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WELSH FOLK-SONGS.

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WELSH FOLK-SONGS. MR,. HARRY EVANS AND WELSH COMPOSERS. Lecturing before the Denbigh Literary and Social Society on Fi-iday evening on "Welsh Folk-songs," Mr Harry Evans, F.Ri.C.O., said it was astonishing how the professiÍonal singers of Wales, with the notable exception of the "four Davies's," had, ignored their national songs. They had no idea of the beauty which such songs possessed in the hands of such skilled vocalists as those he' had mention- ed. They had been too long under the sway of the hymn-tunes.—(Hear, hear.) The hymn-tune in Wales had usurped the place of the national song, and it was hoped to see the time when those hymn- tunes would no longer be hawked about at fains, football matches, railway carriages, and eisteddfod platforms.—(Loud ap- plause.) Speaking of the characteristics of Welsh music, Mr Eivans said its chief was its emotional strength. As a nation, how- ever, they had been so long: in the wilder- ness, they had wailed and moaned to such an extent, that it had come to be thought that all minor tunes must of necessity be Welsh; and the overburdenino" of the hymn by lienor key tunes was one of the reasons for such a fallacy.—(Hear, hear.) It had been said of the Welshman that he was never so happy as when miserable- (laughter),—and especially when singing- funeral tunes .-(Renewed laughter.) ° It was the swing and the spirit of the tune that made all the difference in the world, and any emotional musician knew at once that certain tunes were Welsh and could, only be written and sung by Welsh peo- ple.—(Applause.) One could undergo no more painful experience, musically, than to hear "Aherystwyth" sung in England. It was not its home. It could only be sung by Welshmen, and in Wales, where it breathed the same atmosphere and could be brought up in the soil best fitted to re- ceive it. Referring to the works of Welsh com- posers, a,nd speaking with due regard to the importance of the subject, Mr Evans said that in spite of the fact of their being considered a great musical nation there still remained one. most damaging fact. When asked what had the Welsh nation contributed to the, world's great music, one would have to answer "Nothing," for the simple reason that it had contributed nothing that. had gone outside the borders of Wales. If great music had been pro- duced, it would have gone abroad—no- thing could have prevented it. The mono- tony of style, together with the pa.ucity of rhythmic force aind originality, to be found in the works of Welsh composers— and he was one of thein-(Iaughter)-NATas amazing in view of the wealth of style and rhythm to be found in Welsh national folk- songs.-(Loud applause.) This was due perhaps to the, prevalence of the hymn tune. As a, nation they had got. into a narrow groove. People clamoured for "wailing" music., with the result that Welsh composers had given way and had met the demand. Who ever heard of dance music being written by a Welsh composer?—(Laughter.) In fact. Welsh- men had been so long dawdling- in the same narrow groove of music that whole avenues had become closed to them. The material, however, was at hand the hour, too, was here, and it now wanted the man or the woman to do the work.—(Ap- plause.) Welsh solo singers, for example, were notoriously weak in rhythi-ii they preferred to loli and dawdle over the notes in order to show off the voice. They had lost their art in respect of rhythmV and counterpoint, but seemed to have retained the happy-go-lucky style of irresponsi- bility.-—(Applause and laughter.) This made him think that there was an extra- ordinary gap between the soloists of the present day and the jolly old pennillion singers of days gone by. The lecturer concluded by recommend- ing' the Welsh Folk-song; Society as one doing excellent work and one worthy of every support. DR. LLOYD WILLIAMS IN I MANCHESTER, "Welsh Folk-songs" was also the sub- ject of the Manchester Welsh National Society's meeting on Frday evening, when Dr. Lloyd Williams, of Bangor, gave another interesting lecture. He referred to Mr Frank Kidson's article on Welsh music in the new Dictionary of Music and Musacians, and said that the conclusions formed by Mr Kidson regarding the value of the older collections were very similar to those advanced by the lecturers of the Welsh Folk-song Society, though some of the statements regarding so-called "doubt- ful airs" undoubtedly required further investigation. The lecturer gave some amusing instances of the difficulties of co ectmg old folk-songs. A part of a song would be discovered in North Wales, another probably in South Wales. One version was discovered in one part of the country and a different version in an ther, A melody first recorded in Ang esey was sent in, in a, slightly different form, from LLanelly, and after- wards from Llanishen, near Cardiff. New y recovered folk-songs of various types were, described, special attention be ng given to the large number of songs in which birds figured, the blackbird, the en oo, the dove, and the seagull figuring r frequently. Instances were given of £ songs, "goat-counting" songs, ",t. ve songs, question and answer d dance melodies, and a curious s action-song1. The lecturer dwelt he symmetry of form displayed, Lien the songs were archaic in ty.

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