ο»Ώ BORTH EISTEDDFOD.|1887-07-05|The Visitors' List and Guide for Aberystwyth Aberayron Borth Aberdovey Towyn C - Welsh Newspapers Online
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-BORTH.

ABERDOVEY. I

PONTRHYDFENDIGAID. I

TREGARON. I

CILCENNIN.

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BORTH EISTEDDFOD.

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BORTH EISTEDDFOD. Friday, July 1st, was a day anxiously looked for. ward to, and will be Ion;: remembered, by the inhabi- tants of Borth. An opportunity of celebrating the jubilee year of Her Maj-jssty suege.steii itself to the minds of two or three of the most active and energetic residents in such a manner as misrht prove of im- mense advantage to the village, and the idoa of hold- ing an eisteddfod, on a kicale of considerable magni- tude, was taken up with Ilreat spirit and unanimity by the villagers generally, the proceeils; of which will be devoted to a defence fund now being formed. The attacking enemy of Borth is the sea, which, during the winter months, has many times threatened de- struction to the hearths and homes of the villagers. Attempts have been made to prevent the waves mak- ing inroads upon the village, but a scarcity of capital has prevented any permanent work being done, and it was in order to attempt to provide funds that an eisteddfod was agreed upon. There is always much labour entailed upon those who become responsible for the getting up and management of so serious an undertaking; but the committee, in this instance, went cheerfully to work, and, favoured with splendid weather, good train accommodation, and the advan- tage of Bor rh beingafavourito resortof holiday makers the result was a grand and unmistakeable success. The committee appointed to carry out the proceed- ings were—Mr A. L. Lewis, Capt Jonos, Tyrnawr, Messrs. J. Enos, D. Owen (schoolmaster), D. Lewis, Raglan House, Thomas Gough, Abraham Davies, J. Francis, E. W. Jones, John Ellis, R. P. Roberts, H. James, Dr. John Jones. Messrs. W. H. Ody, Wm. Hughes, Wm. Williams (Morland House), Wm Jones, Brynowen. Richard Jones (Cambrian Place), Richard James (Brynllys), Isaac Lloyd, Hugh Rees, Rev. G. Roderick (curate), Thomas Jenkins (Penygoilan) Col. Fielden, David Hughes (Friendship), George Lewis (Cambrian Hotel), Wm. Stinchcombe, Evan Evans (Windsor House), Robert Owen. John Williams (Glanwern), John Jones (Glanlerry), Evan Hughes, Evan Jones (mason); W. D. Jones, John Hughes Jones (A-berdovey), Hooten (AKerdovey), David Jones (Ynysforgi), Hug-h Hnyhes (Imperial House), David Jenkins (Alma-plaoo), John Jenkins (Florenco- place), and W. O. Koberts. Mr D. Lewia undertook the duties of treasurer, and Capt J. Jones (Tymawr) and Mr D. Owen were the hon. secretaries. A guar- antee fund was formed, so as to bo prepared for a loss if disaster should come; but circumstances com- bined to favour the undertaking, and there is a good balance on the right side. The committee was a strong and thoroughly representative one, and all performed their several duties in a consistent and practical manner. Friday morning dawned as gloriously bright as the mornings had done for the preceding three weeks, and, as far as the weather was concerned, all doubts were set at rest. The first excursion train to arrive was one from Newtown, in which there were between 600 and 700 people, including the Severn Valley (Newtown) choir,and the Newtown brass band, attired in their bright military uniform. Some oftheseexcur- sionists passed through to Aberystwyth, and returned to Borth in the afternoon. A heavy train arrived at Aberystwyth at ten o'clock from the southern part of the county, per Manchester and Milford Railway, and were transferred to the Cambrian Railways, and conveyed to Borth. Among these were about 180 from Talsarn, comprising a choir which competed for the chief prize. Other trains arrived during the morning, so that Borth soon presented a scene of bustle and lively enjoyment which it does not assume even when the holiday season is at its height. Hun- dreds of people either drove or walked in from the neighbouring country, while Merionethshire, Mont- gomeryshire, and Cardiganshire generally contributed their full quotas, so that it is no exaggeration to say that there were thousands in the village. The villagers were fully alive to the importance of the occasion, and had dressed their one long street in the gayest fashion. Flags and banners floated in the breeze with the most marked profusion, and there was every indication of a gala day. Among those who chiefly contributed to th6 success of the decora- tions were Mr Roberts, draper, who had a span (of streamers stretching across the road, Capt Jones, Tymawr, Mr A. L. Lewis, and Mr David Hughes (Friendship), the three latter displaying flags of many colours stretching across the street. Added to these, many others hung bunting from their windows, so that when standing near the Cambrian Hot-1 the effect was very pretty and pleasing to the eye. From early morn the attractions of the beach seemed to compete very largely with those of the eisteddfod, and certainly a good "blow" straight from the sea, on a hot