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The Songs of David Vaughan Thomas

As part of our Heritage Records projects we are currently working on a recording of the songs of Welsh composer David Vaughan Thomas (1873-1934).

Born in 1873 to Jenkin Thomas and Anne Thomas in Ystalyfera, he received his musical education from the composer Joseph Parry and also went to Llandovery College and Exeter College, Oxford, where he graduated in mathematics. Returning later to Oxford, he gained degrees as Bachelor of Music and Doctor of Music.

In 1906 he married Morfydd Lewis; they had three sons, including the broadcaster Wynford Vaughan-Thomas. At this time Thomas turned to music composition, his first known work being dated 1906. Subsequent works were performed in Wales, London and South Africa.


He moved back to Wales and became a member of the Gorsedd at the 1911 National Eisteddfod. He subsequently acted as adjudicator, and was Chief Musical Advisor for the 1926 National Eisteddfod in Swansea. 


In 1927 he was made overseas examiner for Trinity College, London, and in this capacity he travelled to several Commonwealth countries.  It was on one such tour in South Africa that he died in Johannesburg.

Vaughan Thomas's music developed out of an early Victorianism into a national style inspired by Welsh literature and folklore and by the musical traditions of his country.

His most notable compositions are considered to be his choral works Llyn y Fan (performed at the 1907 National Eisteddfod), A Song for St Cecilia's Day and The Bard  

Vaughan Thomas's music has become a rarity in the concert hall. His song Ysbryd y Mynydd and his Saith o Ganeuon ar Gywyddau Dafydd ap Gwilym ac Erail (Seven songs on poems in cywydd metre by Dafydd ap Gwilym and others), praised in the 1950s for their originality and scholarship, remained popular long after his death, but most of his works were no longer played by the 1980s.

David Vaughan Thomas

Composer biography adapted from his Wikipedia entry

Our Recording Project

We are currently sourcing the sheet music for as many of his songs as we can find and then we will be getting ready to record them.  At this point we are not sure if a "complete" recording will be possible, but our hope is to record as many as we can.

The Songs

Songs in red we are still sourcing the sheet music for.

10 Welsh Folk songs    edited & arr by DVT
A Song for St Cecilia's Day    Dryden
A Song for St David's Day    Lewis Davies

Angladd y Marchog    Anthropos (Rev R D Rowlands)
Bedd y Dyn Tylawd    Ioan Emlyn (Emlyn John Jones)

Bendithiaf yr Arglwydd    
Berwyn    Robert Ellis
Caledfwlch    T Gwynn Jones

Can hen wr y cwm    Gweryddon
Can y bardd wrth farw    Gwenffrwd

Can y llanc chwethinllyd    """Cerddi Cymru"""
Claddu'r Bardd o Gariad    

"Come along, can't you hear?"    DM Beddoes
Cyfoedion cofadwy    Caerwyn
Dau Filgi    
Dirge in Woods    George Meredith
Dorset Voices    JJ Cadwaladr (Eos Gwalia)
Einioes    Rhys Jones

Enter these enchanted woods (No.2)    George Meredith
Ffarwel Fy Ngeneth    Eben Fardd (Ebenezer Thomas)
Follow the flag Welshmen:a patriotic song    JJ Cadwaladr (Eos Gwalia)
Hail to Admiral Death    
Hiraeth am yr Haf    
How sleep the brave    William Collins
Let us now praise famous men    Lewis Davies

Llais Yr Adar    Anon
Nant y Mynydd    Ceiriog
O Fair Wen    William Llyn
Rwy'n ofni grym y dwr    "Williams, Pantycelyn"
Si hwi lwli    TH Jones
St David's day is here    Lewis Davies
Stafell Cynddylan    att. Llywarch Hen
Who is Sylvia?    NLW MS 9458F

Y Bwthyn Bach To Gwellt    Crych Elen (Thomas Lloyd)
Y ferch o'r Scer    
Y gariad gollwyd    

Y Gwlith    
Y lloer    D Vaughan Thomas
Y newydd dant    Edward Jenkins

Y Nos    
Ymadawiad Arthur    T Gwynn Jones
Yr Wylan Deg    Dafydd ap Gwilym
Ysbryd Y Mynydd    LD Jones (Llew Tegid)

Ysbryd yw Duw    

Songs including some unpublished    
Brighter than the sun    
Can y galon
Cantref y Gwaelod
Clychau'r Twr
Cyntaf dangor pan welais
Hillsides are dark
Is my team ploughing
Mor swynol ydyw noday glan
O happy lark
The Land o' the Leal
The sleeping beauty
The song of the Old Bargee
The Wind
To Robin Redbreast
Y fun o landwr Ogwen
Yn bwthyn ygnghanol y wlad
Yr hen dy 


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