Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 September 2022
This chapter considers the work of a series of twentieth-century Welsh composers, including Daniel Jones, Grace Williams, William Mathias, Alun Hoddinott, Karl Jenkins and Rhian Samuel. It draws on their compositions and their writings about music to interrogate the question of whether musical qualities or characteristics that might be identified as distinctively Welsh can be discerned in their output. It explores the influence of Welsh landscapes, history and concepts, such as the notion of hiraeth (longing), on the ways in which they have drawn on or sought to reflect their homeland in their compositions. It reveals that while many of these composers were uneasy about identifying a distinctively Welsh school of composition, some level of engagement with their nationality or sense of Welshness was a common trait, albeit manifested in different ways. Several common themes emerge, including the importance of a sense of place and ideas about the past.