|Composer:||William Penfro Rowlands (1905)|
|Incipit:||55665 13321 7655|
Composed by William Penfro Rowlands (b. Maenclochog, Pembrokeshire, Wales, 1860; d. Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales, 1937) during the Welsh revival of 1904-1905, BLAENWERN was published in Henry H. Jones's Cân a Moliant (1915). The tune's name refers to a farm in Pembroke shire where Rowlands convalesced in his youth.
A church musician of many talents, Rowlands was a teacher in several schools. He composed hymn tunes and anthems and was conductor of the famous Morriston United Choral Society of southern Wales and precentor of the Tabernacle Congregational Church in Morriston. BLAENWERN gained its current popularity through Billy Graham crusades when it was sung to "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" (579).
Play this majestic music with two broad beats per measure. Especially when sung with its fine harmonization, BLAENWERN gradually builds to a powerful climax at the end of phrase 3 and the beginning of phrase 4. Assign some stanzas for antiphonal singing in harmony, but have the entire group sing stanza 5 in unison, perhaps with a slightly slower tempo.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988