He came to general notice and was acknowledged as a very promising composer in 1954 when his Concerto for clarinet (op.3) was performed at the Cheltenham Music Festival by the celebrated clarinettist Gervase de Peyer and the Hallé Orchestra under John Barbirolli. Although this neo-classical work has remained in the repertoire, Hoddinott subsequently developed a more intricate and personal style, with an emphasis on chromatic shades and complex rhythms. And though acknowledging the influence of the serialists he did not abandon tonality. He composed in a number of forms, producing ten symphonies and orchestral works notable for their colour, and inspired by poetic imagery, including The sun, the great luminary of the universe (1970). He also enjoyed success as a composer of operas, such as The Beach of Falesá, The Trumpet Major, and What the old man does is always right. He was proud to be called a Welsh composer, and drew on Welsh authors for material, but there is no influence of folk music on his idiom, and the strongest musical influence on him was probably the Italian tradition.
He was awarded a C.B.E. in 1981, and the Glyndŵr award for outstanding contribution to the arts in Wales in 1997. He married, 2 April 1953, Rhiannon Huws, daughter of the Rev. Llewellyn Caradog Huws, Gwauncaegurwen, and they had one son, Ceri. He died in Swansea on 11 March 2008. The new hall of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the Millennium Centre in Cardiff was named Hoddinott Hall in recognition of his contribution to music in Wales.
Dr Rhidian Griffiths, Aberystwyth
Published date: 2014