal i weithgareddau’r sefydliad.

Bydd y camau hyn yn cynnwys:

  • sicrhau bod gweithgareddau’n cael eu cynnal mewn lleoliadau ac adeiladau sy’n hygyrch i bobl anabl,
  • darparu cyfleusterau ar gyfer pobl anabl i’w galluogi i gymryd rhan yn llawn mewn gweithgareddau
  • sicrhau bod y dyluniad o ddeunydd cyhoeddusrwydd yn ystyried anghenion pobl anabl o ran print, fformat, gwybodaeth ynghylch mynediad gan annog a galluogi pobl o grwpiau a dangynrychiolir i fynychu a cymryd rhan.

 

Posted on

Collette’s Blog (Bangor University Student)Blog Collette (Myfyrwraig Prifysgol Bangor)

Hi everybody!

My name is Collette Astley-Jones and I am currently a Masters student in Music at Bangor University. I’m also working alongside Ensemble Cymru as part of my ATM funding. I am a French Horn player and Chairperson of the Bangor University Music Society and I love every aspect of musical life at Bangor! 🙂

On Wednesday 3rd October, Ensemble Cymru’s Reed Riot Concert went to Pwllheli and Nefyn where it was a great hit! Everyone who attended seemed to leave the concert beaming, after having been introduced to three fantastic instruments; the oboe, the clarinet and the bassoon. The audience seemed to particularly appreciate the brief explanations before each piece giving them an insight into the way the piece was composed and is played. For example, the last movement of Walthew’s Triolet in Eb conjures up the image of pixies running around the forest, whilst Lutoslawski’s work incorporated many elements of tricky contrapuntal studies into his Trio. My particular favourite works were the wistful second movement of the Walthew , and the first movement of Françaix’s Divertimento which had many difficult passages for the players incorporated into it.

Posted on

Composer’s CornerCornel Cyfansoddwr

Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 – Janáček, Leoš 

Being unfamiliar with the piano works of Janáček and being a pianist myself, I was eager to experience this piece. I listened to piano sonata 1.X.905, (known as From the Street for ease more than much else) for the first time this morning, and was instantly convinced that I shouldn’t have started the day with it. The piece is heart wrenchingly sad, albeit in a beautiful way. It is based around the rather brutal death of a young man who was supporting a university in Brno during a rise of nationalism and socialism. Even though it was composed immediately around the incident (1905) the piece wasn’t performed until 1924, Janáček’s 70th birthday. 

From the Street is in two movements but originally contained a funeral march as a third. Janáček himself however destroyed this movement, perhaps in an attempt to stop his listeners from hanging themselves. From the Street speaks directly from an oppressive and distressing time of Europe’s history and is a piece that should be experience by all despite the delightfully gloomy ambiance it creates. Ensemble Cymru will be performing the piece on the 18th of October in Powis Hall, Bangor University as part of their Fairy Tales and Skittles concert. 

Janáček includes this inscription with the piece:

“The white marble of the steps of the Besednì Dùm in Brno [Picture Below]. The ordinary labourer František Pavlík falls, stained with blood. He came merely to champion higher learning and has been slain by cruel murderers” 

File: Meeting House in Brně.JPG 

 

Posted on

The Reed TrioY Triawd Brwyn

 

The Reed Trio

The Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon ensemble is often referred to as Trio d’Anche or Reed Trio.  As the name suggests each instrument uses the reed to make a sound.  The combination of instruments came to the fore in the 20th century thanks mainly to our French colleagues and composers including Milhaud, Francaix, Auric and Ibert.

Reeds

Humidity, temperature, enzymes, air pressure, acoustic all play their part in ensuring that a reed is never the same wherever you are….. we can all get a bit twitchy during a performance or rehearsal.  

 

Knives are an important part of an oboist’s or bassoonist’s kit. Knives are used to make microscopic changes to the dimensions of the reed to counter the effects of the above.  That’s why, though fun to do,  it isn’t necessarily the wisest move to upset oboists and bassoonists in rehearsal 🙂 

 

Reed Knife in Action

If bassoonists do get twitchy about reeds I’ve never noticed it – being the bass section they tend to be little more laid back in any event. Oboists are quite often to be seen working with pieces of string and wire and shaving minute amounts of cane from their reeds.  If you spot coloured bits of string tied to radiators, door handles, table legs it is quite possible that a lesser spotted oboist or bassoonist has passed by at some time or other.

