Arts: Parry's `Lost' Anthem Aired; MUSIC PREMIERE: Trefor Brass Band to Play American Work at Centenary Concert

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 11, 2002 | Go to article overview

Arts: Parry's `Lost' Anthem Aired; MUSIC PREMIERE: Trefor Brass Band to Play American Work at Centenary Concert


Byline: CATRIN WILLIAMS

AN ANTHEM co-written 130 years ago by the man who wrote Wales's greatest love song will be performed this month - possibly for the first time ever.

Joseph Parry, who penned the moving song Myfanwy, composed Cymry Glan Americ in Pennsylva-nia, USA, with fellow Welsh expatriate the Rev Robert David Thomas.

There is no record of any performance in Wales.

Now, however, Geraint Jones, conductor of Trefor brass band, has arranged the piece for a concert on May 28 to mark the centenaries of Dr Parry's death in 1903 and of Pwllheli Town Hall.

It is believed that Dr Parry, who is buried in Penarth, moved in the same Welsh Congregational and eisteddfodau circles as the Rev Thomas, a former Penarth minister who emigrated in 1855.

Cymry Glan Americ was written onJanuary 1, 1872, and Dr Parry spent the following day at the Rev Thomas's church in Shenandoah City.

Melodic, very lyrical and stately, the work echoes the Welsh National Anthem's three beats to a bar and will feature award-winning soloist sisters Einir and Gwenda Gruffydd.

Jones believes it lacked popularity in the 19th Century as it had to com-pete with Land of My Fathers and The Star Spangled Banner.

``It did not take off in America,'' he said. ``The American Welsh did keep some sort of Welsh roots but the first generation usually lost the language, unlike the Welsh that emigrated to Patagonia.''

Dr Gwawr Jones, from Bangor, introduced the bandmaster to it after re-searching the life of the Rev Thomas, her great, great grandmother's brother.

She said, ``It is typical of Dr Parry's work but a lot of his work was easy listening.

``I am sure that people will have seen this music but I hope that this will revive it and bring it to people's attention. …

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