Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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RICHARDS , HENRY BRINLEY ( 1819 - 1885 ), musician .

Born 13 Nov. 1819 in Quay Street , Carmarthen , the son of Henry and Elizabeth Brinley Richards . The father was organist of S. Peter's church , Carmarthen ; he also kept a music shop . Intended for the medical profession, the son showed that his inclination was towards music. In the Gwent and Morgannwg eisteddfod of 1834 he won a prize for variations on the Welsh air called ‘ Llwyn Onn ’ (‘ The Ash Grove ’). The duke of Newcastle became his patron, and he entered the Royal Academy of Music , London . In the following year ( 1835 ) he won the king's scholarship , repeating this success in 1837 . He went to Paris for a further course of study and there came to know Chopin . On his return to London he was appointed an instructor in the Royal Academy ; later he became director . He was the originator of the Academy's local examination system and became superintendent of the examinations held in Wales and Scotland . Regarded as the finest piano player in the country, he also won repute as a teacher of the piano . He did not sever his connection with Wales — he served as adjudicator in eisteddfodau , took an interest in the triple harp (see N.L.W. MS. 1904 ), and delivered a course of lectures on the music of Wales . His compositions and arrangements were very numerous — there are over 250 items listed in the British Museum catalogue of printed music. Among them are several piano pieces, the three volumes entitled The Classical Pianist , Student Practice , and The Pianist Library ; and ‘ Overture in F minor ’ (published at Paris in 1840 and performed at the Chester eisteddfod of 1860 ), a concerto for piano and orchestra, choral pieces (‘ Cenwch udgorn yn Seion ,’ ‘ Let the hills resound ,’ etc.). His best-remembered piece, as far as Welsh people are concerned, is ‘ God bless the prince of Wales ’ ( 1862 ). His Songs of Wales , first published in 1873 , had a very wide circulation, in this respect proving a more popular work than his Welsh Choir . He was a prominent member of the Hon. Society of Cymmrodorion from 1873 until his death on 2 May 1885 ; he was buried in the Brompton cemetery , London .

Sources:

  • Y Geninen , 1886 , 56, 281;
  • The Musical Times , 1885 ;
  • M. O. Jones , Bywgraffiaeth Cerddorion Cymreig (1890) ;
  • Y Cerddor , Jan. 1893 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Groves Groves' Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1940) ;
  • NLW MSS 1904, 2302, 2340, 4704, 5551, 7379 ;
  • Y Cymmrodor , 1951, vi.

Author:

Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Corrections and additions:

RICHARDS , HENRY BRINLEY ( DWB , 852).

He was b. in Lower Market Street , Carmarthen . His mother was the daughter of John Brinley , Swansea (see F. Jones , God Bless the Prince of Wales , Carmarthen , 1969 ).

Author:

Published date: 1959