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Wales - Land of Song

Facharbeit (Schule) 2000 32 Seiten

Didaktik - Englisch - Landeskunde



To begin with, I want to explain why exactly I chose this topic for my dissertation.

In the first place I myself am half Welsh, as my mother comes from Milford Haven. So I have always been very interested in the Welsh way of life and culture. During all the time I have spent in Wales when on holiday there I have had the experience that music is of enormous importance to the Welsh people. The Welsh are famous for their great love of singing and many of their hymns and folk songs are well known far beyond the country's borders. This musical tradition has always been present in my mother's family:

My great-grandfather (the father of my Welsh grandmother), whose job was in coal-mining, was a very talented singer who sang in many operettas, particularly in works by Gilbert and Sullivan, which were very popular at that time and still are in Britain.

My other great grandfather, Thomas James Morgan, also a coal- miner, was a choir conductor who won medals1 at some eisteddfods with the Mardy Choir and performed oratorios such as Handel's "Messiah".

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He had four sons. The first, my great-uncle David, was a gifted organist, pianist and also choir leader. His wife was an alto-soloist. The second, Wynford, played the violin in an orchestra.

The third, Aneurin, sang for years in the famous Mynydd Mawr male voice choir in which his son Reinallt still sings. The fourth son, Alun Caradog, my grandfather, wrote English texts for Welsh hymn tunes.2

My mother also inherited the Welsh love for song and is at present member in two choirs. My youngest relative who keeps the tradition of music alive is my cousin Paul who has passed many trumpet exams with the Royal School of Music and plays in various ensembles including the town band of Milford Haven.

From an early age most Welsh people, more particularly Welsh-speaking people, are brought up to take part in concerts and competitions in churches, schools etc. as soloists and members of choirs or instrumental groups and so they carry out a wide range of musical activities.

1. The Heritage of the Celts

1.1 Celtic Music in Pre-Christian Times

We have no reliable Celtic record about Celtic music in very early times, but are dependent upon contemporary Greek and Roman historians who above all describe the Celts in Gallia. However the Brythons (the Gauls who came over to Britain) were certainly not very different from the Gauls on the mainland.3

Diodorus Siculus wrote : "They have poets whom they call bards, who sing songs of eulogy and of satire, accompanying themselves on instruments very like the lyre." 4

Caesar knew the institution of the druids in Britain, in which the bards played an important role. It is pretty sure that among the British Celts there was an order of leading musicians and poets.5

Athenaeus writes about Celtic singers: "These men sing their praises before large assemblies, and also to any individual who cares to listen to them. They have also a class known as Bards, who play the music. These, too, are poets and set out their virtues in odes." 6

Music and poetical work seem to have been deeply rooted in the Celtic tribes. After the departure of the Romans the Welsh nation was formed from the mixing of the Goidelic and Brythonic members of the population. Among Welsh tribesmen were skilled poets and musicians. The Welsh expressions "bardd" (poet), "cerddor" (musician [artist]), "crwth" (crowd), "telyn" (harp), "cathl" (song) etc. are of purely Celtic origin.7 The poems and songs were of course passed on only by word of mouth.

We find the best descriptions of Welsh culture in the work of Gildas (mid 6th century). He writes that Maelgwyn, a patron of native poetry and music, was surrounded on state occasions at Degannwy by 24 bards.8

One of the most famous bards of the 6th century was apparently Taliesin. He sang songs of eulogy, and he probably accompanied himself on the `telyn' or harp.9 The poem ,Gododin` (believed to have been written by Aneirin) originates from this age. In this poem it is said that "minstrels existed who sang the praises of famous men, and in return obtained their patronage".10

The duties of the bards were: to play the harp and sing at weddings, funerals, games and other festivities, or to sing songs of praise to honour heroes - these were held to be sacred.11

1.2. The Eisteddfods of the Middle Ages

12Many claim that an eisteddfod took place during the reign of King Cdwaladr (who died in 664). The Juvencus Codex (9th century), in which a number of Welsh stanzas are found, makes it clear that Welsh lyric poetry was being written at this time at the latest.13 In the 10th century we find the Welsh Laws (,Leges Wallicae`), codified by Hywel Dda, in which is mentioned that "the king has twenty-four officers of the court", one of them is "the Bard of the Household[Bardd Teulu]".14

In various writings it is said: "There are three legal harps; the king's harp [telyn e brenhyn]; the harp of a chief of song [a thelyn penkerd]; and a harp of a gwrda [a thelyn gurda]."

According to the Dimetian and Gwentian Codes the chief of song is "a bard who shall have gained a chair". 15 He was richly rewarded and enjoyed many privileges. By the ,chief of song' (Penkerdd) they probably meant "the head of the whole bardic community within the limits of the kingdom".16

In 1070, Bleddyn ap Kynfyn is said to have held an eisteddfod lasting 40 days. "Degrees were conferred on chiefs of song, and gifts and presents made to them, as in the time of the Emperor Arthur" 17.

Around 1107 Cadwgan ab Bleddyn held a feast at Christmas to which "he invited the best bards, singers, and musicians in all Wales (...) and set chairs for them, and instituted contests between them, as was the practice at the feast of king Arthur".18

Gruffydd ap Cynan (who ruled at the beginning of the 12th century and grew up in Ireland) achieved a thorough reform among the bards. He "formed a complete body of institutes for the amendment of their manners, and the correction of their art and practice".19 F rom then on there were various classes of bards (poets, herald bards, musical bards). Among the musical bards there were: a) performers on the harp, b) performers on the fix-stringed crwth, c) singers.20 21

From this time on at the latest it appears that at least 24 measures existed which gave Welsh harp and crwth music a metrical form independent of the text which was sung.22 Every 3 years the bards assembled at eisteddfods (mostly in Aberffraw / Anglesey): There the arts of poetry and music were given rules and honorary degrees were awarded.

The lord of the land had to propose the candidates. A candidate had to explain the 5 Welsh meters of song and also sing them expertly. Then he could become the pupil of one of the chief bards and remained a "probationary student of poetry" 23 for 3 years. After an examination at the next eisteddfod he could become a "bachelor of the art of poetry" and after a probationary period "master" (if he mastered the rules of grammar and rhetoric and was able to sing 21 meters melodiously in the various parts. Only he who mastered all the secrets of the art of poetry and who was far superior to all those who had a lower title could become a "Pencerdd", i.e. "professor of poetry". The highest title was that of the "Doctor of music" ("pencerdd athraw").

All the bards were looked up to at court. The court bard was the 8th officer according to rank at the court of the king and was often one of the king's advisers. This position could sometimes be inherited. The bards' main income was gained from presents given to them at weddings and money that they received at Christmas, Easter and Whitsun. Besides the graduate bards, there were also 'unlicensed bards'. These were lower qualified musicians and poets. They had no connection to the eisteddfods and were less highly respected.