 

 

Clarinet Reeds with plastic cases

Clarinettists tend not to make their own reeds.  However this means we can happily go through several boxes of reeds looking for THE reed.  You can quite often find a clarinettist by following a little trail of discarded reeds & plastic reed containers.

and finally…

For those who like that sort of thing there’s a brilliant wikipedia article about all things bacterial to do with reeds….(not for the faint of heart).

Y Triawd Brwynen

Enw i gyfuniad obo clarinet a baswn yw Trio d’Anche neu Triawd Brwyn.  Fel mae’r enw yn ei awgrymu mae’r offerynnau ei gyd yn defnyddio brwyn i greu’r sain.  Cafodd ran fwya o’r gerddoriaeth ei chyfansoddi yn Ffrainc yn yr ugeinfed canrif gan gyfansoddwyr megis Milhaud, Francaix, Auric ac Ibert.

Brwyn

Yn anffodus dydy brwynen byth yn gweithio yn yr un modd o gyngerdd i gyngerdd.  Brwyn yw sail pryder mwyaf mewn unrhyw gyngerdd i chwaraewr offeryn brwynen. Mae cyllell yn declyn pwysig i oböydd neu faswnydd.   Gyda chyllell arbennig gall y cerddor wneud newidiadau microsgopaidd i ddimensiynau’r brwynen er mwyn ei addasu yn sgil newidiadau yn lleithder, tymheredd, gwasgedd aer, acwsteg y neuadd ac hyd yn oed effaith ensymau ar ddeunydd y brwynen. Mae’n bwysig cofio dydy o ddim yn ddoeth o beth i wneud obowyr na baswnwyr yn flin yn ystod ymarfer (er ei fod yn hwyl i’w wneud )  🙂   Reed Knife in Action Dydy baswnwyr ddim yn ymddangos fel mae’n nhw’n poeni am eu brwyn gymaint ag obowyr – fel yr adran bas mae ymlacio yn dod yn naturiol iddyn nhw.  Mae oböwyr ar y llaw arall yn ymddangos fel eu bod nhw o hyd yn addasu neu yn cywiro eu brwyn gyda darnau o llinyn, weiren, cyllell ayb.  Gyda llaw os wyt ti erioed wedi gweld llinyn wedi’i glymu i rheiddiadur, handlen ddrws, coes fwrdd mae’n debyg mai oböydd neu baswnydd sydd wedi bod wrthi yn gweithio ar eu brwyn.           Clarinet Reeds with plastic cases  Dydy clarinetwyr ddim yn dueddol o greu brwyn eu hunain (gormod o waith mewn gwirionedd).  O ganlyiad rydym yn aml yn gwibio trwy nifer mawr o focsys o frwyn gan daflu rhan fwyaf i’r bin ar ein cenhadaeth i ddarganfod Y frwynen perffaith (er eu bod nhw ddim o reidrwydd yn helpu rhywun chwarae’r nodau cywir!).  Gall rywun ddod o hyd i glarinetydd yn aml iawn trwy ddilyn trywydd o frwyn a’u cynhwysyddion plastig.

Bacteria a Brwyn!

Os wyt ti’n hoffi math yma o beth dyma erthygl gwych ar wikepedia,

Posted on

Taliesin’s Tale The MovieHanes Taliesin y Ffilm

Last week Rosalind and I met up with film-maker Paul Higginson to create a video of Chris Painter’s Hanes Taliesin.

Here are a few snap-shots……..mystery prize to the first person who guesses all correct locations!!!

Location 1

 

Location 2
Location 3
Location 4

I will be seeing the first edit tomorrow….watch this space…..

 

Wythnos diwethaf bu Rosalind a minnau yn gweithio gyda’r crewr ffilm, Paul Higginson, i greu fideo o Hanes Taliesin Chris Painter.

Dyma rai lluniau……gwobr gudd i’r cyntaf a all ddyfalu’r holl leoliadau yn gywir!!!

Lleoliad 1
Lleoliad 2
Lleoliad 3
Lleoliad 4

Byddaf yn gweld y golygiad cyntaf yfory….Hwyl am y tro…

 

Posted on

Harlequin/Living Waters tour countdown….Mae Taith Harlecwin/Dyfroedd Byw yn nesau

Here’s a very short update….

