File A6/2 - The Beach of Falesá

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The Beach of Falesá


  • [1971]-1974, 1976 and 1986-1987 (Creation)

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3 envelopes, 2 bundles, 2 folders, 1 box (11 cm.)

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Biographical history

Alun Hoddinott, the eminent Welsh composer and teacher, was born at Bargoed, 11 August 1929. He received his secondary education at Gowerton Grammar School where, in 1946, he won a scholarship to study at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Cardiff. He graduated (BMus) in 1949 and during this period he also studied composition with the Australian composer and pianist, Arthur Benjamin, in London.

Lecturing posts in Cardiff - at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, 1951-1959, and the University College, 1959-1965, led to a readership at the University of Wales. He gained a DMus in 1960. In 1967 he was appointed Professor of Music and Head of Department at Cardiff, retiring in 1987 in order to devote himself to composition.

Also in 1967 he co-founded the Cardiff Festival of Twentieth Century Music with the pianist John Ogdon, and was its artistic director until 1989.

In April 1953 he married Rhiannon Huws. They had studied together at Cardiff and she became central to every aspect of his life. She often translated and prepared texts to set to music. Their son, Huw Ceri, was born in 1957.

Alun Hoddinott became established early in his career as being one of the leading British composers of his generation. He achieved his first national success in 1954 when his Clarinet Concerto, op. 3, was given its first public performance at the Cheltenham Festival by Gervase de Peyer and the Hallé Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli. This brought him a national profile which was followed by a string of commissions by distinguished singers and instrumentalists that continued throughout his life. A prolific composer, his vast and versatile catalogue comprises nearly 300 individual works, including six operas, ten symphonies and over twenty concertos.

He was presented with several honorary awards, professional accolades and prestigious prizes in recognition of his achievements. He was appointed CBE in 1983. In 2009 the BBC National Orchestra of Wales's new home at the Wales Millennium Centre was named the BBC Hoddinott Hall - Neuadd Hoddinott BBC in his honour.

Alun Hoddinott died 11 March 2008.

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The file comprises papers, [1971]-1974, 1976 and 1986-1987, relating to The Beach of Falesá, libretto by Glyn Jones, based on a short story by R. L. Stevenson, and music by Alun Hoddinott. The opera was commissioned by the Welsh National Opera Company and published by the Oxford University Press (London, 1974). The file contains manuscript and typescript drafts of the libretto, with synopses of the work, and a copy of the manuscript vocal score (possibly in the hand of Alun Hoddinott). Also included are manuscript and typescript drafts of lyrics for songs, [c. 1973], together with other related papers. In addition the file contains correspondence, 1973-1974, mostly between Glyn Jones and the Oxford University Press, with letters from Roy Bohana (3), Alun Hoddinott (2), Alan Frank, Oxford University Press (11), and A. G. Prys-Jones. A number of drafts are written on papers pertaining to the Welsh Arts Council and drafts of other works by Glyn Jones.

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Copies of an article by Glyn Jones about the opera, published in The Texas Arts Journal, 1977, is included in A7/1. Cuttings and other printed material, 1971, 1973-1974, relating to The Beach of Falesá are included in file A11/10. A programme of the Welsh National Opera Company's production of Alun Hoddinott's opera 'The Beach of Falesá', 1974, with a holograph letter from Glyn Jones, are included in NLW Misc Records 239.

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Preferred citation: A6/2

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  • Text: A6/2 (12-13).