THE Prince of Wales gave permission for his golden harp to be brought to St Asaph for the International Music Festival.
The harp will be used for the premiere of the new choral work to celebrate Prince Charles’ 65th birthday.
The piece, entitled A Welsh Prayer, was hailed as a "masterpiece" after it was performed for the first time at the North Wales International Music Festival at St Asaph Cathedral.
It was composed by Professor Paul Mealor, who was born in St Asaph, while the words were written by Grahame Davies, assistant private secretary to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
It was written specifically for a choir accompanied by two harpists, the Prince's first official harpist, international star Catrin Finch, and the current royal harpist, Swansea’s Hannah Stone, with Hannah playing the Prince’s golden harp.
The premiere was one of many highlights at the year's festival which boasts a stellar line-up that also includes the Swingle Singers, virtuoso pianist Peter Donohoe, historical performance ensemble, La Serenissima and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Speaking before the premiere, Professor Mealor, who received international acclaim after composing the music for the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011 and who also wrote the music for the chart-topping Military Wives’ Choir, admitted to being a little nervous.
He said: “It’s always a little nerve-wracking when your music is heard for the first time and this evening is even more difficult for me as I have my family here and many close friends and I’m also conducting the piece.
“However, it’s unbelievable and I have to say I’m so honoured, to have two of the world’s very best harpists here at the festival to play for us.
“And what a privileged that the Prince of Wales allowed his own personal harp to be brought to St Asaph so Hannah could perform using it.
“Normally the Prince’s golden harp is kept in the Garden Room at Clarence House and for His Royal Highness to give consent for the harp to be brought to St Asaph, specifically for this performance, was a wonderful gesture.”
Harpist Catrin Finch was thrilled to be asked to perform the piece at the North Wales International Music Festival.
She said: “I have really enjoyed performing at St Asaph particularly as His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales gave permission for his harp to be transported to
North Wales especially for the performance.
“I don’t think I could ever tire of playing such a wonderful instrument."