My first contact with Mathias’s music was playing the pink oboe in the school orchestra. It was his Serenade, specifically composed for a young orchestra, and it was a most attractive piece.

By a quirk of fate, William Mathias was to become my university professor when he replaced Reginald Smith Brindle at the University College of North Wales, Bangor. He was just 36 at the time. I remember one of his colleagues being somewhat unprofessional about Mathias, following his appointment, but I think most of the students appreciated him. I know I did.

He is buried in the grounds of the cathedral in Llanelwy, where he founded the North Wales International Music Festival in the early ’70s. Not that many people in the cathedral seemed to know when I asked to pay my respects three years ago. Like many Welsh centres, the idea of “music heritage” is confined to CDs of pop tart Katherine Jenkins singing Simon & Garfunkel; even in the self-styled “Welsh City of Music”.

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