Yesterday was a busy one…I travelled to Cardiff to play in a lunchtime concert with Peryn (clarinet) and Harvey(piano) at Beulah URC Church Rhiwbina. It was great to see so many people in the audience – and I really hope to see some of them at the weekend. The concert was well received. Peryn and Harvey played some old classics as well as some lesser know works for clarinet and piano. I joined in for the finale to play Ponchielli’s Il Convegno…..Italian fun and acrobatics for two clarinets and piano!

I returned home to Bangor today to celebrate the Centenary of the birth of my Taid, the Poet, Griffith John Roberts with the children of Ysgol Chwilog. Taid grew up in Eifionydd and was a pupil at Ysgol Chwilog. The kids put on a great show! Thanks to the children, the teachers and to Twm Morus for all their hard work.

Now I am packing to return toSouth Walestomorrow. I’ll get an early train to Newport, and then meet Rosalind for a rehearsal at the Riverfront. I’ll then be rehearsing the main concert repertoire with Ensemble Cymru in preparation for the big night on Saturday!

This past week has involved a lot of practice and preparations – including spending a lot of time creating Rosalind and my Harlequin outfits! Here’s a peek…..

 

Intrigued….then come along this weekend! Hope to see you there!

Yr hanes hyd yn hyn….yn fyr…..

Roedd ddoe yn ddiwrnod prysur. Teithiais i Gaerdydd i berfformio mewn cyngerdd amser cinio gyda Peryn a Harvey, yn Eglwys RHiwbina. Roedd hi’n braf gweld cymaint yn y gynulleidfa – ac rwy’n gobeithio’n fawr gweld rhai ohonynt dros y penwythnos. Chwaraeodd Peryn a Harvey nifer o weithiau – rhai adnabyddus, a rhai mwy anghyffredin – ond rhybeth at ddant bawb. Fe wnes i ymuno a nhw i berfformio Il Convengno gan Ponchielli….dipyn o hwyl Eidalaidd ar gyfer dau glarinet a phiano! Dychwelais adre i’r Gogledd i ddathlu Camlwyddiant geni fy nhaid, y bardd Griffith John Roberts gyda plant ysgol Chwilog. Brodor o Eifionydd oedd Taid ac roedd o’n ddisgybl yn ysgol Chwilog. Fe roddodd y plant sioe arbennig i ni. Diolch i’r plant, yr athrawon ac i Twm Morus am eu gwaith caled. Yfory, mi fyddaf yn dychwelyd i Dde Cymru. Byddaf yn dal y tren buan i Gasnewydd, ac yno’n cayfarfod efo Rosalind am ymarfer. Wedyn byddaf yn ymarfer repertoire y prif gyngerdd gydag Ensemble Cymru yn barod at y noson fawr. Mae’r wythnos diwethaf wedi bod yn hynodbrysur….ymarfer a pharatoi…gan gynnwys paratoi gwisgoedd! Dyma gip  olwg!   .   Am weld mwy….dewch i’n gweld dros y penwythnos!

Posted on

Working with Ensemble Cymru, by composer Gareth GlynGweithio gydag Ensemble Cymru, gan y cyfansoddwr, Gareth Glyn

I’ve been chosen as composer on many occasions over the years by Ensemble Cymru, an organisation that does more than any other, I believe, to raise the profile of chamber music in Wales, so I was delighted to be invited to compose a piece for their first National Tour.  Peryn Clement-Evans gave me the freedom to choose which combination of instruments I’d like to write for, from the 17 taking part in the concerts – and this was rather like putting a child in a toyshop and giving it a free unlimited choice, so I said I’d write for 16 of them.  The other, by the way, was the piano, an instrument I’ve never been very good at writing for.

Anyhow, the combination that was left is a most unusual one – after all, these were the instruments needed, in various numbers, to perform the other pieces in the programme, so there were three horns but just one trumpet, two oboes but a single flute and so on. So I could justly claim that this is the only piece for these exact 16 instruments in existence! Peryn had a great idea regarding a theme for the work.  He doesn’t insist, just suggest, but this was an inspired suggestion – basing the various movements on the venues of the different concerts, more particularly the fact that they are all near bodies of water of some kind – a river, the sea or whatever. It was a short and easy step from there to decide to base the movements on Welsh legends associated with those ‘living waters’, and you can read more in another part of this website about how I set about doing this.

After completing the composing work (and I have to admit to having suffered, for a time, that debilitating condition known as ‘composer’s block’, meaning that no ideas came to mind, but that eventually disappeared, thank goodness), and sending the music to the players, the next step was to be present at the first full rehearsal, to make sure there were no insuperable difficulties with the music, and to make any necessary suggestions as to tempo, interpretation and so on. This was to take place in the Amadeus Centre in London (there are images and a video of the rehearsal elsewhere on this website), and I was looking forward to a pleasurable, relaxed train journey, direct from Bangor to London.