In 1135, Gruffiydd ab Rhys held a festival lasting 40 days in Ystrad Tywi, to which people from North Wales, Powys, South Wales, Glamorgan and the Marches came. In the Codex of Pope Calixtus II (1140) there is a description of how pilgrims from all over the world came to Santiago in Spain. The Welsh are mentioned especially: "Some sang to the accompaniment of the (...) lyre, some to the timbrel, others to the flute, others to the British and Welsh harp and crwth." 24

At Christmas in 1176 Lord Rhys held a great festival in Aberteifi (Cardigan). He set up two competitions, one between the bards and poets, the other between the harpers, crowthers, and pipers. He donated two chairs for the winners of the competitions. The festival was announced in Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland and in many other countries. Giraldus de Barri writes in his ' Description of Wales`, that in every Welsh family "the art of playing on the harp is held preferable to any other learning". And that "their musical instruments charm and delight the ear with their sweetness, are borne along by such a celerity and delicacy of modulation, producing such a consonance from the rapidity of seemingly discordant touches. (...) It is astonishing that in so complex and rapid a movement of the fingers, the musical proportions can be preserved, and that throughout the difficult modulations on their various instruments, the harmony is completed with such a sweet velocity, so unequal an equality, so discordant a concord, as if the chords sounded together fourths or fifths (...)"

Giraldus also describes Welsh part-singing. At this time there must have been a high standard of musical culture. Perhaps the Welsh were the inventors of modern harmony, and the most advanced country of Europe from the point of view of musicality.25

"In their musical concerts they do not sing in unison like the inhabitants of other countries, but in many different parts; so that in a company of singers, which one very frequently meets with in Wales, you will hear as many different parts and voices as there are performers, who all at length unite, with organic melody, in one consonance, and the sweetness of B flat."26 Of course this claim is very controversial. Dr. Burney27 for example thinks that the Welsh of old were no doubt great lovers of music and poetry, but "that a rude and uncivilized people, driven into a mountainous and barren country, without commerce, or communication with the rest of Europe, should invent counterpoint, and cultivate harmony, at a period when it was unknown to the most polished and refined inhabitants of the earth, still remains a problem difficult of solution".28

W.S. Gwyn Williams draws attention to the fact that the Welsh "had advanced more quickly in regard to intellectual exercises, poetry, and music than in regard to material prosperity and higher morality". The reason for this was, in his opinion, that they always had to be prepared to flee and couldn't take anything with them - apart from their herds and flocks and their art of song.29

The ancient Celtic mastersingers did not use written down notes, because they wanted to keep their art for those initiated into their circle. The master used to pass on to his pupil what he himself had learnt from his tutor.

Because of the continuous warfare in the 14th and 15th centuries, the musical tradition of the bards was interrupted and valuable treasures of culture were forgotten. The bardic tradition crumbled. Wandering minstrels or gleemen, the pop singers of their time, became the rivals of the master bards.

After the political union with England in 1536 the artists and bards moved to the king's court in London and to English castles so that it came to a final cultural sell-off. It was not until the reign of Henry VII that the eisteddfods were brought back to life. In the year 1567 Queen Elisabeth I published a decree according to which all minstrels had to come before a board of examiners who awarded the title of bard to those who passed the examination, but who were to denounce those who failed as vagabonds and to administer corporal punishment to them. In 1568 she ordered an eisteddfod to be held in Caerwys. After this the bardic meetings gradually died out once more.

2. The Characteristics of the Old Welsh Harp and Folk Music

"It would have been a loss to the music of the world if the Welsh Airs had never come into existence, and that not only on account of their excellence but because they have peculiarities which distinguish them from the Airs of other nations" states Sir John Rhys.30

Up to the year 1742 there was no special effort made to preserve a collection of Welsh harp tunes. Nevertheless in no other country of Great Britain were the tunes and also the poetry of its people kept more alive in the memory than in Wales.

"In their oldest tunes we may have the remains of what was anciently the music of this country long before the Roman invasion under Julius Caesar." writes F.A. Gore Ouseley . 31

Especially the old harp tunes and genuine folksongs reach back to tunes long past. The fact that they were not written down only goes to show that this was not necessary to keep them alive.

Edward Jones writes in1802 that the majority of the tunes he published were written down as old people sang them and as they were played by harpists in North Wales.32

In 1839 John F.M. Dovaston writes that Welsh harp music "has more of science than that of most other nations".33

The decline of the national minstrelsy was greatly due to the fanaticism of ill-educated preachers who wanted to turn the people away from singing, dancing and playing music. But by means of collections of music as mentioned above a lot of the music of the old bardic harpers was preserved, in spite of the English influence during the Tudor period, even in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Since 1906 the Welsh Folk Song Society has made a great contribution to this work of preservation.

2.1 Traditional Harp Airs

Although most of the harp airs were not written to be sung to, many were used all the same for the rendering of Penillion songs (see 2.4) in the North Wales manner. The highest form of the art of the old harpists consisted of composing and playing endless variations on the airs. In this way the tunes have been overlaid and interwoven with grace notes and ornaments especially since the Welsh triple harp (see later reference), which offers many more possibilities for this, was invented.34

2.2 Ballad and Carol Tunes

Ballads, carols and other free meters of Welsh poetry came to Wales from England in the 16th and 17th centuries. As there were no old tunes to which they could be sung, the tunes had to be borrowed, too. Of course there was soon little left of the English original version. First the texts, then also the tunes were changed by the Welsh.35

The music was in this case clearly less important than the poetic form.36

2.3 Folk Songs Proper

The texts of these songs were emotional and poetic with shorter verses than in the ballads. The language is straight to the point without the tiring circumlocution of many ballads. The melodies are simple without vocal difficulties, but often wonderful in form and very expressive. Many tunes are similar to the emotional 'hwyl'37 of the old Welsh preachers. The melodies of many traditional Welsh hymn tunes are those of folk songs (carols, ballads and love songs).. These came to be used as sacred melodies when hymn singing was introduced into Welsh nonconformist services of worship in the first half of the 18th century. In the following time these hymn tunes became more popular than the harp airs or secular folk songs.38

The hymn tunes, which can be counted among the most beautiful sacred melodies of the world, are mostly sung in four-part harmony.39

2.4 Penillion Singing

"Penillion", a special form of the Welsh "cynghanedd" (fixed metre poetry) was probably employed by the bards of both North and South Wales, but has only survived in North Wales. The oldest instrumental music to which Penillion was sung has been documented only since the 18th century, but probably goes back to the age of the bards.40 It is perhaps John Parry who describes this art the best:

"(...) The singer is obliged to follow the harper, who may change the tune, or perform variations, ad libitum, whilst the vocalist must keep time, and end precisely with the strain. The singer does not commence with the harper, but takes the strain up at the second, third or fourth bar, as best suits the pennill he intends to sing; and this is constantly done by persons, who are totally unacquainted with music!"41

The most popular tunes for this art in the last 200 years have been the traditional Welsh harp airs such as ,Bro Gwalia`, ,Ffawel Philip Ystwyth` ,Llwyn Onn` 42 etc. At the end of the 19th century there were at least 46 different tunes.43

2.5 Original Welsh Musical Instruments

Ancient Welsh instruments are only the harp, the crwth and the pibcorn.

The harp consisted for a long time of just a row of strings, originally made of horse's hair. It only developed later to a double harp with 2 rows of strings that made the playing of sharps and flats easier. Since the 14th century a triple harp has been used and is mainly used these days. This has a range of 5 octaves. The most recent improvement was the invention of the pedals to produce half tones.

The crwth is little used these days. It was of a similar construction to the lyre, had 6 strings and was played with a bow.44

The pibcorn or hornpipe had ends made out of horn and was 19 inches long. It had holes for the fingers and one hole at the back for the thumb. The tone was similar to that of an oboe.

