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Welsh history and its sources
Welsh history and its sources

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4.3 The celebrated Cyfarthfa band

In the middle of the nineteenth century, Merthyr Tydfil was the world's greatest supplier of iron and the largest town in Wales. It was dominated by Cyfarthfa Castle, the huge and ostentatious home of the greatest of the iron barons, Robert Thompson Crawshay.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Crawshay established a band: a brass band that was to become one of the greatest musical ensembles of the Victorian period.

This programme, from the Open University course AA302 From composition to performance: musicians at work, shows how the musical and cultural identity of this band was reconstructed from a range of sources.

Professor Trevor Herbert, who first identified the sources for this story, was interested in addressing three key questions:

  • When did this band come into being and how was it run?

  • What did the band sound like?

  • Why was such a band formed in a place like Merthyr Tydfil?

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The celebrated Cyfarthfa band
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