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SATURDAY, AUGUST 7, 1897.

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SATURDAY, AUGUST 7, 1897. A DISAPPOINTING ADJUDICATION AT NEWPORT. The great event of the week has undoubtedly been the National Eisteddfodic Festival at Newport. It is most gratifying to find our national movement growing in popularity and dignity. It is becoming year by year more national in its aggregation of representatives assembled. Every section and thought, political and denominational, meet with one common aim and purpose at the annual feast of literature and song. You meet there people of the great- est diversity of opinion in every department of Welsh life. The Peers of the realm, the Com- mons and the piebian of our industries and agricultures are found on the Eisteddfod plat- form joined hand to hand in promotion of Wales' most cherished of national aspirations. For the first year after a long interval down the avenue of time the National Institution has forega- thered in Gwent, and in its chief and most vigorous of towns—Casnewydd-ar-Wysg. The Gorsedd meetings have been carried out with a revival of symbolic grandeur radiant and gor- geous beyond the demands of the most fastidious and punctilious of bards. The dresses, designed by Professor Herkomer, have endowed this function with that outward realism which has uplifted it beyond the scorn and ridicule of the iconoclast who delights in destruction with- out compensating construction. The Choral Competition on Wednesday was distinctly a feature of our national institution, which should justly swell with pride the heart of every Cymro. However, it has also a serious side which should not be allowed to pass by comment- less. As the award came upon the vast audience it was a surprise and a disappointment to the great majority--at least 80 per cent-of those assembled in that huge pavilion. Naturally the question of English adjudicators for Welsh Eis- teddfodau has once more become a controversial subject. Dr Mackensie, on behalf of his eq- adjudicators, made it very plain that with thwn "mere force and strength" were at a discount. But we venture to contend that the singiug of the Merth-r Choir was not an illustration only of mere force or strength, and to our taind the singing was in every possible detail a rine expo- sition of what we shall catalogue AS a good sample of our characteristic Welsh vocalisation. We judge music in its effect by emotions and tears, and, though no experts in technique, we contend that veeal exposition which is devoid of emotional influence, fails in an all-important function of musical existence. The Merthyr Choir was undoubtedly robust, but withal it was tuneful and mu^ieal, while the sott passages were so tender that hearts were moved, tears flowed, and souls were stirred to thoughts and feelings divinely entrancing. The decision of W ednesday has upset the basis of our national conception of what music works for and means. The first prize and second prize choirs sang, we grant, with great refinement and sweetness of intonation; but, there was none Of the com- poser's intensity of soul, obviously a motive in the construction of these choruses. We can understand a mere musical exercise, vocal or ( instrumental. Such are always without meaning save development and culture. But compositions have a diviner purpose, because soul has been | building and soul must interpret. Clearly, the | acclaim accorded the Merthyr Choir and its singing, by ,he vast audience, signified that it* had given this fuller interpretation, and was, therefore, performing with truly national favour". We maintain that the warm nature of the Celt, and especially of the Welshman, asks and seeks for warmth and fervour in interpretations. It- is so in the pulpit. Good matter it likes, but it attaches equal importance to the manner If its presentation. This is a national characteris- tic we desire to preserve, and, if cold and une- emotional judgments are to prevail in our Eis- teddfodau, every award upon this basis mean9 subordination and suppression of a characteristic which has given Welsh singing distinctness from all other forms of national vocal interpretation. We. therefore, regret the decision at Newport, because we fear it will discourage a school of vocalism whilth we should retain, and because it means elimination of the inward for the out- ward, of the substance for the shadow, and of the soul for the mechanical and technical in an art divine in its origin and mission.

4 Llantwit ajor Eisteddfod.

/[ Change of Air.

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