Ffynh 2E

Land of Song and Instruments

With the Eisteddfod pavilion deserted of all but electricians ripping out the Press room telephones, and the ‘battlefield’ outside a mudbath scattered with the remains of sandwiches, it is the adjudicators who can best sum up the past week.

Hundreds of men, women and children have nervously climbed to the pavilion stage. For some it’s meant the sweet taste of success – for others a nightmarish moment when they broke down, or forgot their words.

The sun blazed, the rain came down, thousands poured through the gates, and inside the great green pavilion the cheery adjudicators sporting their ribboned badges have been miniature gods.

The choirs of Wales are still the greatest, but the Principality is slowly becoming a land of instruments as well as song.

Mr Elfed Morgan, former music director of Carmarthen, said, ‘There has been a tremendous increase on the instrumental side. Our object is to balance out vocal and instrumental music in Wales.’

And Mr Kenneth Bowen said, ‘The potential in Wales is quite incredible and the standard is high.’

Mr Peter Gelhorn, director and conductor of the BBC chorus and former Glyndebourne conductor, told me, ‘I have been very impressed with the professional approach of the choirs.’

But there was criticism from Mr Ieuan Rees-Davies, professor at Trinity College of Music, London, and conductor Meredith Davies, on the interpretation of soloists.

‘The singers concentrate so much on producing lovely sounds that they often forget about the words and the meaning of the music,’ said Mr Rees-Davies.

And Mr Meredith Davies added, ‘I was surprised not to hear more uninhibited expression.’

The Eisteddfod ground at Singleton Park has been a world in itself. A crazy yet exciting affair for the non-Welsh speakers, an emotional, sentimental home-coming for the exiles, and a week of weeks for the rest.

(Western Mail, 10 August 1964 [Tip: daliwch Ctrl a chliciwch dolen i'w agor mewn tab newydd. (Cuddio tip)] )