Joseph Davies: Hymn to Hermes

May 18, 2022 / ISCM – WELSH SECTION
(Photo of Joseph Davies by Kasia Wozniak)

Joseph Davies (born in Cardiff in 1987) has been hailed as “one of the brightest of rising stars” (Bernard Clarke, RTÉ) whose music, described as “extraordinarily vivid and exuberant” (Ivan Hewitt, BBC Radio 3) has been performed and broadcast throughout Europe and the USA. Commissions range from virtuosic chamber-size works for some of the most gifted musicians of his generation to large-scale works for ensembles including several pieces for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Works include Intricate Images (2014) for harpist Catrin Finch and cellist Steffan Morris, the orchestral song cycle The Shortest Day (2016) setting specially written texts by former Archbishop of Canterbury and poet Dr Rowan Williams to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, and Hymn to Hermes (2018) for The Hermes Experiment. His wide-ranging collaborations include arrangements for Meilyr Jones’s prize-winning album 2013 (2016) on Moshi Moshi and Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (2017) for the Tate Britain, and two albums for Baxter Dury, Prince of Tears (2017) and The Night Chancers (2020), both on Heavenly Recordings. In 2017 Joseph’s wind orchestra piece Anemoi was nominated for a BASCA British Composer Award and he was awarded the Sir Geraint Evans Prize by the Welsh Music Guild. Current projects include a violin concerto for BBC NOW and soloist Daniel Pioro for the 2020/21 season (postponed to 21/22 due to Covid-19). Joseph has been a lecturer in composition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama since 2013. In 2019-20 he was the lead composer for Tŷ Cerdd’s ‘CoDI Text’ scheme, mentoring six composers alongside writer Kaite O’Reilly. He is published by Birdsong Music, with selected works published by Chester Music. He lives in London.

Hymn to Hermes is a five-minute work with a text in Ancient Greek scored for soprano, clarinet, harp, and double bass composed in 2018. The piece was commissioned by Tŷ Cerdd for its premiere performance by Hermes Experiment at St David’s Hall, 13th February 2018.

Joseph Davies: Hymn to Hermes (2018)
Performed by Hermes Experiment
Heloise Werner, soprano / Anne Denholm, harp / Oliver Pashley, clarinet / Marianne Schofield, double bass
Studio recording 17th September 2018 at Tŷ Cerdd Studio by James Clarke.