Andrew Lewis’ Fern Hill was featured on BBC Radio 3s ‘Hear and Now’ programme, Saturday 17th February in a special feature on new music from Wales. The programme is available until Monday 19 February at bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09rwjcg (starting around 40m45s)
Lewis’ Fern Hill is a setting of Dylan Thomas’s famous poetic evocation of idyllic childhood memory and lament for its loss; a poem that Thomas himself said was ‘for evening and tears’.
Rather than a conventionally sung vocal line, the piece uses the poet’s own reading of his work as a melodic thread around which an orchestral commentary and elaboration is formed. Thomas was a key figure in the spoken-word recording industry, recording ‘Fern Hill’ along with four other poems and ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ for the launch of the newly formed Caedmon label in New York in 1952. It is this recording which sits at the heart of the work.