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Lowell Mason

1792 - 1872 Person Name: Dr. L Mason. 1792-1872 Composer of "CLEVELAND" in Welsh and English Hymns and Anthems Dr. Lowell Mason (the degree was conferred by the University of New York) is justly called the father of American church music; and by his labors were founded the germinating principles of national musical intelligence and knowledge, which afforded a soil upon which all higher musical culture has been founded. To him we owe some of our best ideas in religious church music, elementary musical education, music in the schools, the popularization of classical chorus singing, and the art of teaching music upon the Inductive or Pestalozzian plan. More than that, we owe him no small share of the respect which the profession of music enjoys at the present time as contrasted with the contempt in which it was held a century or more ago. In fact, the entire art of music, as now understood and practiced in America, has derived advantage from the work of this great man. Lowell Mason was born in Medfield, Mass., January 8, 1792. From childhood he had manifested an intense love for music, and had devoted all his spare time and effort to improving himself according to such opportunities as were available to him. At the age of twenty he found himself filling a clerkship in a banking house in Savannah, Ga. Here he lost no opportunity of gratifying his passion for musical advancement, and was fortunate to meet for the first time a thoroughly qualified instructor, in the person of F. L. Abel. Applying his spare hours assiduously to the cultivation of the pursuit to which his passion inclined him, he soon acquired a proficiency that enabled him to enter the field of original composition, and his first work of this kind was embodied in the compilation of a collection of church music, which contained many of his own compositions. The manuscript was offered unavailingly to publishers in Philadelphia and in Boston. Fortunately for our musical advancement it finally secured the attention of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society, and by its committee was submitted to Dr. G. K. Jackson, the severest critic in Boston. Dr. Jackson approved most heartily of the work, and added a few of his own compositions to it. Thus enlarged, it was finally published in 1822 as The Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music. Mason's name was omitted from the publication at his own request, which he thus explains, "I was then a bank officer in Savannah, and did not wish to be known as a musical man, as I had not the least thought of ever making music a profession." President Winchester, of the Handel and Haydn Society, sold the copyright for the young man. Mr. Mason went back to Savannah with probably $500 in his pocket as the preliminary result of his Boston visit. The book soon sprang into universal popularity, being at once adopted by the singing schools of New England, and through this means entering into the church choirs, to whom it opened up a higher field of harmonic beauty. Its career of success ran through some seventeen editions. On realizing this success, Mason determined to accept an invitation to come to Boston and enter upon a musical career. This was in 1826. He was made an honorary member of the Handel and Haydn Society, but declined to accept this, and entered the ranks as an active member. He had been invited to come to Boston by President Winchester and other musical friends and was guaranteed an income of $2,000 a year. He was also appointed, by the influence of these friends, director of music at the Hanover, Green, and Park Street churches, to alternate six months with each congregation. Finally he made a permanent arrangement with the Bowdoin Street Church, and gave up the guarantee, but again friendly influence stepped in and procured for him the position of teller at the American Bank. In 1827 Lowell Mason became president and conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society. It was the beginning of a career that was to win for him as has been already stated the title of "The Father of American Church Music." Although this may seem rather a bold claim it is not too much under the circumstances. Mr. Mason might have been in the average ranks of musicianship had he lived in Europe; in America he was well in advance of his surroundings. It was not too high praise (in spite of Mason's very simple style) when Dr. Jackson wrote of his song collection: "It is much the best book I have seen published in this country, and I do not hesitate to give it my most decided approbation," or that the great contrapuntist, Hauptmann, should say the harmonies of the tunes were dignified and churchlike and that the counterpoint was good, plain, singable and melodious. Charles C. Perkins gives a few of the reasons why Lowell Mason was the very man to lead American music as it then existed. He says, "First and foremost, he was not so very much superior to the members as to be unreasonably impatient at their shortcomings. Second, he was a born teacher, who, by hard work, had fitted himself to give instruction in singing. Third, he was one of themselves, a plain, self-made man, who could understand them and be understood of them." The personality of Dr. Mason was of great use to the art and appreciation of music in this country. He was of strong mind, dignified manners, sensitive, yet sweet and engaging. Prof. Horace Mann, one of the great educators of that day, said he would walk fifty miles to see and hear Mr. Mason teach if he could not otherwise have that advantage. Dr. Mason visited a number of the music schools in Europe, studied their methods, and incorporated the best things in his own work. He founded the Boston Academy of Music. The aim of this institution was to reach the masses and introduce music into the public schools. Dr. Mason resided in Boston from 1826 to 1851, when he removed to New York. Not only Boston benefited directly by this enthusiastic teacher's instruction, but he was constantly traveling to other societies in distant cities and helping their work. He had a notable class at North Reading, Mass., and he went in his later years as far as Rochester, where he trained a chorus of five hundred voices, many of them teachers, and some of them coming long distances to study under him. Before 1810 he had developed his idea of "Teachers' Conventions," and, as in these he had representatives from different states, he made musical missionaries for almost the entire country. He left behind him no less than fifty volumes of musical collections, instruction books, and manuals. As a composer of solid, enduring church music. Dr. Mason was one of the most successful this country has introduced. He was a deeply pious man, and was a communicant of the Presbyterian Church. Dr. Mason in 1817 married Miss Abigail Gregory, of Leesborough, Mass. The family consisted of four sons, Daniel Gregory, Lowell, William and Henry. The two former founded the publishing house of Mason Bros., dissolved by the death of the former in 19G9. Lowell and Henry were the founders of the great organ manufacturer of Mason & Hamlin. Dr. William Mason was one of the most eminent musicians that America has yet produced. Dr. Lowell Mason died at "Silverspring," a beautiful residence on the side of Orange Mountain, New Jersey, August 11, 1872, bequeathing his great musical library, much of which had been collected abroad, to Yale College. --Hall, J. H. (c1914). Biographies of Gospel Song and Hymn Writers. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company.