Alas... on that exact day, 3 February 2012, a goods locomotive chose to derail in Bletchley, causing the worst snarl-up on the railway system for years – no passengers able to get to London via Milton Keynes, hundreds of thousands of travellers flocking to catch any train that could get them closer to their destination. I’ve now forgotten how many different trains I was put on, from stations that had never before been used on a journey to London – only that I was standing, packed in with hundreds of other unfortunates, in a Chilterns Line train for an hour and a half to Marylebone Station.

Goodness knows how I got to the rehearsal at all – but, as it turned out, they’d only just started on my piece, sight-reading it through, and already it sounded mightily good.

When writing the piece, I didn’t know how the ensemble would be placed on stage – after all, 16 instrumentalists is close to being a small orchestra, and there wouldn’t be room for all of them in a semicircle in the manner of, say, a sextet.  But Ensemble Cymru had come up with an elegant solution – by having many of the players standing, meaning that all would be seen and heard effectively.

My biggest mistake in this regard was to write the other instruments’ cues in the trumpeter’s part – and he was placed standing at the back! – so the others wouldn’t have been able to see him ‘conducting’.  I need to point out here that Ensemble Cymru has always operated without a conductor, which means that all the players have to know exactly what everybody else is doing, and base their performances on total co-operation – something that needs a great deal of experience and confidence.

The rehearsal went well – more or less the only discussions had to do with tempo, and agreement was reached quite quickly. The ensemble’s Artist in Association, the renowned cellist Paul Watkins, was present, and was complimentary about the piece, which was nice.

Before long now the ensemble will be meeting again o rehearse the piece once more and perform it in Newport. I intend to be there, and whatever the audience’s reaction to the work will be, I can confidently state that it wouldn’t be possible to find a more committed, talented – and friendly – group to perform the piece. Thanks, Ensemble Cymru!

