Symud i'r prif gynnwys
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38 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

WELSH SINGERS AND THEIR CRITICS,

Newyddion
Dyfynnu
Rhannu

1 By D. EMLYN EVANS. WELSH SINGERS AND THEIR CRITICS, A correspondent writes to us apropos the paucity of Welsh choirs at the Colwyn 11&1 National Eisteddfod and the charge of lack o' pluck brought against them by Press critics of English newspapers, and says: The results of the Gloucester Triennial FeS' tival carry a. lesson which is a rather sant practical demonstration of the fact t,bat the English people generally are not very aP' preciative of Elgar and his school. It is in sense an effective reply to the familiar sneers—of the musical correspondent of the Cottonopolis organ, and others of that coterie, over the alleged funk of Wclsb choirs on account of the difficulties of the piece In the chief choral competition."—It ,ill be remembered that the three contesting choirs were the Rhymney Gwcnt, North' Staffordshire, and Southport choirs. The critics were, however, somewhat too previoO3 —in too much of a hurry, for had they only waited till t.1e following day they would found that their strictures were out of pl¡¡.Ce, as the choral entries in the second competition —one of the test subjects there also being Elgar composition—consisted of three Welsh choirs (Bangor, Cefnmawr, and TrecywO) and one English (Crewe). As a matter of fact* Deep in my soul," the Elgar selection in the second choral competition, was a considerably more difficult test than his O wild west wind," in the chief choral. Fancy," says the editor of the School Music Reyiew," asking the second choral mixed-voice class to sing Elgar's inmy soul'—a virtuoso piece, of ext reme tonal difficulty The hoity" toity mightiness of some of these critics is something amusing. They come among us-— an act of condescension on their part. no doubt —to teach us; and we are not above being taught, I hope. but to write in the vein of this mair will teach no one." The writer proceeds to explain why WeJsh choirs do not come for- ward in greater number at our national gather" ings, and says,there were" good reasons for it, but that' funk is certainly not one of them- It cost the Rhymney choir jE150 to come to Colwyn Bay, and that was the amount of the first prize offered there—had they succeeded in winning it. Under the most favourable circurn* stances they would have only had the bare honour. Eisteddfod Committees, our correspondent informs us—and he is an acknowledged expert on the question of eisteddfod engineering—can* not afford bigger prizes, and there are but places in Wales that can nowadays afford to get up National Eisteddfod choirs either- Soloists, quartettist s, etc., can go but to get a choir together is another matter— a reapon* sibility and an undertaking that cannot b6 lightly undertaken and brought to a successful issue. Of course, it would be but natural to ask here, where were the choirs of North Wales that were within near reach of Colwyn Bay, whose travelling expenses at least wo»J4 be but small ? The well-informed musica* reader will at once realise that at least twG North Wales resident conductors were other* wise engaged at the Eisteddfod—one as an ad" judicator, and the other as conductor of tht Eisteddfod Choir—and if we eliminate tht" two towns and districts represented by thcSØ gentlemen—Bangor and Carnarvon respectively —from that part of the country, what would remain, in the shape of material for the forma* tion of choirs of the first class, would be but limited both as to quality and quantity witb the exception of Wrexham possibly, and poPU" lous places adjacent, such as Rhos, etc.; hub, Wrexham itseif has not, of late years at least* been prominently to the fore at the Eistedd" fod, nor very active in musical work generallyo When circumstances are flourishing among thf quarrvmen of Bethesda, Llanberis, and FeS' tiniog none are more enthusiastic and devoted to musical work than they but even theit chief efforts at the National and other leading eisteddfodau, are confined as a rule to maltl voice combinations. What they may dõ in connection with mixed voice hoirS is to render supplementary assistance to tb4 ce ntral choral society in the chief town of tM district- Llanberis joining Carnarvon, Bethcsd" ditto Bangor, and Rhos, <fcc., may do similarly with Wrexham, and so help- to establish choir that would be neither of small propo** tions nor mean ability.. This is more nee" essary in North than South Wales on aecouO* of the comparative smallness of the towns and the sparse population. But there are other people than these nd admirari gentlemen, who know their Wales* its music, and its musicians far better than they, and who have given mach tboagbt to the question regarding the position of Welsh cboirS which has been exercising and, more or less, agitating the country of late years. The cauac of the defeat of Welsh choirs is not to be found in their alleged want of pluck, and inability to tackle difficult modern music- The particular rase in point, se- lected by their critics as shown effectually disposes of that charge, in that instance anyhow; and their past history bo that they have not lacked courage. Indeed. I were nearer the mark. possibly,to attribute toO much temerity to them, and not to count « cost and sufficiently prepare and equip themselves before hand—just about the faults as those committed by their Celtic fore- fathers centuries ago,though in a very different" kind of tournament. The lesson has been taught to those humble enough to learn-tb sometime, and repeatedly, so that nothing W"1 he gained by again beating thrashed The inhabitants of this little Wales of our* have been gifted with the best of natural vocal powers it is for them to develop and make use of them. To go and hide their talent in the earth will not do. No doubt present-day music makes excessive demandt upon the singers;J nevertheles what can b^ accomplished by one choir can be accomplished by another equally gifted and equally pains- taking. It may be as well to add here that the refer* ence of our correspondent to the GloucesW Festival at the commencement of his remarks* is in regard to the fact that, notwithstanding the onslaughts of the modern Ensrlish musicaj critic on the Messiah and Elijah," and that such musicians as Elgar, Hubert Parry' Harford Lloyd, Lee Williams, GranVille Ban* tock, Vaughan Williams, and Basil Harwood, were conducting their respective works at tbØ Festival; the oratorios of Handel and Me delssohn more than held their own, as testitieu by the increased congregation which came gether to those performances.

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