day, under a blazing noonday July sun, must have been truly refreshing to those who are hemmed in inland towns almost the year round. But hun- dreds of those who availed themselves of a. cheap trip to "Uppingham-on the-Sea" remained loyal to the purpose for which they made holiday, and proceeded to the rendezvous where so many scores were to ongage in friendly struggles and to afford pleasure for the listeners. An excellent wooden pavilion had been erected on an eminence on the common, and adjoining the Uppingham footpath, which, by the way, will take the wayfarer to the grave of the im- mortal bard Taliesin, and if the spirit of the revered bard was hovering near on Friday, it must have been 'Or"a cheered with the gladsome and harmonious sounds which were wafted to the heavens by so many hun- dreds of tunesome voices. The contract for the erectien of the pavilion was let to Mr John Hughes Jones, Aberdovey, for .£21, out of which Mr Jones very generously handed back .£2 to the treasurer. Mr Jones's met were assisted by several of the mem- bers of the committee in putting up the structure, otherwise he could not have undertaken the work so cheaply it was a good substantial building, capable of holding about 3,000 people, and, all things con- sidered, was as convenient and comfortable as it could be possibly made. The committee adopted an excellent plan for greventine those who wished to hear the proceedings without payment doing so, by placing ticket-viewers some two hundred yards dis- tance below the pavilion, and, again, no one could enter the enclosure without showing the necessary passport. This was of double advantage, and pre- vented the building being over-crowded during any part of the day, and the boarding at the upper end of the pavilion was taken down, and those who remained outside could see aud hear equally as well as those inside. The proceedings were announced to commence at eleven o'clock, but it was twelve before a start was made. Mr Vaughan Davies, Tanybwlch, was the chairman, and on entering the pavilion he Was loudly cheered. The musical adjudicators were Messrs W. T. Rees (Alaw Ddu) and J. T. Rees, A.C., Bron- ceirio, two gentlemen well qualified for the duties de. manded of them, and whose adjudications on this occasion were, we believe, unquestioned. Mr John J. Jones, draper, Machynlleth, made an excellent conductor, hia ready witticisms creating much mirth. Professor R. Davies, L.E.R.C.M. (Rolando), was the accompanist, and he very efficiently discharged his duties. The artistes were Miss Maggie Ivor Jones, R.A.M., and Ap Glaslyn, of whom more anon. The eisteddfod was opened by the audience singing Hen wlad fy Nhadau," after which the conductor intro- duced the chairman (Mr Vaughan Davies) to the meeting, at the same time Asking them to give him a hearty welcome, which the audience did not fail to do. The Chairman said it was usual on occasions of that kind for their president to go into the history of eisteddfodau, but, speaking as he was to a large number of Welsh people, he did not thftlk it was necessary for him to tell how ancient an institution it was. It had been handed down to them through centuries, and he hoped that they would hand it down to those who would come after them; they ought to support the eisteddfod, not only because it was ancient, but because it had a wonderful effect upon the people of Wales. There was no part of the United Kingdom or her Majesty's dominions, where the people were so loyal and so law-abiding as the Welsh, and he believed the reason was because they were a musical nation (cheers). Music was part and parcel of their inheritance, and they all knew that music charmed thd wildest of people. It was there- fore with the greatest pleasure that he came there to preside over a national institution. Not only were the Welsh a law-abiding people, but when judges came into the country all they had to do was nimply to receive a pair of white gloves and then go back again (applause). The chief cause of this was he believed, because they stood by music, and they stood by their own national traits. There were two other reasons why he was pleased to be there that day. First, this was a year which was remarkable in the history of our country, and the proceedings of the last fortnight had stamped England as second to no other nation in the world, for the way in which they had received their Queen. If any ot' them had happened to be in London they would have seen a sight such as which he believed had never been seen before, and which history would never repeat. There was a woman, a ruler over this mighty nation, sur- rounded by kings and princes, all of whom were gathered to do her honour, and s-lio was also snr- rounded by millions of men and women, and had been received in a manner which had never been con- ceited. He wa* out in the streets of Loudon for tea or fourteen hours, and there was not a rude or dis- courteous word which ho heard during the whole of that time. Such a sight not only spoke well fer the sovereign, but also for the people of this country, and it was in celebration of that jubilee they were met together that day (applause). The other matter