WILLIAMS, WILLIAM ALBERT (1909 - 1946), organist, music critic and composer

Name: William Albert Williams
Date of birth: 1909
Date of death: 1946
Spouse: Glenys Williams (née Jones)
Parent: Anne Williams
Parent: Richard Williams
Gender: Male
Occupation: organist, music critic and composer
Area of activity: Music; Performing Arts
Author: John Hughes

Born in Liverpool, 16 January 1909, son of Captain Richard Williams and Anne Williams, both from Marian-glas, Anglesey. His father drowned when Albert was 4 years old and his mother died when he was 15. His mother's sister, Mrs. Stanley Jones, Liverpool, then took care of him, his brother and sister. He began to have piano and organ lessons when he was very young, and he was appointed organist at Chatham St. Presbyterian chapel, Liverpool, when he was 16 years old. Later he became organist at Douglas Road chapel and at the English Independent chapel in Great George St., Liverpool. On leaving school at the age of 16 he worked as a clerk to Liverpool city corporation. In 1940 he married Glenys Jones from Church Village, Pontypridd. He continued as a music student under the instruction of W.H. Whitehall, Liverpool, and became A.R.C.O. and F.R.C.O. He prepared for the degree of Mus. Bac., but his plans were interrupted by World War II. At the end of the war he intended devoting himself entirely to the study of music and he was appointed music director for Cardiganshire, but the military authorities refused to release him. Shortly afterwards his health failed and he died in Middlesex Hospital, 8 January 1946. He possessed to a high degree a rare critical talent. He wrote critical articles on various aspects of music, particularly Welsh music, for Y Cerddor, Y Ford Gron, Y Brython, Y Faner, Y Cymro, Y Llenor, and the Western Mail. His writings show that he would have become an important music critic in Wales had he lived. His compositions demonstrate his very rich musical taste. He confined his compositions to vocal music - songs, part-songs for mixed voices, male voices and children, and a number of anthems.

Although he did not fully develop as a composer, he won many prizes at the national eisteddfod for composition. All his work demonstrates his perceptiveness, and a very clear promise of great things to come had he lived. Many of his works were published by the Gwynn Publishing Co., Llangollen, and the University of Wales Press; several of them were set as test pieces at the national eisteddfod. His early death was a great loss to music in Wales.


Published date: 2001

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