2019 marks 60 years since the first edition of Welsh Music (published by the Welsh Music Guild in January 1959). It began life – as outlined in the opening greeting – as a newsletter to remedy the “problems of keeping in close touch with its members”. In fifty years of publication and more than 100 issues, it inhabited this role and more, including providing a regular publication of scholarly articles on Welsh music; analytical studies; think pieces; interviews with significant composers; quizzes; news; critical reviews of live concerts, recordings and publications; and correspondence pages – each contributing a vital record of the richness of Welsh classical music at the time.
The Chair of the Welsh Music Guild (or The Guild for the Promotion of Welsh Music as it was then) was Aneirin Talfan Davies who wrote on the opening page:
“May I appeal for the loyal support of our members, and ask them to do all they can to recruit new members. The progress of Welsh music during the last few decades has been without parallel in the history of Wales. Our contemporary composers are gaining recognition outside our borders, but unfortunately very little is being done by Wales itself to give them the support they need and deserve. The one thing they need, and deserve, is the performance of their works. It is one of the objects of this Guild to help awaken the conscience of the Welsh people to its duties towards Welsh Music and Welsh composers.
Gair i orffen yn Gymraeg. Yr ydym yn hen gyfarwydd â chlywed canmol Cymru am ei chariad tuag at gerddoriaeth. Ond pa mor ddwfn yw’r cariad hwnnw? Aoes gennym, mewn gwirionedd, gydwybod ynglŷn â dethlygiad cerddoriaeth? Tra bod Cymru heb gerddorfa simffoni o'r braidd y gellir dywedyd ei bod yn wlad ddiwylliedig. Y mae pethau'n gwella, bid siwr; y mac gennym gerddorfa ieuenctid a chyfansoddwyr sy'n ennill eu plwyf yn gyflym ar lwyfan byd eang. Gwaith yr urdd hon yw gwneud popeth yn ei gallu i hyrwyddo cerddoriacth yng Nghymru, ond er mwyn gwneud hynny’n eiffeithiol rhaid iddi wth gefnogaeth Cymru gyfan-trwy ei chymdeithasau cerddorol, trwy ei llywodraeth leol a phob cyfrwng arall.
Trwy’r llythyr newyddion hwn gobeithiwn gadw mewn cysylltiad â'n haelodau a phawb o garedigion cerdd.
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chwi ac i gerddoriaeth yng Nghymru.”
This year, Tŷ Cerdd and The Welsh Music Guild will begin offering some of the articles that were published over that fifty year period for online consumption, in the hope that they will be of interest to those who have a curiosity about the recent history of Welsh classical music, as well as increasing the resources available for researchers of Welsh and British Music for future generations. Many more articles will be added over time but firstly, 90 years after his birth, here is an interview with Alun Hoddinott from 1983, conducted by the longest serving editor of the Journal, A. J. Heward Rees. Keep checking back for more articles that will be added regularly.