which afforded him pleasure in being there that day was one of more immediate interest to all present; the eisteddfod was held not only to honour the sovereign, but to help the people of Borth in a terrible struggle for their hearths and homes. Many of them who saw the sea in the calm manner they saw it that morning could not guess what the people had to £ ght against in the winter months often and often when the husband and father was at sea the the mother and children had to stay behind and watch the inroads of the mighty ocean, which threatened to sweep their homes from them. He trusted that many of those who were sufficiently wealthy would hpip the people of Borth in maintain- ing their homes. In helping them to pen in their homes he was there that day, and in that great cause he asked his audience to uive their help for the people of Borth to defend their homes from the inroads and ravages of the sea (applause) The musical proceedings were of the chief interest, and the eisteddfod was practically a musical eistedd- fod, as no prizes were offered for poetical composi- tions. Of the two adjudicators, Mr W. T. Rees (Alaw Ddu), Llanelly, is a veteran composer, who has done great service to Welsh music, especially in con- nection with the Cerddor y Cymru," of which he was editor. Mr J. T. Rees, A.C., Bow-street, although a young musician, has done great things, and of whom more is expected. He was trained by Dr Parry at the U.C.W., and since that tiii.- his career has been very successful. Mr David Jenkins, Mus. Bac., Aber- ystwyth (who was present in a private capacity), is, along with Dr Joseph Parry, the acknowledged head of the Welsh musical world, and is well known in English musical circles on accouut of his admirable compositions. Besides this trio of musical celebrities, there were numerous other musicians present, of more or less note. The firilt musical contest was the com- petition for playing on the pianoforte "The harp that once through Tara's halls." Eleven juveniles came forward; and the audience was inflicted at the very commencement of the proceedings with the torture of listening to this large number strumming away at a tame and tedious piece. Even the ardour of an en- thusiast will cool when subjeoted to such a test as this. Happily, in the other solo contests, the com- petitors were pruned by Mr J. T. Rees, who subjected the candidates to a preliminary test in one of the chapels in the village. The successful player was Miss Amy Lewis, Borth, who was awarded the prize. Four ladies competed for the soprano solo, Dros y mor, for juveniles under 15 years of age. The prize was divided between two competitors from Machyn- lleth, whose names were not announced. For render- ing the tenor solo, Pan flagurai blodau Mai (J. T. Rees), for which a prize of XI was offered by Dr Jones, Borth, three competitors (out of 22 that com- peted) were selected to sing in the eisteddfod. Mr Arthur Jones, Newtown, was adjudged the best of these. It may be worth mentioning that Mr J. T. Rees, A.C., the compeser of this delicious little in- spiration, obtained only a few shillings for it, as the result of a competition in the Cerddor y Cymry," his co-adjudicator on the present occasion being the adjudicator. In the duet competition—tenor and basoi-for singing Love and war," four parties com- peted. The best were Mr Dan Jenkins, schoolmaster, Llanfair-Clydogau, and Mr Nii holas, schoolmaster, Tieza,ron, who gave a very excellent rendering. A party from Talybont, and the Messrs Jones and Jenkins, Newtown, gave also a fair rendering. A prize of 10s. was offered for the composition of a tune suitable for Sunday schools. The adjudicators an- nounced that they had received 25 compositions, many of which were of a high class, but they had no hesitation in awarding the prize to "Brysiog," who turned out to be Mr L. J. Roberts, A.C., Aberayron, a young man who has obtained numerous similar prizes for composition, and who is at present a student at St David's College. For the best rendering of Dr Parry's trio, God be merciful," three parties came forward, the best being Mr A. Jones, Newtown. and friends, who gave a magnificent rendering. These three parties were selected trom others which were j separately tried, and Mr J. T. Rees, A.C., highly praised the singing of the successful party. A prize of JBIO was offered tor the best rendering by a brass band of selections from Spohr's Last Judgment." Only the Newtown brass band, conducted by Mr Taylor, came forward; it is one of the best in the Principality, and was declared worthy of the prize. Two juvenile choirs competed for the prize of .