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Composing Cymru: Welsh identity and British art music since 1945

Jones, Nicholas ORCID: 2021. Composing Cymru: Welsh identity and British art music since 1945. Presented at: John Bird Research Lectures 2021-22, School of Music, Cardiff University, 13 October 2021.

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In 1973, in an article provocatively titled ‘How Welsh is Welsh Music?’, Grace Williams made the following rather quirky observation: ‘When I am asked for my views on national influences in Welsh music I am reminded of the story of the centipede who, when asked which foot he put down first, got so confused he couldn’t walk at all.’ This paper explores the contested and problematic notion of ‘Welshness’ and the different ways in which this ‘elusive quality’ (to quote William Mathias) can influence the composition of art music. The paper is in two parts. The first focuses exclusively on Welsh composers and argues that the period under discussion cannot reasonably be considered without reference to these composers’ relationship to their own cultural identity and environment. The second part examines the subject from a different perspective: here, I discuss how a specific opera by an English composer articulates a strong sense of Welsh identity through the use of Welsh folklore, native landscape and place, and indigenous musical signifiers.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 09:55

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