3. The Renaissance of Welsh Music in the 18th and 19th Centuries

3.1 Harp Music and "Penillion Singing"

In the 18th and early 19th centuries you could find many itinerant harpists, fiddlers and ballad singers such as Dick Dywll, who was famous for his performances in the pubs and brothels of the notorious China district of Merthyr Tydfil.

Public houses were often the only refuge open to the Penillion singers. Singers, crwth players, harpers and Penillion singers - were regarded (especially by prude Nonconformists) with suspicion.45

The Society of Gwneddigion (founded in 1771) and "Canorion" (founded in 1820) promoted the old art of penillion singing to harp accompaniment. However the original songs of the middle ages were lost forever.

Many of the early harpists became favourites of the English Establishment. One of them - John Parry - gave concerts in London, Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin in the mid-18th century. But the lower classes were excluded from this highly developed art of harp playing ("artificially constructed to the delectation of metropolitan sophisticates" 46 ).

3.2 The Golden Age of the Choirs

The reformed eisteddfod, the flourishing of (Nonconformist) chapel society and the growth of the Temperance movement (see below) played an important part in the astonishing musical renaissance that spread across Wales between 1840 and 1914.47

At the end of the 18th century the "gwyneddigion"48 society organized annual Eisteddfods 49 (with given themes) in various towns in North Wales. In 1798, 20 bards, 18 vocal performers and 12 harpists took part in Caerwys. Since 186o the typical Celtic festivals have taken place again regularly.

Alcohol was a great problem in society of that age. In Blackwood (Monmouthshire) there was one alehouse for every 5 inhabitants in 1842. The temperance society was eager for moral reasons especially "to take the eisteddfod out of the public house" 50 and therefore they organized temperance singing festivals and marches. Of course they overlooked the fact that the public house was also the focus of social life and entertainment for industrial workers.51 Between 1800 and 1850 the number of nonconformist chapels rose from 1,300 to 3,800.52 They were a further promoter of choral singing, though this was often kept within narrow and prudish limits.

The gymanfa ganu 53, festivals of community hymn singing - according to G. Williams "Wales' most distinctive contribution to the world of music" 54 - became especially popular . Originally these festivals were held to improve the standard of congregational singing. Singing practice of this kind became as commonplace as the prayer meeting in the chapels.55 Welsh hymns,56 both because of their spiritual words and their music, best express the Welsh "hwyl" (which means an expression of deeply emotional Welsh fervour). Four-part singing soon became common in the church services.

Most Welsh chapels possessed a choir that regularly performed oratorios. Many chapels had their own small orchestras. Many of these would compete at eisteddfods and this competitive spirit encouraged the promotion of higher musical standards and, of course, friendly rivalry. Eliza Roberts introduced the tonic sol-fa sight-singing in Wales in 186057 which made the performance of complicated pieces easier and led away from such methods as learning to sing tunes by repetition of the music heard and learning by heart. On the other hand the creativity and the power of improvisation in the people who were formerly dependent on their sense of hearing were lost to some extent. In addition their ignorance of staff notation remained, which prevented the performance of more modern and difficult works.58

Soon there were numerous choirs, glee clubs (organised for the singing of music), brass and string bands and also talented conductors and composers.

A particularly good example of this is the iron town Dowlais in the Merthyr Valley which produced between 1880-1900 alone the Dowlais Glee Party, the Dowlais Harmonic Society, the Dowlais Choral Society, the Dowlais Philharmonic, the Dowlais Choral Union, Dowlais and Merthyr United, the Dowlais Temperance Union, Dowlais Male Voice Choir, Dowlais Dramatic and Orchestral Society, the Dowlais Operatic Society and Dowlais Music Lovers and numerous bands.59

Enormous crowds of 20,000 and more gathered to listen to choral competitions, usually with absolute attention and considerable musical knowledge, sometimes with the passion of modern rugby fans - and often even more numerous than the latter (in 1891: 20,000 in the Swansea pavilion60 ). Enthusiastic crowds greeted triumphant choirs on their return home. It was common to place bets on the success of their favourite.

There was rivalry among the various groups sometimes going as far as violent controversy as to the judging of competitions. Musical Time wrote in 1897: "Next after a football match Welshmen enjoy a choral fight." 61

But also in the hard times their common love of singing united them as a community, as in July 1905, when 119 miners lost their lives at the National No. 2 coal mine at Wattstown:

"The chorus 'Surely He hath borne our Griefs' was always sung with intensity of conviction in the coalfield; at Christmas 1905 it acquired a particular poignancy at that year's Noddfa Messiah." 62

Revd John Roberts ('Ieuan Gwyllt') was in turn teacher, editor, minister, journalist, lecturer, poet, composer and conductor. He travelled all over South Wales. In 1859 he set up a choral union in Aberdare, the centre of the South Wales coalfield. He was an imaginative teacher and created methods of improving Welsh choral singing. He was also - like many others - a fervent Nonconformist for whom singing was an expression of a pure and godly way of life.63

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Griffith Rhys Jones (known as "Caradog")64 began working as a blacksmith and became a publican and director of breweries. He was an accomplished violinist and was nicknamed the "Welsh

Paganini". But it is for his skill as a choral conductor that he will be best remembered. At 18 he was already conducting a choir from his home village at an eisteddfod at Aberavon.

His greatest triumph came in London in 1872 when the company running the Crystal Palace decided to hold a major choral competition. A Welsh choir of 450 voices was formed under Caradog: the South Wales Choral Union. A train with 18 carriages was needed to transport the choir members to London. They won first prize and were given a tremendous welcome when they returned home to Wales. They repeated the triumph at the Crystal Palace the following year. Now everybody was sure: Welsh choral singing is the best in Europe!

In 1877 Tom Stephens became conductor of the Rhondda Glee Society, an all-male group. It's popularity played a large part in the increasing importance of Welsh male voice singing as a whole. When he took the Gleemen to an eisteddfod at the World Fair in Chicago in 1893 they won first prize against hard competition from four American choirs and one from North Wales.65

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The Treorchy Male Choir performed at Windsor Castle in 1895 and went on afterwards - as "Royal Welsh Choir" - to conquer the world (50,000 miles in 1909-9).66

But the most famous and probably the best musician in 19th century Wales was Dr Joseph Parry. He left Merthyr Tydfil as a boy to emigrate to America, but had to return home to Wales for his musical career to flourish. He is the composer of the moving love song "Myfanwy", as well as of countless operas, oratorios, hymns and songs.

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He was self-satisfied and arrogant, entirely lacking in self-criticism, naïve and childlike. His music frequently lacks emotional depth, but he was a genius loved and endlessly imitated by fellow countrymen.

In his enormous appetite for work, his musicality, the ease with which he produced memorable melodies, his sometimes shallow and sentimental emotionalism, Parry seems to have summed up the best and the worst of the musical revival that swept through Wales in the 19th century.67

In 1911 the Musical Herald declared, "Wales has become one of the great choral nations of the earth!" 68

In Wales scores of oratorios, operas and symphonies were being performed. At first the soloists and instrumentalists were strangers (mostly English), but later more and more Welsh performers took their place.

Favourite composers were: Handel (above all the "Messiah"), Mendelssohn (Elijah...), Haydn (The Creation...), and then came Verdi, Donizetti, Mozart...

At the same time brass and silver bands were formed.