Rydw i wedi cael fy newis fel cyfansoddwr ar sawl achlysur ers blynyddoedd gan Ensemble Cymru –  mudiad sy’n gwneud mwy na neb arall, dybiwn i, i godi ymwybyddiaeth o gerddoriaeth siambr yng Nghymru – felly roeddwn i wrth fy modd yn cael fy newis i gyfansoddi darn ar gyfer eu Taith Genedlaethol gynta nhw. Mi roddodd Peryn Clement-Evans y hawl i mi ddewis pa gyfuniad o offerynnau yr hoffwn sgwennu iddyn nhw, o’r cyfanswm o 17 fyddai’n cymryd rhan – ond roedd hyn braidd fel rhoi plentyn mewn siop deganau a dweud y câi o gynifer ag a fynnai o ohonyn nhw am ddim, felly mi ddwedais yr hoffwn sgwennu darn ar gyfer 16 ohonyn nhw.  Y llall, gyda llaw, oedd y piano, a dydw i erioed wedi bod yn dda iawn am sgwennu i biano. Pa run bynnag, roedd y cyfuniad oedd ar ôl yn un anarferol tu hwnt – wedi’r cwbwl, dyma oedd yr offerynnau yr oedd eu hangen, mewn gwahanol niferoedd a chyfuniadau, i berfformio darnau eraill y rhaglen, felly roedd na dri chorn ond dim ond un utgorn, dau obo ond dim ond un ffliwt ac yn y blaen.  Felly mi fedrwn honni’n weddol hyderus mai dyma’r unig ddarn ar gyfer yr union 16 offeryn hyn sy’n bod! Roedd gan Peryn syniad ardderchog ar gyfer thema i’r gwaith. Dydy o ddim yn gorfodi, dim ond awgrymu, ond roedd hwn yn awgrym ysbrydoledig – sef seilio’r gwahanol symudiadau ar leoliadau y gwahanol gyngherddau, ac yn benodol y ffaith eu bod nhw i gyd yn ymyl dŵr o ryw fath – llyn, afon, môr neu beth bynnag. Cam byr a hawdd o hynny oedd penderfynu seilio’r symudiadau ar chwedlau o Gymru oedd â chysylltiad â’r ‘dyfroedd byw’ rheini, ac mi fedrwch chi ddarllen mwy mewn rhan arall o’r wefan yma sut yr es i wrthi i gyflawni hyn. Ar ôl gorffen y gwaith cyfansoddi (ac mae’n rhaid i mi ddweud mod i, am ryw gyfnod, wedi dioddef yr aflwydd ofnadwy hwnnw ‘bloc y cyfansoddwr’, oedd yn golygu nad oedd unrhyw syniadau yn dod i’r meddwl, ond diflannu wnaeth hwnnw, diolch i’r drefn), a danfon y gerddoriaeth i’r offerynnwyr, y cam nesa oedd bod yn bresennol yn yr ymarfer llawn cynta, i sicrhau nad oedd na anawsterau gyda’r gerddoriaeth, ac i gynnig ambell awgrym o ran tempo, dehongliad ac ati.  Roedd hwn i ddigwydd yng Nghanolfan Amadeus yn Llundain (mae na luniau, a fideo,  o’r rihyrsal mewn rhan arall o’r wefan hon), a roeddwn i’n edrych ymlaen at y daith bleserus, ymlaciedig, yr holl ffordd o Fangor i Lundain mewn trên, taith o ryw deirawr. Ond… ar yr union ddiwrnod hwnnw, 3 Chwefror 2012, dewisodd injan trên nwyddau ddod oddiar y cledrau yn Bletchley, gan achosi’r dagfa waetha ar y rhwydwaith rheilffyrdd ers blynyddoedd – dim trenau yn cyrraedd Euston o gyferiad Milton Keynes, cannoedd o filoedd o deithwyr yn tyrru ac yn heidio i ddal unrhyw drên a allai fynd â nhw y nes at eu cyrchfan.  Erbyn hyn dydw i ddim yn cofio sawl trên y es i arnyn nhw, o orsafoedd nad oedd erioed o’r blaen wedi bod yn rhan o daith i Lundain – dim ond mod i wedi cael fy ngwasgu ar fy sefyll ynghanol cannoedd o bobol mewn trên ‘Chilterns’ am awr a hanner o daith i orsaf Marylebone. Wn i ddim sut ar wyneb y ddaear y cyrhaeddais yr ymarfer o gwbwl – ond, diolch byth, newydd ddechrau mynd drwy’r darn oedden nhw, yn darllen y gerddoriaeth ar yr olwg gynta ac eisoes yn swnio’n drawiadol iawn. Wrth sgwennu’r darn, doeddwn i ddim yn gwybod sut y byddai’r ensemble yn cael eu gosod ar lwyfan – wedi’r cyfan, mae 16 o offerynnwyr yn agos at fod yn gerddorfa fach, a fydde na ddim lle iddyn nhw i gyd mewn hanner cylch, fel y byddai ar gyfer darn i, dyweder, chwechawd. Ond roedd Ensemble Cymru wedi dyfeisio dull effeithiol iawn o wneud hyn, sef bod y mwyafrif yn sefyll, oedd yn golygu y bydden nhw i gyd yn cael eu gweld a’u clywed yn iawn. Fy unig gamgymeriad yn hyn o beth oedd fy mod i wedi rhoi nodau bach yr offerynnau eraill (y “cues”) yn rhan yr utgorn – a roedd o’n sefyll yn y cefn! – felly fyddai’r lleill ddim wedi medru ei weld o’n ‘arwain’. Mi ddylwn nodi yn y fan hyn bod Ensemble Cymru yn gweithredu heb arweinydd ar bob achlysur, sy’n golygu bod yn rhaid i bawb wybod be mae pob aelod yn ei wneud, a saernio’u perfformiad ar gydweithio llwyr – ac mae angen cryn brofiad a hyder i wneud hyn. Mi aeth yr ymarfer yn dda – yr unig bynciau trafod o bwys oedd cyflymder, neu dempo, ambell adran, a buan y cytunwyd ar hynny. Roedd offerynnwr gwadd arbennig yr ensemble, yr Artist Cyswllt Paul Watkins, yn bresennol, a roedd o’n canmol y darn, sy’n beth braf! Cyn bo hir mi fydd yr ensemble yn cyfarfod eto i ymarfer y gwaith unwaith eto a’i berfformio gynta yng Nghasnewydd.  Dwi’n bwriadu bod yn bresennol, a beth bynnag fydd ymateb y gynulleidfa i’r gwaith, mi fedra i ddweud yn hyderus na fyddai modd cael criw mor ymroddedig, talentog – a chyfeillgar – i berfformio’r darn.