1 9 5 9 – 1 9 6 4 (UK)
Welsh language Sunday evening programme starring Welsh baritone Ivor Emmanuel. Even though it was all in Welsh it proved popular throughout the UK.
Land of Song was broadcast monthly on Sunday evenings, initially for 40 minutes and later extended to an hour.
Each show had a loose theme: for example, the countryside or the seaside. A sequence of musical scenes then unfolded, requiring a whole range of costume changes.
There were farmyard scenes, hunting scenes, seaside scenes, barber shop scenes, tavern scenes, scenes on board a ship and so on.
The singers dressed up as fishermen, clowns, sailors, farm labourers or whatever was required. Many of the farming scenes featured live animals – horses, sheep, cows, ducks, chickens, etc. Ivor Emmanuel led the big set-pieces, and in between were scenes for other soloists, duets or quintets.
The music performed encompassed the full range of the rich musical tradition of Wales, from roistering choral numbers to gentle folk ballads, from humorous songs to stirring anthems. Each programme normally ended with a Welsh hymn tune.
Although the orchestral musicians, dancers and choreographers who worked on the show, were full-time professionals brought in from London, the singers were all local, Welsh, semi-professional performers, most having other regular jobs. The show was, therefore, a big commitment for them.
There were weekly rehearsals in the weeks when there was no broadcast and then, in the week leading up to the monthly broadcast, rehearsals were held on several weekday evenings, again all day on the Saturday for the dress rehearsal, and then again all day on the Sunday, culminating in the live broadcast that same evening.