Arts & Health initiative commissioning a cohort of artists to make bespoke music and sound installations for the multi-faith chapel at the Grange University Hospital in Llanfrechfa. Funded by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, in collaboration with Studio Response.
Ashley John Long
Ashley John Long is a composer and double bassist active in a range of genres. He studied composition at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and gained his PhD at Cardiff University. Recent commissions have included three chamber operas and chamber music, and his orchestral work Karri was premiered in 2019 by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He has also composed much music for media, dance and theatre as well as works for jazz and improvising ensembles. https://www.ashleyjohnlong.co.uk/
Listen to 'Edau Bywyd'...
Edau Bywyd – composer's note
I wanted to base this piece on a sound that permeates the existing landscape. As this work is being installed in the hospital’s multi-faith chapel, and I wanted a sound that would suit such a space; a church bell seemed the obvious answer, so I set to work recording the bells of the proximate All Saints church, with the help of the resident bell-ringers. I also began working with Cwmbran Writers' Group to gather new poetry which reflected upon the landscape and its history.
The poetry served as inspiration to the vocalists, and can also be read by the listener if they wish. I was keen to include contributions from as many members of the ward's communities as possible so, in addition to the musical material provided by the bells, the finished piece collects the voices of singers from the length and breadth of the ward as well as recordings of the natural world that surrounds the new hospital.
We spoke to Ashley about the surrounding landscapes and communities of the hospital, and the range of sounds they inspired, as well as the challenges presented by Covid.