Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , DAVID THOMAS FFRANGCON ( 1855 - 1918 ), singer ;

b. at Mount Pleasant , Bethesda, Caerns. , 11 Dec. 1855 , son of Dafydd and Gwen Davies. He was educated at the national school, Bethesda , Friars School , Bangor , and Jesus College , Oxford , where he graduated in 1881 . In Feb. 1883 he was ordained deacon (in the church at Llantysilio ); in 1884 he was appointed curate at Llanaelhaiarn and in 1885 at Conway . While at Conway he was given lessons on the organ by Dr. Roland Rogers (q.v.) . He was advised to apply for the post of minor canon at Bangor cathedral but, to his great disappointment, was unsuccessful. This decided him to concentrate on a musical career and to endeavour to realize his dream of becoming a singer . He now applied for a curacy at S. Mary's , Hoxton , London , was duly appointed, and there received sympathy and encouragement from his vicar . He studied under William Shakespeare who was an authority on voice production . In 1889 he m. Annie Francis Rayner and the two visited Clara Novello Davies in Cardiff . There he was given an audition by John Davies , Clara Novello 's husband, who secured contracts for him to sing in a series of concerts. He started his career as a professional singer in Cardiff . In 1888 he joined the Carl Rosa company and took the part of the herald in Wagner 's Lohengrin . In 1890 , at the Horringham, Yorks., music festival , he sang for the first time the part of Elijah in Mendelssohn 's oratorio of that name. He preached his first sermon on Elijah in Wales and his last in England . His services were in demand at all the principal music festivals in the kingdom. In 1896 and 1898 he sang in the U.S.A. , and in 1898 toured Germany . He now settled in Berlin as a singer and teacher of singing . In 1901 he again visited the U.S.A. , where he lectured on the music of different countries and sang in the principal concerts . In 1904 he was appointed professor at the Royal Academy of Music and in the following year published his book, The Singing of the Future . In 1907 his health broke down and he was taken to Bethlem hospital , where he d. 13 April 1918 .

Sources:

  • ‘Llechidon,’ Llyfr Hanes Llenyddiaeth ac Enwogion Llanllechid a Llandegai , 1921 ;
  • David Ffrangcon Davies, his Life and Book , London, 1938 , 1938 .

Author:

Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Published date: 1959