Lately I’ve been nuts about Beethoven’s arrangements of Irish, Welsh and Scottish ballads, and they have been on repeat on my iPhone when I’m riding the train to work every morning for weeks now. My favourite is “The Vale of Clwyd”:
I’m especially enamoured by the cello which adds such a sense of gravity to the song. And there is just something about the lyrics – banal, artless folksong lyrics as they are – that moves me. I like how the persona equals her beloved’s Henry’s mere presence with a state of blessedness. And I like the resigned outcry of the father when he can’t bear to discourage his daughter’s fervent wish any longer:
“‘How thou art sad!’ he cried/’But smile again, my darling child/for thou shalt be thy Henry’s bride.'”
Blogger “The Daily Beethoven” posts the lyrics in their entirety for those interested.