£3 for rendering "Hallelujah am y Groes," viz.. Machyn- lleth, led by Mr E. Meredith Jones and Borth, led by Miss Watkins. Mr J. T. Rees, in announcing their decision, said they could not do better than divide the prize between the two choirs. The sum ofRIO was offered for the best rendering of the glee Mai" (J. Thomas, Llanwrtyd). Three choirs competed, viz., Llansantffraid (Montgomeryshire), Talybont, and Penygarn, led by Mr T. Jones. In this competi- tion only Alaw Ddu adjudicated, and he awarded the prize to Talybent. Two choirs consisting of male voices contested the prize of £ 5 offered for the best rendering of M Y Gof," by Mr D. Jenkins, Mus. Bac., Aberystwyth, a composer who has specially dis. tinguished himself in this branch of composition. The best was the Severn Glee Society, Newtown. "Merion," Towyn, was the beat out of 18 competitors for singing the bass solo, "Why do the nations" (Handel's Messiah), and was awarded the prize of .21. The prizes for rendering the duet, Tylawd a'r Cyfoethog" (Alaw Ddu), and the quartette from "Jeremiah" (Owain Alaw) were withheld. THE CHIEY CHORAL COMPETITION BY AN ABER. AYBON MUSICIAN. The chief interest of course centred as usual in the chief choral competition. A prize of £ 25, and a metronome to the conductor, was offered for the best rendering, by choirs not under sixty in number, of | the Hallelujah Chorus," Handel's masterpiece, and which cannot be more fitly described than in the words of the great composer himself, I did think I did see all heaveu before me, and the great God Him- self." Four choirs came forward, and sang in the following order :-Machynlleth, conducted by Mr John Williams; Newtown, by Mr W. Jenkins; Vale of Aeron (Talsarn), by Mr John Davies, A.C., Dow- lais; and Aberdovey, by Mr John Davies, station- master. All the choirs numbered from about 80 to 130; the most powerful numerically being New- town, and the least, Aberdovey. The contest was a keen and exciting one, especially between the nrst three choirs that sang. A competition of this kind provokes many reflections. It is easy and most gratifying to observe how strongly attached the Welsh race is to music, and how singularly power of voice and feeling for expression have been evolved side by side with a beautiful national music. Eistedd- fodau have wrought wonderful results in encourag- ing strenuous practice and in setting up iddals and standards of perfection. Three of the choirs sang very impressively, for they had each in some degree grasped the dignity and sublimity of this grand out- burst of praise. Yet even the best left something to be desired. The splendid quality of the Welsh voices was very noticeable, especially in the Maoh- ynlleth and Newtown choirs; and indeed the bass voices in all the choirs were almost magnificent. The contest lay evidently between Machynlleth, Newt Iwn, and the Vale of Aeron. The lavt men- tioned choir was of a different type to the other two; voices inferior, bnt working of the ideas and the c imax superior. The voices of the Machynlleth and Newtown choirs were of the same calibre--clear and resonant; and their general rendering of the piecai, was much the same. It needed a kwen judge to decide as to their respective merits. In both, the same defect was evident, viz., a tendency to quicken the tempo in their enthusiasm. The Talsarn (Vale of Aerou; choir li.id a fatal drawback. The sopranos were far from being clear, and their intonation not at all times perfect. The choi- was, howevor, under- splendid drill, and their general interpretation of the piece was much more intelligent than the rest. Individual voices, however, spoiled the effect. Some of the trebles possessed voices of a pT.otrating, teething quality, which marred the performance and militated against the srce*»*s of the choir. The conducting of :\lr Davies—who i* a brotner to the now celebrated conductor, Mr DaJl Dfvics, A.C., Dowlais, who is in no vvis,! inferior to "Ca:adog," toi say the leallt-wall :t study. az;d would be imitated with advantage by all th- other conduct rs. All the-, choirs were accompanied on tho pianoforte, and the playing of liolando for Machynlleth and the Vale of Aeron was most prai-eworthy. Before sriving his adjudication, Alaw Ddu commended the ta-to of the- committee; but at the ,ai-te time protected that the "Hallelujah Chorn*" was not a suitable piece for competition. lhose who have bxp.^rienee i;i these matters will concur with this remark. It would indeed bo very desirable if the promoters of our local einteddfodau were to select pieces that are not generally kno'vn, as this would greatly promote the a' can-so ot musical education. The pieces generally chosen are some well-known choruses,and which have frequently been competed for previously. These are nearly always of the same character heavy, broad choruses, demanding little nuance and refined senti- ment, and year after year the same pieces are an- nounced with wearisome regularity. Appended is a summary of Alaw Ddu's a.djudiction :-Machynlletb A beautiful start, good singing until p. 166 (Nove lo'is edition). In the fugue the tenors were harsh, and the soprano loose and scattered. On the words King of Kings, and Lord of Lords," the intonation of the sopranos was rather poor, and they were- slightly out of tune on the high F's and G's. This. was due to over-enthusiasm and consequent forcing. The ideas were fairly worked out, and the rendeiing of the whole was good, although not a finished" one. Newtown The first two phrases were rather void of tone an i the first page was not at all satis- forily rendered but from this onward the sinking gradually improved, until it became very beautiful. This choir excelled in the perfect