Death of Mr. W.T. David of Tonypandy 1866-1927
Four Times Winner at the National
Mr W.T. David, organist and choir-master of Ebenezer Welsh Congregational Church, Tonypandy for nearly 30 years past, died on Sunday at the age of 61 following an operation.
He had achieved a creditable reputation as musical composer and his real merits may be better realised later when the large quantity of unpublished MSS. Left at his home in Eleanor Street, Tonypandy, have been examined. Works already published from his pen have been favourably commented on by, among others, Coleridge Taylor and Sir Walford Davies. He won the premier honours at the Welsh National Eisteddfod from time to time.
A native of Clydach, Swansea Valley, he came of a family associated with music. His father and brother were the only pipe organ builders of purely Welsh decent in the Principality.
At an early age Mr. David migrated to America, where he received his first lessons in the rudiments of music. After four years in the States he returned to Clydach and continued his training under the late Mr. E. Fricker, Swansea, and in 1884, at the age of eighteen years, was appointed organist of Salem Church, Port Maddock. During his stay there he conducted the choral and orchestral societies. Meantime studied under Mr. J. H. Roberts, Mus. Bac., Carnarvon, and Mr. W. Griffiths, Mus. Bac., Dolgelly.
In 1894, he returned once more to Clydach Vale to assist his father in the organ building business, and in this way gained a thorough knowledge of “the king of instruments.” Four years later he was appointed organist and choirmaster at Ebenezer, Tonypandy a position which he held up to the time of his death.
As Conductor and Composer
Under his conductorship the ‘Mid-Rhondda Choir’ performed upwards nineteen classical works, and the concerts were of a standard not previously achieved in South Wales outside the Cardiff musical festivals. His greatest triumph in this connection was the performance at Mid-Rhondda in 1909 of “The Blind Man of Judah,” a sacred oratorio which represents one of his most ambitious compositions
Mr David had also composed a romantic Welsh opera entitled “Goronwy,” which was performed in concert form by Mid-Rhondda Musical Society. Another work complete with libretto and scored for full orchestra, which has not yet been performed or published is his musical opera “The Maid of Arfon.”
In chamber music compositions he was also successful, and some of his solo and duet compositions are popular on the competitive platform. Some of his hymn tunes are also familiar. “The Sons of the Mighty” was one of his favourite numbers for male voice parties.
At the Carmarthen National Eisteddfod in 1911 he was awarded the prize of £20 and a medal valued £5 for the best ballad with “The Lay of Prince Gruffydd,” written for chorus, solo, and orchestra.
At Neath in 1918 he won the competitions for the best arrangement of Welsh Airs for male voice choirs and for a similar arrangement for a string quartet.
At the Ammanford National Eisteddfod in 1922 he won the £40 prize for a choral work with orchestra, and he was successful at the Carnarvon National for the best arrangement of Welsh Airs for full orchestra and for tenor solo.
It is suggested that the Welsh National Council of Music, or some other body interested in Welsh musical research should be allowed to examine the 100 odd MSS left by Mr David with a view to their possible publication.
Mr David is survived by his father, who resided at Clydach-on-Tawe, in his 90th year, and is totally blind.
The funeral will be at Clydach on Thursday.