Round about the turn of the century there was a turning away from a too emotional or enthusiastic style of singing to a more cultivated and differentiating one. The repertoire was widened and more worldly music was sung. The singers were more independent of learning by ear. More were able to read music.69

The choir movement had a very democratic basis. One's profession was of no importance. In the choir one was respected, because one could sing. Here women at last had the same status as men! Thus Rachel Thomas in the film Valley of Song (1953 ) says,

"None of you could ever know what it means to me to sing the part. All the year it's cooking and washing and mending I am. But when 'Messiah' came around I stopped being Mrs Lloyd undertaker. I was Mair Lloyd - contralto."70

4. The Present Situation in Welsh Music

4.1 Festivals, Contests and Other Musical Gatherings

The Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales (festival of music and poetry) is held every year during the first week of August, alternating annually between North Wales and South Wales. The ceremony which lasts a week, with up to 6,000 competitors and 170,000 visitors including exile Welshmen from all over the world, is a resumption of the old Welsh custom: Bards71 or lyric poets assemble together to take part in song competitions and to set down rules for poetry and music.

The titles of Ofydd (Ovate), Bardd (Bard), and Pencerdd (Chief Musician) are conferred on candidates who pass various tests and there is also a strong choral and competitive side to the gathering.72

In 1999 there were over 200 competitions ranging from the popular performances of rival choirs to those of traditional dance and instrumental groups and outstanding concerts with Bryn Terfel, Gwyn Hughes Jones (tenor), the National Youth Orchestra of Wales Sinfonia, the National Youth Choir of Wales, the Eisteddfod Choir, and others.

The Eisteddfod is an event which does not only interest a small part of the population but the majority. This is a big difference to the attitude of the German people towards the "Sängertreffen" in Germany.

In addition there are Regional Eisteddfods - smaller festivals that take place in August in many Welsh villages. They last for one weekend and are usually held in the pubs.

Local Eisteddfods are held in towns and villages throughout the year. The Welsh universities occasionally hold their own Student Eisteddfods.

The Welsh Youth Movement (Urdd Gobaith Cymru) holds an annual Urdd Eisteddfod.

Children as young as four years of age and up to 24 years of age compete against each other in musical events - singing, playing the harp, piano, violin, wind instruments, in classical, folk and Pop groups. It is a full week of cultural events and attracts some 14,000 competitors and over 100,000 visitors. It is Europe's largest youth arts festival..

The Eisteddfod plays a big part in the development of young musical talent. To be a "National" winner at the Royal National Eisteddfod is the dream of many youngsters. Many of Wales's famous singers made their early debut at the Urdd Eisteddfod and later at the Royal National Eisteddfod. Amongst these are Bryn Terfel, Dennis 0`Neill, Gwyn Hughes-Jones, Gwyneth Jones etc., all of whom acknowledge their debt to their early opportunities on the eisteddfod stage.

The international Eisteddfod of the folk dancers and singers

Perhaps more internationally known is the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, at which musicians and dancers from all over the world compete. It is held in Llangollen during the first week in July. Singers and folk dancers from about 30 countries perform in their respective national costumes.

It was founded in 1946 to promote international peace and friendship through music and cultural events. Its motto is "Byd gwyn fydd byd a gano, gwaraidd fydd ei gerddi fo". Roughly translated this means "Blessed is a world that sings, gentle are its songs". In the meantime it has become famous among European summer festivals. Luciano Pavarotti was a chorister there with an Italian choir in 1947 and has since returned as a soloist at an evening concert.

The most fitting description is probably to be found among the writings of Dylan Thomas:

"(...) Here, over the bridge, come three Javanese, winged, breastplated, helmeted, carrying gongs and steel bubbles. Kilted, sporraned, tartan'd, daggered Scotsmen, reel and strathspey up a side street, piping hot. Burgundian girls, wearing, on their heads, bird-cages made of velvet, suddenly whisk on the pavement into a coloured dance. A Viking goes into a pub. In black felt feathered hats and short leather trousers, enormous Austrians, with thighs big as Welshmen's bodies, but much browner, yodel to fiddles and split the rain with their smiles. Frilled, ribboned, sashed, fezzed, and white-turbaned, in baggy-blue sharavari and squashed red boots. Ukrainians with Manchester accents gopack up the hill. Everything is strange in Llangollen. You wish you had a scarlet hat, and bangles, and a little bagpipe to call your own (...) All day the song and dancing in this transformed valley, this green cup of countries in the country of Wales, goes on until the sun goes in. (...) And then you climb down hill again, in a tired tide, and over the floodlit Dee to the town that won't sleep for a whole melodious week or, if it does at all, will hear all night in its sleep the hills fiddle and strum and the streets painted with tunes (...) Are you surprised that people still can dance and sing in a world on its head?The only surprising thing about miracles, however small, is that they sometimes happen."73

There are two interesting new competitions: "Choir of the World at Llangollen" (since 1987 and - completely new - "Llangollen International Singer". Among the guests there in 1999, were Kiri te Kanawa and Bryn Terfel.

The "Harlech Festival" has been held annually in the Harlech castle since 1867.

The "Swansea Music Festival" takes place annually at the beautiful Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. The annual "Fishguard Music Festival" (July/August) attracts music enthusiasts from far and wide. Some of the concerts are held in the Cathedral of St David`s. The "Cnapan Festival" is held at Newport, and attracts folk groups from other Celtic countries, i.e. Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland and Scotland.

Jazz festivals abound, the best known being the Brecon Jazz Festival. This also draws artists from far and wide, and is an extremely well attended event.

All these festivals are the platform for national and international artists and attain a very high standard.

Another prestigious musical Event is "The Cardiff Singer of the World Competition" which is held every two years at the St David`s Hall, Cardiff. This is an opportunity for young, highly talented international singers, most of whom have as a result started on outstanding careers. Winners of this competition include Bryn Terfel and Dmitri Horotskovsky, both of whom are now world-renowned.

The "Welsh Proms" (in Cardiff) under the direction of Owain Arwel Hughes have become one of the major highlights of the music calendar in Wales..

Cymanfa Ganu

To hear a Welsh choir giving all they have got in full-throated "hwyl" is best experienced at a Gymanfa Ganu74 or singing festival that is held in Welsh chapels, traditionally often at Easter time.

During the week of the Royal National Eisteddfod in August each year, a Gymanfa Ganu is held on the last Sunday of the week with thousands of enthusiastic singers of all ages in powerful harmony. Each Sunday the Welsh TV channels S4C or Sianel Pedwar Cymru bring a half-hour programme of Welsh hymn-singing which is recorded at various chapels and churches throughout Wales. A bit similar is the English TV programme "Songs of Praise", but Welsh hymns have more "hwyl" and depth of fervour.

Another typically Welsh event is the "Noson Lawen", literally translated "Happy Evening", at which local people gather together in farm barns, sitting on bales of hay, to enjoy an evening`s entertainment of musical and other items. Usually there are well-known guest performers - musicians, comedians and dancers.

At international rugby matches it is not long before the singing starts and it is said that this is worth six points against the opposing team (particularly against England!). The Welsh national anthem "Hen Wlad fy Nhadau" (Land of my Fathers) has been said to strike terror into the hearts of opposing teams, also the popular war march "Men of Harlech" and the religious element is present when the help of the Almighty is asked for in the well-loved church hymn "Guide me oh Thy great Jehovah".

4.2 Welsh Choirs of the Present Day

The choirs came to be the expression of solidarity among a people, who were suppressed in their own land. Apart from the chapel movement and the influence of the eisteddfods it was especially miners in the coal-mining, tinplate and slate communities who led to the flourishing of the male voice choirs.

