WALES LOSES ITS PATRIARCH
RODERIC DUNNETT pays tribute to
the Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott,
who died in March 2008
The death of Alun Hoddinott on 12 March 2008, at the age of 78, robbed music in Wales of its genial patriarch and father-figure.
Along with William Mathias (1934-92) and Daniel Jones (1912-93), and before them Grace Williams (1906-77), Hoddinott was the most important figure amongst leading Welsh composers in the latter half of the 20th century.
Hoddinott's achievement as both a composer and an administrator -- he was Professor of Music at Cardiff University, formerly the University College of Cardiff and part of the University of Wales, which he built into one of the most substantial, high-achieving and respected music departments in the country, rendered him, a large man both in stature and in personality, a towering figure on the British and indeed the world's musical stage.
The span of Hoddinott's output was almost epic. He was a major symphonic composer, who produced, amid a series of ten symphonies, the substantial scores Landscapes, Lanterne des Morts and The Sun, The Great Luminary of the Universe (Op 76), the orchestral piece Star Children (BBC Proms, 1989) and the vocal masterpiece A Contemplation Upon Flowers: three songs for soprano and orchestra to words by the metaphysical poets George Herbert and Henry King.
Copyright © 15 April 2008 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry UK