The annual back-slapping Oscar ceremony takes place every year.
It may surprise you that Welsh Male Voice Choirs on soundtrack have had an influential role in movie making history.
The film soundtrack can have a huge impact on a movie.
‘The Mission’ by Ennio Morricone and ‘The Da Vinci Code’ by Hans Zimmer are good examples. Both feature choral music to great dramatic effect on the film soundtrack.
Film Soundtrack and Male Choirs
Male choirs have featured in Hollywood films. Especially those with Welsh connections.
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In the epic film ‘Zulu’ 150 British and colonial soldiers fought off an army of 4,000 Zulu warriors. A rather one-sided affair you might agree.
Zulu has a powerful musical score composed by a young John Barry. Long before his James Bond connection.
Before a final charge, the Zulus begin a war-chant. The intention is to intimidate their valiant enemy with the volume of the singing.
Equally, in response the Welsh defenders of Rorke’s Drift break into spontaneous song. An emotional rendition of the Welsh anthem Men of Harlech.
There is also a version of ‘Mae Hen Wlad fy Nhadau’ at the end when Richard Burton narrates the names of the lives lost.
The male choir providing the choral backing is the Morlais Male Choir.
Furthermore, the choir’s president at the time was Stanley Baker who starred in the film, along with Michael Caine. Not many people know that.
How Green Was My Valley
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‘How Green Was My Valley’ is a 1941 film directed by John Ford. Based on the 1939 novel by Richard Llewelyn.
Most noteworthy, it received ten Academy Award nominations, and won five including Best Picture.
The Welsh tone is set by Welsh Singers. Furthermore, not from the Welsh valleys.
As a result, the singers were sought from the various choral societies and church choirs of Southern California.
The male choirs as a result sing around a dozen Welsh classics.
These include Calon Lan, Myfanwy, Bryn Calfaria and Mentra Gwen.
“Singing,” says central character, Huw Morgan, “is in my people as sight is in the eye.”
Long may it remain that way.
Barbara Smith says
At the end of the film it just says ” the singers – themselves” which isn’t very helpful as they deserved much more praise, they were just beautiful, especially singing Myfanwy, my particular favourite. It was on tv not too long ago and I loved it so much I had to buy the dvd so I can enjoy it time and again now. Many thanks.
Richard Thompson says
Barbara, thank you so much for your interesting comment about the soundtrack. It is also one of my favourite films despite the Hollywood treatment, and I have my own DVD version. Myfanwy is an eternal gem from the prolific Welsh composer Dr. Joseph Parry.