The following male voice choirs especially are considered to be among the best in the country: Pendyrus, Rhos, Pontarddulais, Morriston Orpheus, Treorchy, Llanelli and Morriston Rugby male choirs. Many of these regularly go on tours to all parts of the world, and warm friendships are made in this way.

The Treorchy Male Choir was founded in 1946. It has been extremely successful for over 50 years now and has turned into a Welsh legend. The choir has won the National Eisteddfod more often than any other choir and has produced more records than any other Welsh male choir. It has made tours all over the world (Australia, Canada, USA etc.) and has "became an admirable ambassador for Wales".75

The equally famous Pendyrus Male Choir comes from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, and came into being over 100 years ago as a miners' choir. It now comprises about 100 members who come from all kinds of occupations (architects, teachers, miners, masons, a tax inspector, rugby player etc.).

The choir's repertoire includes Schubert's "Ave Maria", "Di Provenza il Mar" from Verdi's "La Traviata" the Russian "Kalinka" and "Myfanwy" which alongside "Mae hen wlad fy Nhadau" ("Land of my fathers") can almost be considered as a second Welsh national anthem. The Morriston Orpheus Choir76 was established in 1935 and has been for a long time one of the three best Welsh choirs. It has toured all over the world (even New Zealand and America). Its great success is mainly due to its conductor and musical director Alwyn Humphreys whose principal aims are to increase and vary the choir's repertoire, i.e. to have them sing not only Welsh hymns, but also Elvis songs and to make a kind of big show out of their performance in order to reach out to the audience and captivate it. Alwyn Humphreys has a very charismatic personality and has even been desribed as "probably the most charming man on the planet" 77 by an American newspaper. The Pontarddulais Male Choir78 was just formed in 1960 and made a name for itself in the Welsh world of music in the mid 60s when it won one eisteddfod after the other. The choir has a very wide repertoire which ranges from Welsh hymns to famous classical works such as "The pilgrims chorus" by Wagner and folk songs from different nations such as Russia.

The Mynydd Mawr Choir79 was formed in 1965 and had already been very successful when they won the National Eisteddfod in 1970. The choir's conductor, John Rhyddid Williams, is not only a well-known conductor and judge at the competitions, but has also written a lot of famous books on penillion singing and folk songs. My great-uncle, Aneurin Morgan, was a member of this choir and his son still is.

The male choirs still attract a lot of members among the older generation but young blood is lacking. Few of the once very popular mixed choirs still exist. The leading choirs of this type are the Cardiff Polyphonic, the Swansea Bach Choir, Cantorion ty Ddewi, Côr Blewthum, Côr Aberteifi A'r Cylch and the Pembrokeshire Youth Choir.

For the Royal National Eisteddfod, a mixed choir of some 200-300 voices is formed some two years before the Eisteddfod week begins, drawn from within the surrounding area of the Eisteddfod venue. The choir is required to perform various choral works and all the works are sung in Welsh.

The National Youth Choir of Wales was formed in 1994. The workshops and summer camps demand a lot of time from the choristers who come from all parts of Wales.

Today Cardiff is the seat of the Welsh National 0pera, which has risen above the provincial standard and whose choir, according to the estimation of Geraint Evans, can be compared without hesitation to that of the Scala in Milan.

4.3 Harp Music and "Cerrd Dant"

The harp is a national symbol, for the Welsh live performances of this instrument can be heard at the eisteddfods but also in many pubs. The greatest performer is Ossian Ellis. Among the other best-known Welsh harpists80 are Eleanor Bennett, Osian Ellis, David Watkins, Sian Jones, Ieuan Jones and Marie Goossens.

The "Queen of the Harp" Nansi Richards, an expert on both the triple and pedal harps, died in 1979. There has been a marked increase in harp playing, many young pupils being taught to play the instrument in schools. There is now an annual Nansi Richards Harp Scholarship competition for young harpists.81

In "Cerdd Dant"82, the penillion or verses are set to music in a sophisticated way (see previous reference). This art is still alive, especially at the Eisteddfods. Today it is not only performed to the accompaniment of the harp, but also to that of other instruments, such as the piano.

4.4 Solo Performers of Classical Music

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Dame Gwyneth Jones83, DBE, born 1936, is one of the greatest sopranos of our age. She performed for the first time as a professional soloist in Zurich in 1962. After her great success at Covent Garden in 1964 in the part of Trovatore's "Leonora" she had her final breakthrough in 1965 with her performance in Wagner's "Walküre".

Since then she has made her appearance in all the great opera houses in the world as a Wagner singer and in roles like "Madame Butterfly", "Aida", "Desdemona" or the Princess in Puccini's "Turandot".

Sir Geraint Evans,84 CBE, one of Britain's leading operatic

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

baritones, was born 1922 as son of a coal miner. He won a gold medal in a singing competition at the early age of four. In 1948 he joined the opera company at London's Covent Garden, He made his debut in "Die Meistersinger", then performed in the role of Figaro, Falstaff (his signature role), Papageno etc.

He sang in nearly all the great opera houses of the world: Milan, Salzburg, New York etc. He was knighted in 1969.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Bryn Terfel 85, is at the moment the most popular bass-baritone in the world. He has even been referred to as the bass-baritone of the 21st century. This tall man (1,92 m) was born in 1965 as son of a North Wales farmer. As a boy he was an extremely good athlete and sang in choirs. He took part in many eisteddfods (regional and national) and won several prizes in these.

In 1988 he won the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Scholarship and in 1989 the "Lieder Prize" in the Cardiff "Singer of the year" competition. In 1992 he won the titles "Young Singer of the Year" and in 1993 "Newcomer of the Year".

Among his operatic roles were Figaro, Don Giovanni and Jokanaan in Richard Strauss's "Salome". He has sung roles in Strauss's "Die Frau ohne Schatten" and in works by Richard Wagner and others. He is well known for lieder and songs (Franz Schubert, Kindertotenlieder by Gustav Mahler...) and for choral works (Frideric Handel, Edward Elgar, John Ireland...). With his great stature he is very imposing on stage. He has a charismatic personality and is so full of energy that he is able to captivate the audience by his fantastic performance. "His ability as a dramatic actor, coupled with a virtuosic command over his dark, resonant voice, made him one of the most highly sought-after of modern singers" (Britannica). The recording "Something Wonderful", with music of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (1997) was a huge success. "With a rich, warm, vibrant voice that was capable of expressive pianissimos as well as roaring fortissimos, he continued to stand out in the world of classical singing." (Britannica) Over the last years Terfel has become so popular that the papers even talked of "Terfelmania" spreading across the continents as far as Australia and the USA.

His favourite town from a musical point of view is Salzburg. It is amazing that Terfel is able to sing in German and also in Italian without a recognizable foreign accent. Apart from the singers mentioned above, others such Margaret Price, Helen Watts, Steward Borrows and Patricia Kearn have made Welsh opera voices famed throughout the world.

Aled Jones: His career began at a very young age at local eisteddfods and concerts. At the Urdd Eisteddfod in 1982, he won the solo and the Cerdd Dant solo competitions for competitors under 12. From 1980 he sang in the choir of Bangor Cathedral. 1985 he performed in front of the Queen, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with Dame John Sutherland and with Leonard Bernstein. Several of his 16 recordings went Gold and Platinum.86

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Wales' youngest great singing talent is 13-year-old Charlotte Church.87 Although so young, she already has the mature voice of a grown-up opera diva. She first presented her wonderful voice - "The Voice of an Angel" to the public on a TV show when she performed Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Pie Jesu". There she was discovered by the Sony Music UK chairman who signed her on at once.

