Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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DAVIES , WILLIAM ( 1859 - 1907 ), musician ; b. 1 Oct. 1859 at Rhosllannerchrugog, Denbs. As a child he was taught music by Hugh Griffith and Richard Mills ( 1840 - 1903 — see under Mills , Richard , his father) of Rhos . Before he was 20 he had won a prize for singing Handel 's ‘ Total Eclipse .’ Joseph Parry ( 1841 - 1903 ) (q.v.) , the adjudicator , praised him highly and urged his friends to assist him to get a course of instruction at the University College , Aberystwyth . Funds were raised to send him to the college, and when he had completed his studies he set up as a music teacher at Llangefni , Anglesey , in 1880 . In 1884 he was appointed chorister at Bangor . It was while he was at Llangefni that he began to compose songs which achieved considerable popularity. The first was ‘ Pistyll y Llan ,’ and this was followed by ‘ Y Banerwr ’, ‘ Yr Ornest ,’ ‘ Chwifiwn Faner ,’ and ‘ Llwybr y Wyddfa .’ He won prizes at the national eisteddfod held in Liverpool for his songs ‘ Neges y Blodeuyn ’ and ‘ Y Gloch ’; in London , 1887 , for a chairing song with harp obligato; Wrexham , 1888 , for ‘ O na byddai'n haf o hyd ’ and ‘ Myfanwy ’; and Brecon , 1889 , for four songs. In 1889 , out of eighty-six candidates, he was appointed principal tenor at Magdalen College , Oxford . In 1891 he m. Clara Leighton , a soprano in the Carl Rosa Opera Company . In 1894 , out of 100 candidates, he was appointed assistant vicar-choral of S. Paul's cathedral , London . He continued to compose and was considered one of the best Welsh composers of his time. He d. 30 Jan. 1907 and was buried at Abney Park , London .

Bibliography:

  • Y Cerddor , May 1897, March 1907 ;
  • Rhestr gyda nodiadau byrion, o Enwogion Cymreig o 1700 i 1900 , National Eisteddfod Association, 1908 .

Author:

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