Welsh composer William Mathias was born in Whitland on 1 November 1934, and began playing piano at three and composing at five. He studied at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth and then with Lennox Berkeley at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He was a house composer with Oxford University Press from 1961 and head of the music department and professor of music at what is now Bangor University from 1970 until 1988. He was also a conductor and pianist.
He wrote large- and small-scale music over an impressively wide range, and was equally adept in vocal and instrumental music. He is possibly remembered particularly for Let the people praise Thee, O God, his anthem for the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981, for his Sinfonietta, written for and toured in Denmark and Germany by the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra in 1967, for the Organ Concerto, written for Gillian Weir and for Let all the World in every corner sing, written for the diamond jubilee of the Royal School of Church Music. His church music and carols are still regularly performed.
He founded and directed the North Wales International Music Festival, based at St Asaph in Denbighshire, from 1972 until his death on 29 July 1992, aged fifty-seven.
CD Spotlight. Highly Effective - Gerald Fenech listens to miniatures by William Mathias. '... splendid and sweetly unaffected performances ...'
CD Spotlight. Serious and Entertaining - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to choral music by William Mathias. '... each moment ... truly captivates and draws further.'
Ensemble. Punchy Treatment - Derby Choral Union at Christmas, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Alert Realisations - Christmas music from The Sitwell Singers, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Quite Stunning - The 2015 Three Choirs Festival, enjoyed by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Highly Successful - Roderic Dunnett looks back to Worcester's 2014 Three Choirs Festival, and forward to Hereford's Festival in July 2015
Ensemble. A Pleasant Change - Derby Choral Union's Christmas Concert, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Widely Spread - Christmas music from Caius College Choir, recommended by Keith Bramich. '... high-quality singing with lovely rounded tone ...'
Ensemble. Added Vibrancy - Mike Wheeler listens to a classy concert from the Sitwell Singers
CD Spotlight. Gallic Sheen - Christmas choral music from Arsys Bourgogne, heard by Keith Bramich. '... a well-recommended stocking-filler ...'
CD Spotlight. Irridescent Colourings - The Debussy Ensemble, enjoyed by Bill Newman. '... beautifully balanced ...'
CD Spotlight. A Hint of Bitters - Music by William Ferris, heard by Howard Smith. 'Well worth investigating.'
Majesty, Moment and Control - Ben Bloor's concluding recital for Derby Cathedral's 2010 summer organ series impresses Tony Westerman
CD Spotlight. Mice in the Manger - A selection of Christmas music, enjoyed by George Balcombe. '... an amazing collection.'
Ensemble. Bounce and Jollity - Derby Bach Choir's cathedral Christmas presentation, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Splendidly Wide-ranging - The Sitwell Singers' Christmas concert, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. An exuberant performance - Mike Wheeler reviews the last of Derby Cathedral's summer organ recitals, given by Tom Corfield