blending of the voices, which produced most clear and pure harmony. The balance of the voices was also good. The time was not at all timesliteady, however. The fugue was worked out intelligently, and the style on the whole good and rather "finished." Talsarn (Vale of Aeron): A satisfactory commencement; but it was at once evi- dent thar the voices of this choir were rougher than those of the previous choirs. This choir attempted more than the others, and deserved praise but its attempt was not so successful as might be wished. There was a lack of precision individual voices lagging behind occasionally. He exhorted them to continual and strenuous practice under some such conductor as their present one. and no doubt their efforts would then be crowned with success. Aber- dovey: A weak commencement. Generally a con- fused and "muddled" rendering. None of the points well taken up. A lack of spirit and pre- cision throughout. The choir seemod to be playing- with the ideas of the great master. They were unanimous in awarding the prize to the Newtown choir. The announcement was received with load cheering, and the conductor was invested amidst. plaudits. During the meeting Ap Glaslyn and Miss Maggie Ivor Jones, R.A.M., each rendered a song, and were greatly appreciated. It was found impossible to complete the pro- gramme of the first meeting, and therefore an adjournment took place about half-past five o'clock, and the evening ooncert was announced for 6-30 (instead of five); but it was half-past seven before Mr H. C. Fryer, Lodjre Park, took the chair, his appearance being the signal for hearty cheers. There was again a large audience. The first business was an adjudication on the best pair of knitted woollen mittens, the prize being awarded to Mary Ann Williams, Penybont. who also took the prize for the, best pair of knitted woollen gloves. Mr J. J. Jones then introduced Mr Fryer to the meeting, at the same time impressing upon that gentleman the necessity of being brief in his remarks. Mr Fryer, who was a second time loudly cheered, said that he was much obliged to his friend Mr Jones for preparing the way for him. There were many occasions on which certainly brevity was the sole of wit, and this was one of them, seeing that the, concert was commencing at half-past seven instead of five o'clock. Being jubilee year. a great many things occurred to one, and he might refer to a long list of the advantages enjoyed which their fathers and mothers fifty years ago did not enjoy but he would inflict nothing of the sort upon them, and he wonld only congratulate the Borth committee on the excellent arrangements they had made for TO at day. It was said that it was not in mortals to command suc- cess, but he thought the Borth committee deserved success for the arrangements which they had made for the comfort of the people generally, and he be- lieved the success was beyond the most sanguine ex- pectations of all the committee. He felt sure that all would endorse the hint given him, and the wisest possible thing for him to do was to make no speech, as a speech from the president was only as the shadow in the picture. He knew perfectly well that if Mr Gladstone or Lord Salisbury were present, a speech from them would only be the shadow of the picture, and music was the picture of that evening. He then called upon the conductor to proceed with the business of the evening (che,-rs). A competition for male voices for the best render- ing of "Y Oof," composed by Mr David Jenkins,. M as. Bac., was then proceeded with, the prize offered being .£5. Two parties competed—Newtown, con- dncted by Mr Wm. Jenkins, and Talybont glee party conducted by Mr Jenkins. In delivering the adjudi- cation, Mr J. T Rees said that both parties sang re- markably well, the fault with the Newtown party being that the bass was not so good as the ad- judicators could wish, but all the other parts were- excellent. The Talybont party made a good start, but the finish was faulty. The prize w-is awarded to the Newtown party. A prize of j61 for the best rendering of a quartette from Jeremiah was with- held. The prize for the best manuscript of the first Psalm was divided between Mr W. M. Jonea of Towyn, and Mr Thomas Jones, a clerk at Messrs. F. R. Roberta, Son, and Evans, Aberystwyth. Three choirs competed in the choral competition, Mai, Talybont, Llansantffraid (near Oswestry), and Peny-. garn, and the prize of £ 10 was awarded to the former. The concert was next proceeded with. The New- town brass band played a capital selection of music, which was greatly enjoyed. In consequence of the lateness of the hour the programme was very much curtailed; Ap Glaslyn sang Uwain Alaw's song Llewelyn in a manner which reflected the highest credit upon the vocalist, and he was loudly applauded. Miss Maggie Ivor Jones gave a splendid rendering of the song Anchored," and the Aberystwyth hand- bell ringers made their first public appearance, and they were most sncceasful. Mrs. Schofield, Miss Pattie Turner, and Mr W. Jenkins, all of Newtown, did not sing the songs set down for them, and the proceedings were hurriedly terminated.

LAMPETER.

LLANON.

MARKETS. ;

ABERYSTWYTH.