Final Comment

In various works of literature, Wales is depicted as "Land of Song". This is also the case in "How green was my valley" by Richard Llewllyn that describes life in a coal-mining district in South Wales during the reign of Queen Victoria.

One passage describes how the miners return to work after a strike. Their leader starts singing: "As soon as they heard his voice, tenors and altos waited for their turn, then the bari­tones and basses, and then the women and children. As soon as all singing started, all the doors opened all the way down the hill. (…) I heard the rich voices rising in many harmo­nies, borne upward upon the mists which flew from singing mouths (…) and round about us the valley echoed with the hymn…" [1]

The singing in church services is described later in the book:  "The hymn, then, (…) More hymns and everybody singing strong and deep and marvel­lous on the beat, with the last two words of each verse falling upon us from the roof, and the pauses for breath filled in by the sounding glory of one of the tone just flown".[2]

Singing also played a big part in family life – Boxing Day with the Morgan family and their friends: "So big was the harp in the kitchen that the harpist had to sit in the doorway. (…) But the fingers of Miss Jenkins on the strings of the harp took all feeling from us, excepting the joy of song and the desire to sing. Songs and part-songs, cantatas, arias and dance melodies, hymns and psalms. (…) Now the men singing, now the women!" [3]

Music is not only to be found in the songs of Wales but also in its poetry. It is worth listening to a Bard such as Dyfydd Rowlands reciting one of his poems (on the enclosed CD!), even if you do not understand one word.

Keen Anglicists have, after thorough analysis of the poems of Dylan Thomas, pro­vided the clear proof that the strongly formal emphasis in his works derives exclusively from his Welsh origins and therefore from his ancestry from the old bards of the 6th cen­tury.[4]
Dylan Thomas never played the harp, he made do with the sound of his voice – and it was a voice that stayed in the memory of all who had once heard it! (cf. enclosed recordings!)

In the ,Final Report‘ by the Royal Commission on University Education in Wales of 1918 we read: "It may, indeed, be said without exaggeration that Wales is a land of singers, and that she has the power of making, in music, a contribution to the art of the world which is comparable to the highest achievements of painting or poetry or sculpture. The beauty and variety of her folk-songs, the strength and dignity of her traditional hymn-tunes, her gift of spontaneous part-singing and of ready improvisation all combine into an endowment of natural resources which, if fully utilized, will place her among the first musical coun­tries(...)“[5]

I believe that this may still be said today…!

[1] cf. Llewellyn, R., How green was my valley. 1939; Bungay, Penguin Books, 1951, p. 21

[2] cf. Llewellyn, R., p. 95

[3] cf. Llewellyn, R., p. 87

[4] cf. Carl Brinitzer, in: Des Dylan Thomas 'gebrauchte Seele', in: Wales, Merian Heft 6/XXVII, p. 36

[5] as cited in Williams, W.S.G., p. 77/78

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