From there on her career went straight up: She performed in many TV shows. Moreover she sang for personalities as important as the Pope and Prince Charles.

Charlotte's repertoire ranges from classical songs such as "Ave Maria" to Welsh folk songs. The success of her debut album "Voice of an Angel" shows how famous she really is and how her voice impresses her audience. With "Voice of an Angel" Charlotte became the youngest ever musician to reach no. 1 in the classical charts and so many copies of this album were sold in the USA that she received a gold disc for it.

Michael Wilson is a 15-year-old violinist, who was already impressing his audiences at the age of 7. In 1996 he began to study with Ruggerio Ricci, who described him as one of the most talented young musicians he had met in the last 40 years.88 Soon after he went to the Mozarteum in Salzburg and from there to the Academy of Music in Vienne. Gerhard Schulz is his tutor.

4.5 Orchestras

With the increasing popularity of television, the importance of the chapels in the Welsh mining villages slowly decreased. But an educational revival movement raised the standard of the teaching of music in schools considerably. This also proved to be of great impetus for instrumental and orchestra music in amateur as well as in professional circles.. The National Youth Orchestra of Wales above all has made a name for itself. It was founded soon after the 2nd World War in 1946 as the first youth orchestra in the world, 2 years before that of Great Britain. Many young people have chosen to play with this orchestra, although they had been nominated for the Great Britain Orchestra. A lot of composers, too, have held it in high esteem (e.g. Grace Williams, Alun Hoddinot etc.). Unfortunately, the orchestra has faced a funding crisis since its chief sponsor, B.P., withdrew its help.89

No less renowned is the National Orchestra of Wales for which many new musical works have been commissioned.

4.6 Composers

Quite a new phenomenon in the musical life of Wales is that there are a number of talented Composers of operas, symphonies and chamber music: Alun Hoddinot, William Matthias, Grace Williams, Daniel Jones and Morfydd Llwyn-Owen. Daniel Jones has described the Welsh character of their works as having four special features:

"Erstens bezeigen diese Komponisten ein besonderes Maßfür kunstvolle Gestaltung. Wie die altkeltischen Dichter unterwerfen sie sich gern komplexen Regeln. Zweitens - und im anscheinenden Widerspruch, ihre Gabe für die Improvisation, wie sie in der waliisischen Form des ,Penillion` streng disziplinierte Instrumentalbegleitung und gesangliche Improvisation verbindet. Drittens eine in Wort und Musik bezeigte Naturbegabung für die beredte Ausdrucksweise, die sich in rhapsodischem Eifer zu leidenschaftlicher Erregung steigert, wie zu dem ,Hwyl' eines Waliser Predigers.90 Viertens die aus lang zurückreichender Gesangstradition stammenden lyrischen, melodiösen Züge."91

The new opera "Tower" by Alun Hoddinot deals with a true story: the fight to keep the Tower Colliery working. The percussion base is important in this work, side by side with well- known songs.92

Probably the youngest Welsh composer is Ashley Hewitt (10 years old) from Blaenau Ffestiniog.93

4.7 Pop Music

94You would probably call him an icon for Welsh music: Tom Jones (Thomas John Woodward)95 or "Jones the Voice". The son of a miner has been enormously successful worldwide for over 30 years now. He is admired by thousands of fans because of his unique powerful voice and the great energetic performance he gives on stage. Tom Jones has a very large repertoire, which includes Rock'n'Roll as well as Blues & Country. His stage presence is so powerful and emotional that he captures his audience. Some of his most famous hits are: "Delilah","Love me Tonight", "I'll never fall in love again", "A boy from nowhere" and "Kiss". He exercises a magical attraction on women. "I am a man through and through. Voice, dance and sex become a unity in me." Ava Gardner: "This is the smell of the male animal, brutality and bewitching song". Since 1987 he has celebrated a great comeback with a new style of (Rap, House, Punk, Electronic).

Shirley Bassey96 grew up in the Tiger Bay dockland area of Cardiff. Her immense popularity in the USA led her to settle down there later in her career. She is perhaps most famous for her big hits "Goldfinger" (the title theme of the James Bond film) and "Big Spender". Mary Hopkin:97 Especially well known for her world success "Those were the days", which Paul McCartney wrote for her. In 1970 she represented Great Britain in the Eurovision song contest with the song "Who's There" and came second. In May 1999, after a break of nearly 30 years, she went on tour with the Irish group "The Chieftains" and had a successful comeback.98

"Man:99 "Band from Wales with its heart in San Francisco", has united the whole elite of Welsh rock music. They also play psychedelic music, blues and folk and are well- known for their harmonious group singing.

Dave Edmunds,100 born in Cardiff in 1944, an expressive singer and guitar player. From 1977 on he and Nick Low were the "dream couple of Rock'n'Roll". He also had a group of his own called "Love Sculpture".

"Amen Corner"101 was founded in 1966 by 7 school friends from Cardiff. They attracted many teenage fans and had their own TV series. In 1971 five of them formed a new group called "Fairweather", under the leadership of Andy Fairweather-Low. The probably most successful Welsh band at the moment are the "Manic Street Preachers"102, four accomplished musicians including Sean Moore on the drums who was the youngest trumpet player in the South Wales Jazz Orchestra.

They started in 1988 under a different name, but it was not until 1998 that they had their greatest triumph with their album "If you tolerate this, your children will be next"103 which reached no. 1 in the UK charts.

1999 has been the Manics' most successful year with the winning of the awards for being the Best British Group and for the Best Album ("This is my truth, tell me yours"). "Gorky's Zygotic Mynci"104 (Welsh phonetic spelling for 'monkey'), all from Carmarthen, started off during their school days in the mid '80s. The drummer of the group, Euros Rowlands, is by the way the son of the bard - and now arch druid - Dafydd Rowlands whose recitation of poetry is on the enclosed CD. The group's style of playing shows a very individual mixture of progressive rock, psychedelic and pure pop, and folk. The indie pop group "Catatonia"105 was formed in 1992/93. With Carys Mathews as the band's lead singer they reached their first great triumph when their album "Mulder and Scully" reached no. 3 in the UK charts in 1998. From then on their career made progress rapidly with 2 albums reaching no.1 in the charts. They are played frequently on MTV.

In the last few years Catatonia have become extremely successful and have even been on tour in Australia and New Zealand. The band's success is mainly due to Cery's extraordinary voice although she never had singing lessons. She has even performed with no one less than Tom Jones. The "Western Mail" wrote that she combines "all the best stereotypes of Wales: passion, gutsy vocals and a presence that cannot be equalled by any other nation".106 The success career of the "Stereophonics"107 started in 1996 when they went on tours with other, more famous bands such as the "Manic Street Preachers" or "The Who". In 1997 they recorded their debut album that reached no. 6 in the charts and in 1998 even went gold in the UK. The UK tour that followed was sold out and the New Musical Express called them the "Princes of Wales". Their success has continued all over the world, especially in France, Australia and Japan.

