1. GLAMORGAN L.E.A.
It would take more space than is allowed
to give a detailed picture of music in the system of education
in Glamorgan. Much of what is written, therefore, may tend
to appear as a mere catalogue, but even this should provide
some indication of the scope of the work which is being accomplished.
Music is an
integral subject in the curriculum at all stages of compulsory
education, the emphasis in primary schools being on vocal work,
together with percussion and recorder work wherever conditions are favourable. Some
primary schools also provide instruction in violin playing. In the secondary schools
and the youth service, vocal work is naturally the most prominent feature of music
making, but particular attention is also given to the study and practice of instrumental
The greatest need at all stages is to produce satisfactory readers
of music, since it is the ability to read fluently which ultimately
determines to a considerable degree the standard and quality of adult music making.
addition to meeting the demands of music as an academic subject
the grammar schools have often attained high standards of choral
work; some schools have produced surprisingly good four-part
choirs of mixed voices, in which the senior boys take an important
share. During recent year [sic] the following works have been
Acis and Galatea (Handel); Ceremony
of Carols (Britten); Christmas Oratorio (Bach); Creation (Haydn);
Last Judgment (Sphor); Selections from Messiah (Handel); Requiem
(Brahms); Requiem (Faure); Requiem (Mozart); Stabat Mater (Pergolesi).
of choral music are organised from time to time in various
parts of the county. One of the most successful of these was
held in Rhondda in 1958 when the grammar schools combined to perform “Scenes from
An annual residential choral course is held for senior pupils
of grammar schools.
At such a course, held in September last, a choir of 80 singers
(24 sopranos, 19 altos, 14 tenors, and 23 basses) studied and
performed “Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast” (Coleridge Taylor).
and individual performers compete annually at the County Youth
Eisteddfod which has been held without a break since 1942.
A non-competitive choral festival was held in Neath in July,
1958, at which a massed mixed choir of 400 singers performed
many of the choruses which they had previously sung as test
pieces in competition.
During the past ten years increased
attention has been given to the development of instrumental
music in schools. The encouragement of this branch of music
by the County Education Committee dates back to 1926, when
it was decided to appoint part-time teachers in the secondary schools. A further
decision in 1949 to expand this provision resulted in a marked increase in the number
of competent players of orchestral instruments. An important feature of the revised
music policy is the provision of musical instruments in schools in order that suitable
pupils may borrow them during the early stages of their musical training and before
acquiring their own instruments.
The Glamorgan Youth Orchestra was formed in September,
1949. Since that time 43 residential orchestral courses have
been held. The number of players has increased from 39 to a
full symphony orchestra of 116, with a “reserve” of more than 200 players who are
accommodated and given experience in Junior Orchestral Courses. Forty-two public
concerts and seven lecture concerts have been held in various towns in the county.
Some indication of the music performed is provided by a programme of the concert
held at the Central Hall, Bargoed, in July, 1959
Oberon Overture (Weber); Pianoforte
Concerto No. 15 in B flat (Mozart); Symphony No. 4 in G (Dvorak);
Suite for Orchestra from the Water Music (Handel);
In order to provide weekly opportunities for
orchestral playing, three sections of the orchestra have been
formed on Saturday morning of each week. The East Glamorgan
Youth Orchestra of 200 players meets at Pontypridd, the Mid-Glamorgan
Youth Orchestra of 100 players at Bridgend, and the West Glamorgan
Youth Orchestra of 100 players at Neath.
Strong support has
been given to the National Youth Orchestra of Wales since its
inception, and 64 members of the Glamorgan Youth Orchestra
took part in the course of the National Orchestra in August,
For the great majority of students the playing of a musical
instrument is a worthwhile hobby which they will carry into
their adult life. For the smaller number who intend to enter
the profession of music, either as performer or teacher, the
experience gained in the Glamorgan Youth Orchestra forms a
valuable foundation for further advanced study.
are also encouraged. During recent years ten special courses
have been arranged for players of brass instruments. Sixty-one
players, whose ages ranged from 10 to 17, attended the most
recent course in November, 1959, and gave a very good account
of themselves in playing such works as “War March of the Priests” (Mendelssohn).
extensive library of recorded music is available for the use
of schools and approved youth and adult organisations in the
Because special emphasis has been given to instrumental and orchestral
music-making in recent years, it has almost become fashionable
to regard the decline of adult choral music-making with a certain degree of equanimity,
since an interest in orchestral music is assumed to have been awakened in its stead.
But the upsurge of interest in instrumental music-making could ultimately prove
of distinct advantage to choral music-making, since the instrumentalist who takes
part in a choir has already
overcome the severe handicap which often faces the average
chorister, viz., the inability to read music fluently. Much
valuable rehearsal time taken up in learning to read the vocal
part can then be saved.
If the playing of orchestral instruments
is extended even more widely than at present there should be
little need to mourn the dearth of good choirs in the future,
for the members of any choir would be able to learn and perform
a substantial choral work within a month if composed mainly
of singers who could also play an instrument. So the renaissance
of choral music in Wales may yet be brought about through unremitting
support of instrumental music-making.
The Education Committee
have done much during the last thirty-five years for the specialised
training of music students, whether as performers or teachers.
Since 1925 more than 100 music scholarships have been awarded
to vocalists, instrumentalists and students of composition.
Many well-known musicians—performers, composers, teachers and
administrators—began their advanced studies as holders of the
Glamorgan Vocal, Instrumental or Mus. Bac. scholarships. The
success which has crowned their musical careers is due in no
small measure to the support they received at a time when it
was most needed.