WILLIAM MATHIAS (1934 - 1992)
The professional lives of William Mathias and Alun Hoddinott went very much in parallel. Both gained early recognition as leading Welsh musical figures of their generation, and both held academic positions for much of this time, Mathias as Professor at Bangor, and both founded music festivals — Hoddinott in Cardiff, Mathias at St Asaph. Mathias was also prolific not only in ‘serious’ orchestral, chamber and choral music, but also found time to write less ‘demanding’ pieces that would find a wider audience, like a Royal Wedding Anthem, and a set of Celtic Dances, which stand as his ‘Welsh Dances’ by another name. The Serenade is an early work, dating from 1963 and commissioned by the Carmarthenshire Education Authority for their Country Youth Orchestra, and is cast in three short movements that bear all Mathias’s distinctive fingerprints that were to permeate his music right up to his untimely death from cancer in 1992.