Elain Rhys Jones
I very much doubt whether I would have been able to study a Masters course by research this year without financial support from the James Pantyfedwen Foundation. After three years studying Music at Bangor University, I was keen to continue researching one aspect that really excited me during my undergraduate degree, and that was the Music of Wales. I am truly grateful to the Foundation for their financial support and their faith in my research work.
The subject of my research was the contribution of composer Grace Williams (1906-77) to Welsh music, focusing especially on her arrangements of Welsh folk tunes. The topic combined many of my personal interests, including folk tunes and vocal music, and the research has been original and interesting.
Given that Grace Williams is primarily associated with orchestral music, I was very keen to explore and address her vocal style, breaking new ground and carrying out research that would be useful for future researchers. My hope is that my study will draw attention to a composer who was not given due recognition in Wales or the UK during her lifetime.
I had great pleasure discovering and analysing manuscripts of the composer’s folk arrangements housed in the National Library of Wales. Grace Williams composed a number of arrangements of Welsh folk tunes for BBC radio programmes during the 1950s, and some arrangements were commissioned works for various occasions, for the famous tenor Peter Pears for example. It is a pity that very few of these arrangements were published by Grace Williams herself, and I hope that my study will publicise several new arrangements that will be useful to us as Welsh people for performances and future Eisteddfodau.
I have benefitted immensely from pursuing a Master's course this year and have been inspired to go on to pursue a PhD which will focus on Grace Williams’ only opera, The Parlour. I feel strongly that this work must not be forgotten; I hope to edit and publish this work to add to the opera repertoire in Wales and highlight an unique composition within the composer’s legacy.
I cannot thank the Foundation enough for their faith in my research and for easing my financial burden over the past year.