Evans, David Emlyn

Composer

b Castellnewydd (Newcastle) Emlyn, Penralltwen, Dyfed (Cardiganshire) 1843, d Cemmaes, Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire 1913 (or London?). Apprenticed to a draper and clothier, he worked in that business all his life, travelling as his firm’s representative and somehow maintaining his wholehearted commitment to music. Largely self-taught from books, he also had occasional tuition from Ieuan Gwyllt (John Roberts). He won some 60 awards at the National Eisteddfod until he came to be a stern critic of its conservatism; Wales, he claimed, was failing to produce home-grown composers in the classic musical genres, and slipping down the European musical league. He himself turned from writing glees to cantatas and from his 20s onwards was a strict judge of competitions; if a tune for a festival did not satisfy him he would refuse to conduct it. From 1880 to 1913 he edited the influential journal Y Cerddor (The Musician). He also composed anthems, choral works and an operetta, edited several hymn-books including the Welsh Congregational book in 1895 and the Methodist one in 1903. Writing frequently for and to the musical press, in 1886 he contributed a notable essay to a memorial volume for the crucial ‘catalyst for change’ Edward Stephen (‘Tanymarian’, 1822–85). Over 500 traditional and national melodies were harmonised by him for Nicholas Bennet’s 1896 collection. Evans was ‘a figure of great importance, especially in the choral music of his day, and in musical education’—A Luff; he produced one classic hymn tune; see notes in EP vol 1. No.774.

Tunes and arrangements by Evans, David Emlyn

Tune Name
Trewen