In 1999 the group achieved a number one hit with the album "Performance and Cocktails". They also managed to stage the biggest ever concert by Welsh musicians at Swansea's Morfa Stadium. They have a vast number of fans, whose pride in the band's Welsh heritage can be seen in the "uniform" they like to wear at concerts - the Welsh flag.

Other popular groups are "Super Furry Animals" (who, together with the "Manic Street Preachers", head the list of popular Welsh groups at present), "Cwlwm", "Eden" and "Epik" (earlier known as "Section Five") whose members consist of senior pupils at Milford Haven comprehensive school in Pembrokeshire.

4.8 Folk Singing

108For years Wales lagged behind the other Celtic countries in the field of folk but meanwhile the situation has improved.

Dafydd Iwan (known as "The Voice of Cymru") is probably the best-known modern folk singer in Wales. He is so proud of Wales that he not only uses the Welsh language (the "Language of Heaven") but also sings about the main problem that has always concerned the Welsh: the problem of fighting for freedom and independence from England.109 The group "Mabsant" has collected the best-loved Welsh folk songs for their performances.110

Other popular folk singers or groups are: Leah Owen111 - well-known as penillion singer -,"Aberjaber", "Ar Log", "Plethyn", "Mynediad am Ddim", Meic Stevens, "Cilmeri", "Cromlech", "Yr Hwntws" and "Pererin".

Final Comment

In various works of literature, Wales is depicted as "Land of Song". This is also the case in "How green was my valley" by Richard Llewllyn that describes life in a coal-mining district in South Wales during the reign of Queen Victoria.

One passage describes how the miners return to work after a strike. Their leader starts singing:

"As soon as they heard his voice, tenors and altos waited for their turn, then the baritones and basses, and then the women and children. As soon as all singing started, all the doors opened all the way down the hill. (...) I heard the rich voices rising in many harmonies, borne upward upon the mists which flew from singing mouths (...) and round about us the valley echoed with the hymn..."112

The singing in church services is described later in the book:

"The hymn, then, (...) More hymns and everybody singing strong and deep and marvellous on the beat, with the last two words of each verse falling upon us from the roof, and the pauses for breath filled in by the sounding glory of one of the tone just flown".113

Singing also played a big part in family life - Boxing Day with the Morgan family and their friends:

"So big was the harp in the kitchen that the harpist had to sit in the doorway. (...) But the fingers of Miss Jenkins on the strings of the harp took all feeling from us, excepting the joy of song and the desire to sing. Songs and part-songs, cantatas, arias and dance melodies, hymns and psalms. (...) Now the men singing, now the women!" 114

Music is not only to be found in the songs of Wales but also in its poetry. It is worth listening to a Bard such as Dyfydd Rowlands reciting one of his poems (on the enclosed CD!), even if you do not understand one word.

Keen Anglicists have, after thorough analysis of the poems of Dylan Thomas, provided the clear proof that the strongly formal emphasis in his works derives exclusively from his Welsh origins and therefore from his ancestry from the old bards of the 6th century.115 Dylan Thomas never played the harp, he made do with the sound of his voice - and it was a voice that stayed in the memory of all who had once heard it! (cf. enclosed recordings!) In the ,Final Report` by the Royal Commission on University Education in Wales of 1918 we read:

"It may, indeed, be said without exaggeration that Wales is a land of singers, and that she has the power of making, in music, a contribution to the art of the world which is comparable to the highest achievements of painting or poetry or sculpture. The beauty and variety of her folk-songs, the strength and dignity of her traditional hymn-tunes, her gift of spontaneous part-singing and of ready improvisation all combine into an endowment of natural resources which, if fully utilized, will place her among the first musical countries(...)"116

I believe that this may still be said today...!


List of Sources:

Attenburrow, R. B. (ed.), Fifty glorious weeks, 1947-1996, The Llangollen International

Musical Eisteddfod, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, 1996

Bingley, W., North Wales; including its Scenery, Antiquities, Customs, London, T. N.

Longman and O. Rees, 1804, Vol. II, Chapter XXV: Sketch of the History of the Wels Bards and Music, p. 311 - 342

Graves, B. / Schmitt-Joos, S., das neue rocklexikon, 2 volumes, Reinbek, Rowohlt, 1990 Graves, B. / Schmitt-Joos, S., Halbscheffel, B., das neue rocklexikon, 2 volumes, Reinbek, Rowohlt, 1998

Edwards, H. T., The Eisteddfod, Cardiff, University of Wales Press, 1990

Encarta Enzyklopädie 2000 (CD-ROM), Microsoft, 1999

Encyclopaedia Britannica , CD 99, NeoLogic Systems, Inc., 1999

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (ed.), Fifty Glorious Weeks 1947 - 1996,

published by the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, 1996

Llewellyn, R., How green was my valley. 1939; Bungay, Penguin Books, 1951

Richards, B., The Songs of Wales, London and New York, Boosey & Co., 1873

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, London, Oxford University Press, 1964 2

Wales, Merian Heft 6/XXVII, Düsseldorf, Hoffmann und Campe Verlag

Williams, G., Valleys of Song, Music and Society in Wales 1840 - 1914, Cardiff, University of Wales Press, 1998

Williams, W. S. G., Welsh National Music and Dance, London, J. Curwen & Sons, 1933

Newspapers, especially "Western Mail" (cf. file of documents)

Internet Sites (cf. file of documents)

Video films and recordings (cf. enclosed video tape and CD)

A lot of my information was gained through personal acquaintance with Welsh culture and questions answered by Welsh relatives and friends, especially by Glenys Jones and Nancy Lewis.

List of Enclosed Recordings on CD

Welsh "Hwyl" (Sermon of Revd Philip Jones)

Cymanfa Ganu, August 13, 1972, Eisteddfod Haverfordwest (private recording):

"In Memoriam" (My grandfather wrote an English hymn to this tune, cf. file of documents) Pontarddulais Male Choir: "Bryn Myrddin"

Rachel Ann Morgan: "Ar Hyd y Nos" ("All Through the Night") Bryn Terfel: "Ehi! Paggio!... L'Onore!" (Falstaff) Aled Jones: "Hwiangeridd Mair"

Charlotte Church: "Pie Jesu" Tom Jones: "Kiss"

Shirley Bassey: "In Other words" Mary Hopkin: "Y Blodyn Gwyn"

Manic Street Preachers: "If You Tolerate This" Gorky's Zygotic Mynci: "Pentref Wrth y Mor" Catatonia: "Dream On"

Stereophonics: "Hurry Up and Wait"

Dafydd Iwan and Ar log: "Cerddwn Ymlan" Ar Log: "Dau Rosyn Coch"

Plethyn: "Mi Gysgi Di'Maban"

Mynediad am Ddim: "Y G'lomen" Leah Owen:

- "Ddoi di dei"

- "Llef Dros y Lleiafrifoedd" (Penillion)

Dylan Thomas reading "Under Milkwood" (Beginning), Cast recording May 14, 1953 Dylan Thomas: "And Death Shall Have No Dominion"

Bard Dafydd Rowlands (now archdruid), reading his Crown Poem "Dadeni", August 1972, Eisteddfod Haverfordwest (private live recording)

List of Enclosed Video Films

The International Eisteddfod of Wales ('National Eisteddfod of Wales' promotional video) - 7 minutes

Scenes from The International Eisteddfod of Wales- Musical contests - (H.T.V. report

'A visit to the Eisteddfod 98', August 8, 1998) - 7 minutes

Practice with the Cardiff Male Voice Choir (excerpts of the video 'Wales', Niedernhausen, Bassermann) - 4 minutes

Folk Dances at the National Eisteddfod (from 'Homeland Wales', vol. 1, Homeland Wales, Cowbridge, 1990 - 1 minute

'Bryn Terfel - Musik im Herzen' (documentation by Nigel Wattis 1996/97; recorded from Bayern 3, 06-01-2000) - 40 minutes

Separate File of Documents (Newspaper cuttings, Web pages etc.)

