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Dr. Vaughan Thomas has done a great deal for the music of his native Wales in several valuable directions. His own music includes settings of Welsh poems in the native metre, and many pieces for choir and orchestra on Welsh subjects, all infused with a real Welsh spirit. He is a gifted teacher, and as lecturer and writer on music has passed on much of his own enthusiasm to the younger musicians of the Principality, as well as spreading interest in Welsh music in other parts of the Kingdom. Since the opening of the Cardiff Station, much of his music has earned a far wider appreciation than was at all possible before that, and to Welsh listeners in particular his name is now well and happily known.
Like Dr. Vaughan Thomas, E. T. Davies is a real enthusiast on behalf of his native Wales. He is firmly convinced of the importance for Welsh composers, of a thorough knowledge of the language and the folk music. Best known, it may be, as an organist, he has been in great demand for the inauguration of new organs, and has played the initial programmes on over one hundred organs in Wales. His lectures on musical history and his choral, orchestral, and chamber music classes, are of the greatest value in the cause of music, and he has been associated with many of the big Welsh Festivals. In 1900 he made a tour in the United States with a small concert party, spreading an interest particularly in Welsh music. His own compositions incline specially to the more lighthearted forms of instrumental and vocal music, and many of them set forth one aspect or another of Wales.
Isaac Albeniz, beginning his musical career as an infant prodigy pianist, devoted his interest through life chiefly to his own instrument, although his first composition, produced when he was only seven, was a military band piece. After courses of study at Madrid, Brussels, and Leipzig, he toured Europe and America along with. Rubinstein, and at the age of twenty settled down in his native country as a teacher. He soon gave that up, however, and most of his short life-he was only forty-nine when he died in 1909-was spent between Paris and London. Here he was known for a time as a composer of operas, comic and serious, but, though several of these enjoyed temporary successes, none of them has survived.
It is by his voluminous works for the pianoforte, particularly by those which embody the real essence of his own native music, that he will be best remembered. Many of them are dance tunes in the Spanish idiom and this piece is a happy example. Although the origin of the dance is not known, it has for long been popular in Spain, where it is still danced both in town and country. It can often be heard played on the guitar, sometimes with accompaniment of other instruments, notably castanets.
Charles Clements (Pianoforte)
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