Composed by Hilary Tann
For Flute and Cello
Published by Oxford University Press
Duration: ca. 7’30”
The title, Llef (pronounced łe:v), is a Welsh word meaning “a cry from the heart.” Llef is also the name of a minor-key Welsh hymn tune (“O! Jesu Mawr”). References to this hymn, and to the major-key hymn, Crimond, occur in the piece. The composer was born in the coal-mining valleys of South Wales. Coal is no longer mined in her home town, and the young men and women have left the valleys to search for work elsewhere. “But,” the composer writes, “on the mountain top, close to the bracken and lichen, and in the crevices of the rain-swept stone walls, echoes of the old hymns may still be heard.”
Llef was originally composed for the vertical Japanese bamboo flute (the “shakuhachi”) and cello. The first performance was on 26 April 1988, Barnard College, New York, with Jeffrey Lependorf, shakuhachi, and Peter Susser, cello. The version for flute and cello was completed in 1993, and the first performance was on 27 March 1993, by the Catskill Chamber Players, in Oneonta, New York.