TMF Exclusive: Hollywood star Rhys Ifans to narrate Cian Ciarán's debut orchestral performance

TMF are proud to exclusively announce actor and musician Rhys Ifans, best known for his roles in 'The Amazing Spiderman', 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' and 'Snowden', will narrate the debut orchestral performance written by Super Furry Animals’ Cian Ciarán. Performed by the 84-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales and premiering at BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff on Friday 4 November 2016, Ifans's narration to Rhys & Meinir brings his seasoned dramatic delivery to the traditional Welsh folk tale of love and loss.

Tickets for the world premiere are available through the BBC National Orchestra of Wales Audience Line on 0800 052 1812 and online. A second date has also been added to be performed at Pontio, Bangor on Saturday 19 November 2016. The performance will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Cymru.

In the meantime, you can whet your appetite for this fantastic performance by listening to a clip of Ifans's narration below, before reading further details on this enthralling collaboration.

Rhys & Meinir sees the Furries keyboard player, vocalist, producer and solo artist cut his classical teeth to tell an ancient story of heartbreak in rural North Wales, using sublime instrumentation and spoken word. Ciarán surprised fans with the unexpected move into classical music as the Furries continue to tour to the end of 2016.

Adding a further layer of excitement and intrigue to the project, Ciarán confirms that Ifans (a former lead singer with the Furries and offshoot, The Peth) has recorded the Welsh-language narration for the production. As well as a voice of Ifans’ pedigree, Ciarán also welcomes the conductor, Alastair King to the fold, who brings credits as impressive as Pirates of the Caribbean and Doctor Who to the production.

Ciarán says: “The story of Rhys & Meinir was told to me as a young boy, by my father in the village of Nant Gwrtheyrn, where it is set, so has deep resonance with me. That Rhys Ifans and Alastair King have joined me and BBC National Orchestra of Wales to tell the story will do the story added justice. It’s a double tragedy and there can be no happy ending, but it’s a part of Welsh storytelling and culture, a language and identity, which in turn continues to add to the rich diversity of the world around us.”

Ifans added: “This is a story told with ingenuity and passion in each word and every note, it has the perfect blend of contrasts, of happy and sad and sweet and sour. The story is shocking, a real heartbreaker, but there’s beauty in the prose and wonder in the music.”

Almost 20 years in the making, the score features many ideas documented by Ciarán while on the road, in sound checks and in studio breaks, while with Super Furry Animals or working on solo projects, developed further over the last five years as a work completed for the orchestra to perform. An evocative Welsh-language version of the story, the spoken word element is written by poet Gruffudd Antur (Eisteddfod Chair of the Bard 2012).

The fable follows Rhys and Meinir, destined to find true love in each other, living in the remote village of Nant Gwrtheyrn. Their childhood romance blossomed for all to see, but on the day of their marriage, Meinir is nowhere to be found and the mystery leads Rhys into months of despair. When finally a thunder strike reveals Meinir’s final hiding place, Rhys is unable to live a second longer.

Michael Garvey, Director of BBC National Orchestra of Wales said: “We’re committed to championing new orchestral music in our programming, so are thrilled to be part of this journey with Cian. This piece is quintessentially Welsh - a wonderful combination of music, folklore and poetry and as Wales’ national orchestra, we’re excited to be performing the world premiere.”

Bangor-born Ciarán, alongside claiming four UK top ten albums and 19 Top-40 singles with Super Furry Animals, won a Best Contemporary Music BAFTA Cyrmu Award alongside his brother Dafydd Ieuan, has released two, critically-acclaimed solo albums and was nominated, as a member of Zefur Wolves, for the Welsh Music Prize 2015. He has also produced electronic music -orientated projects under the name Acid Casuals and remixed, guest recorded and produced with artists including Paul McCartney, Mogwai, Manic Street Preachers, and Kaiser Chiefs.

Rhys & Meinir is supported by Arts Council Wales and the PRS for Music Foundation.

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