“I Sang in my Chains like the Sea” – Newly-commissioned settings of seven Dylan Thomas poems staged as part of York Late Music series, co-organised by Professor John Goodby

On Saturday 04 November, I Sang in my Chains like the Sea took place involving the performance of newly-commissioned settings of seven Dylan Thomas poems by five composers. The event, co-organised by Professor John Goodby as part of an ongoing collaborative project with the composer David Lancaster (York St John University) was staged as part of the York Late Music Lunchtime Concert Series at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York.

It was preceded by an interview between composer Hayley Jenkins, John Goodby and David Lancaster, available online on Jenkins’ podcast Late Music In Conversation here. David and John discuss why so many artists are inspired by Thomas, some details about David’s approach to his own setting, and how the poems were selected by the other composers.

University of York Music Press will be publishing two of the settings, and you can find the setting by David Lancaster and Rhian Samuel online here and here respectively.

John Goodby and David Lancaster will also be organising a second performance of the pieces in the first half of 2024. As a leading authority on Dylan Thomas and editor of Thomas’ Collected Poems, John has been advising composers introducing the poems. A CD recording of all the new songs will be produced in 2024 and a new biography of Thomas by John will also follow.

John Goodby is Professor of Arts & Culture at Sheffield Hallam University. Professor Goodby’s research specialisms are Irish writing, Welsh poetry, and British / US poetry, especially modernist poetry. Professor Goodby is the leading authority on the work of Dylan Thomas and the author / editor of five books on the subject; in this capacity Professor Goodby has worked with – and as a consultant to – the BBC, the Arts Council, the National Trust, Aardman Films, the OU, the British Library, & British Council.