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A TALENTED MONMOUTHSHIRE MUSICIAN.

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BY D. EMLYN EVANS. A TALENTED MONMOUTHSHIRE MUSICIAN. We learn with much regret of the death of Mr James Conway iirown, which took place a few weet3 since at the Guildford Hospital. Having been born at Biaina, Monmouthshire, December 27th, 1833, he was in his 70tb year at the time of his passing away. • The deceased was the son of Mr James Brown, who, at the period of his son's birth, was one of the proprietors of the Blaina. ironworks; and who was afterwards well-known in New port, of which town he was mayor three times. Mr James Brown's father —according to a. docu- ment placed at ouf disposal, and which, as we understand, received Mr Conway Brown's sanction—" was intimately associated with Trevethick in the construction of one of the earliest locomotive engines at Merthyr." The maternal grandfather of the subject of our remarks was Air Joseph Conway. Pontrhydyrun tmworks, near Pontypool while his uncle was Mr Thomas Brown, J.P., managing direc- tor of the Ebbw Vale works, and who was high sheriff of. the county of Monmouth in the early fifties. It is therefore not surprising that young Brown, alter a rather markedly successful edu- cational record at both Camberwell Coliegiate School and King's College, London, should have been sent to Ebbw Vale to learn the business of an ironmaster under his uncle's di- rection, But be had already shown His Predilection far Music, and had obtained considerable mastery over the yioiin at an early ago. thanks in part no donbt to the advantage he had enjoyed in receiving instructions from one of the hest teachers in London at that time, Mr William Watson, of the R.A.M. And at Ebbw Vale, music claimed his attention and devotion probably at the expense of business studies for we are toid that he was continually taking part in concerts, either as pianist or violinist and he also pos- sessed considerable talent as buffo vocalist, which made him a favourite with the music- loving audiences of the locality. He frequently played on the organ or harmonium, too, in various places of worship, and was often found playing: with the band of the 7th Monmouth- shire Rifle Volunteers, under the leadership of Herr PtciiTer he himself being a lieutenant with the 2nd Manraouthshire. in 1861 we find hira in the MiUiyxH ^ironworks, London, where. true to the ruling bent of his life, he formed a rerv effective braes band. However, he soon iccided upon abandoning the iron business ftualJy and fajly, and to follow Music as a Profession. Mr Conway Brown's first- professionat ap- pointment as cm. orssniat was to Alderahot Parish church, 1869 tn connection with which the Sfcac.of Gwent. for November 2Ctb of that year had the following congratulatory an- nouncement. :—" We have much pleasure in recording the appointment of Mr James Con- way Brown to the position of organist to the Parish Church, Aldershot. This gentleman is the son of ouf respected townsman. Alderman Brown, and his welcome services at many pub- lic concerts. charitable and otherwise, must Still be fresh in- the memories of the musical, public here amd;on the hills." "Asa composer," the Star continues, Mr Brown has dis- tinguished himself since leaving this neigh- bourhood, and at the (National) Eisteddfod meetings at Carmarthen and Ruthin, lie was awarsied four prizes lor an anthem on Matt, xxiii., 37. a song on the late Sir Thomas Pic- ton, a song and chorus suitable for the opening of the Eisteddfod, and four original part-songs." The above Eisteddfodau were held at Carmar- then and Ruthin respectTveiy the former being known as Eisteddfod y gwlaw." on account of the torrential rain which fell during the week, and the latter as the last of the Yr Eisteddfod series which,however, had prac. ticaHy received its death-blow at Carmarthen. In the above competitions the composer's col- laborator as librettist was the late Mr Downing Evans (Leon), Newport. So far as we arc aware, none of these pieces have been published with the exception of two of the part-songs, which came out in the Cerddor many years afterwards. Mr Brown-does not seem to have followed the Eisteddfod up very closely As » Competitor. Perh3r>$lite thought, and, if*so, thought wisely," that th Kecoftio a slave to the mania of com- petitiolf was neither advisable nor profitable in the long run. In any event, we have not observed his name in connection with the institution for some years after the Ruthin date, and then only once, vii., at Carnarvon, 1886, when he proved victorious on the an- them, which was declared to be, in the adju. dicator's award, "one of the finest composi- tions which had been sent to any Eisteddfod during thê last twenty-five years," and that h the prize was quite inadequate for such a magnificent production." His address was then given as Farnbatn, Surrey and we find that he was appointed organist of Hale Church, near Farnham, in 1875. and to the Parish Church, Farnham. in 1879, a position he was continuing to hold at the time the biographi- cal document already referred to was written* Mr Brown passed some highly satisfactory examinations for musical diplomas in the Met- ropntis and was awarded the prize by Sir Michael Costa for a sonata for violin and pianoforte, a work which was subsequently printed. We are afraid that Wales in this, as in other Instances, hae been somewhat guilty of neglect- ing—of failing to keep in touch—with one of her talented sons, whose presence and whose productions at our national gatherings would have been to our musical profit and benefit. However, Mr Conway Brown did Shis day's work in OtVrr directions, having been actively engaged, not only as an organist, as we have seen, but as conductor of various choral and orchestral societies, teacher of singing classes, singing, piano and violin playing, as well as ether iaatruments, and musical composition.

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