A trailblazer is an innovator that carves their own path, not knowing what lies ahead, yet determined to shine a light for those who choose to follow. Welsh-born composer Hilary Tann was the embodiment of this idea, an artist that persisted in making meaningful music despite the odds, whose work went on to be performed worldwide, and to international acclaim.
Tann passed shortly before an upcoming recording session with Trio Casals, who performed two of her compositions — Nothing Forgotten and Seven Poems of Stillness — for an upcoming Navona Records album of cello-centric works inspired by poetry and art.
“An incredible tragedy, we lost Hilary Tann way too soon,” said Trio Casals cellist Ovidiu Marinescu via Twitter. “And to think that I’ve been living with her music for the last few months, her loss creates a terrible wound.”
Tann was highly regarded as a prolific composer whose work evoked a range of natural settings that she loved to visit, from the quiet reverie of the Adirondack forest to the lush valleys of her native Wales.
Reviewing a 2020 recording by the Sirius Quartet of Tann’s 2014 quartet And the Snow Did Lie, Times Union classical critic Joseph Dalton wrote, “Tann’s music is shimmering and weightless, effective and moving.” He continued, “the central portions of the piece are rich with tunes that spill out in a flow more generous than deliberate, still sweet and rapturous… reinforcing the grounded spiritual ecstasy that is Tann’s distinctive musical outlook.”