H. Elvet Lewis

1860 - 1953 Person Name: H. E. L. Author (stanza 3) of "O gariad! O gariad mor rhad! (O love divine, full and free!)" in Mawl a chân = praise and song Lewis, Howell Elvet, M.A., born April 14, 1860, and educated for the Congregational Ministry. After holding several charges in the country, he removed to London in 1898. His Sweet Singers of Wales, 1889, contains translations of standard Welsh hymns. They are well done, and worthy of attention on the part of hymn-book compilers. Mr. Lewis is M.A. of the University of Wales. [Rev. T. G. Crippen] --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907) ================= Howell Elvet Lewis, CH (14 April 1860 – 10 December 1953), widely known by his bardic name Elfed, was a Welsh Congregational minister, hymn-writer, and devotional poet, who served as Archdruid of the National Eisteddfod of Wales from 1924 to 1928. Elfed was born on 14 April 1860, the eldest son of twelve children of James and Anna Lewis, of Y Gangell, near Blaenycoed, Carmarthenshire. His father was a farm labourer and his mother was a local shopkeeper. He had a very limited early education, but through self-study and attendance at the local chapel schoolroom he managed to gain entry to Newcastle Emlyn Grammar School at the age of 14. Two years later he succeeded in an examination for admission to the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen, where he trained for the ministry. Elfed was ordained in 1880 and was made pastor of St John’s English Congregational Church in Buckley, Flintshire, where the local Secondary School Elfed High School is named after him. In 1884 he moved to minister at Fish Street Church, Hull. He returned to Wales in 1891 as minister of the English Congregational Park Chapel, Llanelli. In 1898 he accepted a calling to Harecourt Chapel in London, where he remained until 1904. In 1904 he became minister of Tabernacle Chapel (Capel y Tabernacl in Welsh) – a Welsh language Congregational chapel in King's Cross, London. He remained at Y Tabernacl until his retirement in 1940. He retired to Penarth, where he became a member of Ebeneser Chapel, Cardiff. Apart from serving as a church minister Elfed's ministry included two periods as chair of the London Missionary Board in 1910 and 1922. He was one of three representatives of the Congregational Union of England and Wales invited to visit Madagascar to celebrate the centenary of the arrival of the first missionaries to the country. He was elected President of the National Free Church Council, 1926–27, President of the Welsh Union of the League of Nations, 1927–28, and chairman of the Congregational Union in 1933. Elfed's literary output was prolific: he wrote essays, historical treaties, obituaries, devotional works and poetry. He won the National Eisteddfod Crown consecutively in 1888 (Wrexham) and 1889 (Brecon), and the Chair in 1894 (Caernarfon).[5] He was inaugurated into the bardic order of the Gorsedd in 1888 and enthroned as its Archdruid in 1924, a position which he held until 1928. Elfed's greatest contribution to Welsh literature was in the field of hymnody and hymnology. He published his first hymn, O Dywysog Pob Daioni, in 1881 during the first year of his ministry, he went on to write a large number of original hymns in Welsh and in English and to translate hymns between the two languages, many of which are still popular with congregations today. Among his best known original Welsh language hymns is the patriotic hymn Cofia'n gwlad Benllywydd tirion (described as "a kind of second national anthem"); while his original English hymn Lord of Light, Your Name Outshining is widely used in hymn books on both sides of the Atlantic. A number of Welsh hymns translated into English appeared in a series of articles published in the magazine Sunday at Home, and were republished in book form in 1889 by the Religious Tract Society as Sweet Singers of Wales. The University of Wales awarded Elfed three honorary degrees: MA (1906), D.D. (1937) and Ll.D (1949). He was the first person to achieve such an honour from the University. He was created a Companion of Honour in 1948. Marriage and family Elfed married three times. Elfed died on 10 December 1953. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in Blaenycoed Principal publications: Welsh Caniadau (2 vols, 1895-1901) English My Christ and other Poems (1891) Israel and other Poems (1930) Songs of Assisi (1938) --en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ (excerpts) See also in: Wikipedia

