Joseph Parry (b. Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales, 1841; d. Penarth, Glamorganshire, 1903) was born into a poor but musical family. Although he showed musical gifts at an early age, he was sent to work in the puddling furnaces of a steel mill at the age of nine. His family immigrated to a Welsh settlement in Danville, Pennsylvania in 1854, where Parry later started a music school. He traveled in the United States and in Wales, performing, studying, and composing music, and he won several Eisteddfodau (singing competition) prizes. Parry studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at Cambridge, where part of his tuition was paid by interested community people who were eager to encourage his talent. From 1873 to 1879 he was professor of mus… Go to person page >
Joseph Parry (PHH 18) composed MERTHYR TIDFIL (also called DIES IRAE), first published in Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol Cenedlaethol Cymru (The Welsh National Book of Congregational Tunes), a collection of hymn tunes Parry compiled and published in several parts from 1887 to 1892. The tune is named after the town of Parry's birth and means "the martyr Tydfil." The similarities of lines 1, 2, and 4 find a fitting contrast and climax in line 3. The harmonization invites part singing, but the music must not be taken too slowly.
Tune Title: DIES IRAE (MERTHYR TYDVIL)First Line: Dduw mawr! pa beth a welaf draw? (Great God! what do I see and hear?)Composer: Dr. Joseph Parry (1841-1903)Meter: M.86.(188.8.131.52.88.4.)Key: b minorDate: 1979