Ich erkläre hiermit, dass ich die Facharbeit ohne fremde Hilfe angefertigt und nur die im Literaturverzeichnis angeführten Quellen und Hilfsmittel benützt habe.

Ebermannsdorf, 23.01.2000


1 cf. copy of medal in file of documents

2 cf. file of documents

3 cf. Williams, W. S. G., Welsh National Music and Dance, London, J. Curwen & Sons, 1933, p. 4

4 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 5

5 cf. Caesar, Gallic War, Book VI, Chap XIV, as cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 6

6 cf. Fragmenta Historicum Graecorum, Vol III, pp. 259-60, as cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 6

7 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 12

8 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 12

9 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 13

10 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 14

11 cf. Bingley, W., North Wales; including its Scenery, Antiquities, Customs, London, T. N. Longman and O. Rees, 1804, Vol. II, Chapter XXV: Sketch of the History of the Wels Bards and Music, 312-314

12 Poet and singer competitions; the word means "session of learned men" [< eistedd = to sit]

13 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 19

14 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 22

15 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 24; The Chairing of the Bard is still part of the Eisteddfod tradition!

16 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 25

17 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 29

18 cf. Gwentian Brut as cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 35

19 cf. Bingley, W., p. 319

20 cf. Bingley, W., p. 321

21 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 30/31

22 cf. page of Robert ap Huw Manuscript, as cited in Williams, W.S.G., front page

23 cf. Bingley, W., p. 322

24 as cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 35/36

25 cf. Williams, W.S.G., 40

26 cf. Geraldus, as cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 40

27 cf. Bingley, W., p. 341

28 as cited in Bingley, W., p. 342

29 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 40/42

30 cf. Sir John Rhys, as cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 50

31 as cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 51

32 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 52

33 as cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 51

34 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 56; penillion means - literally translated - 'verses'

35 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 60/61

36 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 61

37 cf. example for the Welsh 'hwyl' in a sermon on the enclosed CD

38 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 70

39 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 74; cf. recording on the enclosed CD: Cymanfa Ganu, August 13, 1972

40 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 81

41 cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 83

42 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 103-104 (copy in file of documents)

43 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 93; c.f. Richards, B. (copies from cover and p. 8-9 in file of documents)

44 cf. Bingley, W., p. 331

45 cf. Williams, W.S.G., p. 86

46 Williams, G., Valleys of Song, Music and Society in Wales 1840 - 1914, Cardiff, University of Wales Press, 1998, p. 9

47 cf. Williams, G., Valleys of Song, Music and Society in Wales 1840-1914, Cardiff 1998 (photo of book cover in file of documents)

48 means ,North Wales men'

49 cf. file of documents: "Proclaiming the National Eisteddfod of 1887"

50 Williams, G., p. 20

51 cf. Williams, G., p. 21

52 cf. Williams, G., p. 21

53 "gathering for song" ("cymanfa" = assembly, "canu" = song)

54 cf. Williams, G., p. 24

55 cf. Williams, G., p. 26/27

56 listen to the hymn "Myrddin" on the CD (sung by the Potarddulais male choir)

57 cf. Williams, G., p. 22 and 26; Sol-fa is a simplified method of writing down notes and rhythm and still very popular in Wales (cf. example in file of documents)

58 cf. Williams, G., p. 32/33

59 cf. Williams, G., p. 90

60 cf. Williams, G., p. 2

61 Musical Time, Sept. 1897, p. 607, as cited in Williams, G., p. 2)

62 cf. Williams, G., p. 140

63 all information about Revd. John Roberts: Williams, G., p. 26-31

64 all information about Caradog: Williams, G., p. 40-53

65 all information about the Rhondda Gleemen: Williams, G., p. 123-125

66 cf. Williams, G., p. 127-130

67 all information about Dr Joseph Parry: Williams, G., p. 70-90

68 Musical Herald, September 1911, p. 264 as cited in Williams, G., p. 3

69 cf. Williams, G., p.153-156

70 as cited in Williams, G., p. 224 (footnote 17)

71 cf. the Crown Poem of the Bard Dyfydd Rowlands (Eisteddfod 1972) on the enclosed CD

72 cf. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, London, Oxford University Press, 1964 2, p. 177

73 Dylan Thomas, Quite Early One Morning, as cited in: Attenburrow, R. B. (ed.), Fifty glorious weeks, 1947-1996, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, 1996, p. 10-13 (cf. full text in file of documents)

74 cf. file of documents and enclosed CD

75 cf.

76 cf. Western Mail Magazine, 13-03-1999 and record cover

77 cf. Western Mail Magazine 13-03-1999

78 cf. record cover in file of documents

79 cf. record cover with photo in file of documents

80 cf. recording with Rachel Ann Morgan (harp and voice) on the enclosed CD

81 cf. Daily Mail 18-05-1999

82 literally: "string music" (harp music) cf. example on the enclosed CD (Leah Owen: "Lef dros y lleiafrifoedd")

83 Information from Encarta;,128

84 Information from: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, Britannica, Encarta 2000

85 Information from Britannica, a TV portrait in ARTE, record covers, Western Mail, St. David's Day 1999,

86 cf. record covers; listen to recording on the enclosed CD

87 cf.;; cf. recording on the enclosed CD

88 cf. Western Mail, 08-05-1999

89 Leader on the world stage, Daily Mail, 15-07-1995

90 cf. recording on the enclosed CD

91 as cited in: Roland Hill, Im Land der Barden und Chöre, in: Wales, Merian Heft 6/XXVII, p. 62

92 cf. Western Mail, 25-10-1999

93 cf. Western Mail, 05-10-1999

94 cf. recordings on the enclosed CD

95 das neue rocklexikon vol.1, 1998; record cover,

96 cf. recording on enclosed CD

97 das neue rocklexikon vol.1, 1990, p. 364

98 cf. Western Mail, 21-04-1999

99 das neue rocklexikon vol.2, 1998, p. 568

100 das neue rocklexikon vol.1, 1998, p. 297-298

101 das neue rocklexikon vol.1, 1998, p. 51-52

102 cf. Western Mail, 10-04 and 19-04-1999;

103 Listen to it on the enclosed CD!

104 cf.

105 cf. Western Mail, 01-03 an 03-03 and 02-04-1999;

106 Western Mail, 02-04-1999

107 cf. Western Mail, 10-04 and 02-08-1999;

108 cf. recordings on the enclosed CD

109 cf.

110 cf.

111 Listen to her singing o the enclosed CD!

112 cf. Llewellyn, R., How green was my valley. 1939; Bungay, Penguin Books, 1951, p. 21

113 cf. Llewellyn, R., p. 95

114 cf. Llewellyn, R., p. 87

115 cf. Carl Brinitzer, in: Des Dylan Thomas 'gebrauchte Seele', in: Wales, Merian Heft 6/XXVII, p. 36

116 as cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 77/78


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Walisische Musik und Sänger/innen



Titel: Wales - Land of Song