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Myfanwy (Welsh: [məˈvɑːnʊɨ]; a woman's name derived from Welsh annwyl, meaning 'beloved') is a popular Welsh song, composed by Joseph Parry and first published in 1875. Sources differ as to whether Dr. Parry composed the music for an existing poem by Richard Davies ("Mynyddog Mwynfawr"; 1833–1877) (the common belief) or whether Davies wrote the words to Parry's melody following its use with an English lyric by Thomas Walter Price (Cuhelyn; 1829 - 1869)(*1), journalist and poet, called "Arabella". Richard Davies' lyric may have been influenced by the 14th Century love story of Myfanwy Fychan of Castell Dinas Brân, Llangollen, and the poet Hywel ab Einion(*2). That story was also the subject of the popular poem, "Myfanwy Fychan" (1858), by John Ceiriog Hughes (1832–87). Some sources say it was written with Parry's childhood sweetheart, Myfanwy Llywellyn, in mind (*3). In 1947, Merthyr-Tydfil-born author, Jack Jones, wrote a book entitled “Off to Philadelphia in the morning” where he relates the story within some aspects of the life of Dr Joseph Parry, weaving facts into his fictional narrative (*4).
|Paham mae dicter, O Myfanwy,
Yn llenwi'th lygaid duon di?
|Why so the anger, Oh Myfanwy,|
That fills your dark eyes
|Pa beth a wneuthum, O Myfanwy
I haeddu gwg dy ddwyrudd hardd?
|What was it that I did, Oh Myfanwy,|
To deserve the frown of your beautiful cheeks?
|Myfanwy boed yr holl o'th fywyd
Dan heulwen ddisglair canol dydd.
|Myfanwy, may your life entirely be|
Beneath the midday sun's bright glow,
The song is still a favourite with Welsh men's choruses. One of the most widely recognized renditions is by the Treorchy Male Voice Choir. Another compelling version was recorded by the Neath Male Voice Choir. A version has been performed by John Cale, Cerys Matthews on her album of Welsh greats, Tir, and by Bryn Terfel on his album "We'll Keep a Welcome". It is also on O Fortuna, the second album from Rhydian, where he duets with fellow Welsh baritone Terfel. It is also a bonus track, sung unaccompanied, on the self-titled album by John Owen Jones. The song also is sung in the Welsh language biographical film Hedd Wyn.
In popular culture
The song features in John Ford's How Green Was My Valley and also in the last scene of the Swansea-based movie Twin Town, where it is sung by members of many local choirs, including the Pontarddulais Male Choir. At a key moment of the plot, the protagonist in the 1992 Welsh-language film Hedd Wyn, which was nominated for an Academy Award, sings it to his former fiancee.
It is both played and discussed in the episode "Death and Dust" of the show Midsomer Murders, during a visit to Wales by detectives from an English village.
|Welsh Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Midi rendition
- Trelawnyd Men's Choir Performs "Myfanwy"
- Morriston Orpheus Choir Performs "Myfanwy"
- Myfanwy - Neath Choir (Welsh-English Lyrics)
- Mal Buck at Tonyrefail Workingmen's Club