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PENMAENMAWR.I

---'-"""-""'-""-' DEGANWY…

TALYBONT A LLANBEDR.

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North Wales News.

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The Late Dr. Joseph Parry.

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The Late Dr. Joseph Parry. Mr. David Jenkins, Mus. Bac., of Aberystwyth, writes in the Manchester Guardian:- When the late Dr. Joseph Parry first visited this counry from America, and became a student at the Royal Academy of Music, the interest in himself and music had never before been at such a high pitch in the Principality. Before this he had "swept the board," as they say, by taking away the chief prizes at the Llandudno National Eisteddfod, 1894, :and elsewhere. The whole, country received him with open arms, and benefit concerts were arranged by the late "Gohebydd" and the Rev. T. Levi on his behalf almost in every town and village where the Welsh congre- gate. The same success followed his labours Whilst he was at the Royal Academy. There he carried away every available prize, and at the end of four years he took his degree of Bachelor of Music at Cambridge. Sir Sterndale Bennett, his professor at the Academy, was the examiner. At that time he. appeared as a vocalist of no mean order. His singing and playing of the descriptive songs of his own composition in "The Niagara" and "The Train" created great enthusiasm, and no important concert or eisteddfod was consider- ed complete without his services. After finishing his course at the Academy, he returned to America and started a school of music at Denva, Pennsylvania. Soon after the University College of Wales was established at Aberystwyth the Council of the College invited him to take the Chair of Music, and he returned to this country in time for the second session. Ha attracted a large number of students, mostly for singing, pianoforte, and or- gan, and a few for composition. He pluckily undertook the whole duty of teaching these differ- ent branches, the only assistance he had being given by one of the students in harmony, theory, and counterpoint. In the midst of his heavy duties as a teacher he still kept on composing, and produced some of his best and most popular pieces. These included "Blodweq" (the first Welsh opera), and his oratorio "Emmanuel," which was performed at St. James's Hall, Lon- don, by the London Welsh Choir with great suc- cess. At the end of 'his fourth year at Aberys- twyth he went in for the degree of Doctor of Music at Cambridge, and took one of his stu- dents with him for the. degree of Bachelor of Music. Both were successful. Sir George Mac- farren was the examiner. It may interest your readers to know that both teacher and pupil were working at their respective trades within four years of their obtaining the degree of Bachelor of Music. This fact may be. of some encourage- ment to those who are handicapped with the dis- advantage of not having an early training, though by this; time the elementary and intermediate schools have lessened these disadvantages to a large extent. Dr Parry's genius enriched almost every branch ot musical composition—Psalm tune, song, an- them, male-voice chorus, cantata, opera, and oratorio. His setting of the 23rd Psalm is unsur- passed, and there are several numbers in his large works that will compare favourably with in- dividual numbers of most English musicians. II he had cultivated self-criticism and self-restraini he might indeed have taken a leading position among British musicians. He had in a large measure the divine gift of melody, but he erred in iudgment and was inclined to be diffuse. As it is, several of his productions will live. If a musician was ever inspired, he was when composing the first two portions of his Pilgrims." In spite of his diffusiveness he has created a land- mark in the history of Weljh music, and has numerous imitators among young Welsh com- posers, both here and in America. He was the greatest enthusiast in composition that I ever came in contact with, an interesting personality, boyish in spirit, full of vigour and energy, and a source of inspiration to all who had the pleasure of his company. His capacity for work was immense, and as a reader of music at first sight he was one of the cleverest. The transposition oi a piece of music whilst reading was a common practice with him in his classes, or when accom- panying. He was too erratic to be a good con- ductor, and too impatient to become a good teacher, except in the case of advanced scholars, with whom he got on well. Undoubtedly he had a great talent for orchestration, and in some ol his larger works there are several passages beautifully scored. The last time I saw him he showed me five complete operas in MS and he was busy working on a new oratorio entitled "Jesus of Nazareth." In comparison with Welsh musicians of the past, he is head and shoulders above them all, and as for popularity as a composer not a single living musician in the Principality can compare with him. I am sure they will all readily assent to this statement. He was one of the greatest com- posers Wales ever produced, and he was the meaqs of giving great and lasting impetus to Welsh music, to which he was such a conspicuous ornament.

Welsh Eisteddfod in London.

TALYBONT A LLANBEDR.

North Wales News.