Daniel Hughes

Person Name: D. H. Translator of "O gariad! O gariad mor rhad! (O love divine, full and free!)" in Mawl a chân = praise and song

David Emlyn Evans

1843 - 1913 Person Name: D. Emlyn Evans Composer of "TREWEN" in Cân a Mawl Born: September 21, 1843, Penralltwen, near Castellnewydd Emlyn (Castle Emlyn), Carmarthenshire, Wales. Died: January 19, 1913, Cemmaes, Montgomeryshire. Buried: Llandyfriog (near Newcastle Emlyn), Wales. Evans was a composer, adjudicator, conductor, editor, critic, music historian and entrepreneur. Frequently irascible, especially in his last years which he spent in severe and immobilizing pain, he was one of the foremost figures in Welsh musical life in the period leading up to World War I. He was self taught, via the most popular of all Welsh music publications, John Mills’ Gramadeg Cerddoriaeth, and the two parts of Thomas Williams’ Ceinion Cerddoriaeth (Musical Gems, 1852) with its 200 hymn tunes and seventy anthems and choruses. Later, formal lessons by a music teacher, Mr. Hughes of Llechryd, a few miles from his home, gave him a firmer grounding in the old notation used until 1858. The same year, in Bridgend, he sang his first song in public, conducted his first choir and won his first prize for composition. In 1863 he moved to Cheltenham, where he worked as a shop assistant and received further lessons in piano and organ. He became a commercial traveler in 1871, and traveled in this capacity for the next 20 years the length and breadth of Wales, making contacts and observing the growth of music throughout Wales. It was probably during his overnight stays in hotels that most of his musical compositions were created at the end of his working day. Throughout this period, 66 of his pieces won prizes in competitions in Wales, England and America. Evans’s works include: Y Caniedydd Cynulleidfaol, 1895 (editor) --www.hymntime.com/tch

Dafydd Jones

1711 - 1777 Person Name: D. J. Author (stanzas 1, 2) of "O gariad! O gariad mor rhad! (O love divine, full and free!)" in Mawl a chân = praise and song Also: Jones, Dafydd, of Caio

David Jones

1805 - 1868 Person Name: Parch. David Jones. Treborth. Author of "O gariad! O gariad mor rhâd!" in Cân a Mawl David Jones, Treborth.

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