Usually known simply as "Men Of Harlech," this famous harp melody nearly became the Welsh National Anthem. The original, known as "Rhyfelgyrch Gwyr Harlech
," is of unknown provenance though it probably dates from either the siege of Harlech of 1408/9 or the Wars Of The Roses.
The music was first published by the King's Harpist Edward Jones in his 1794 book Musical And Poetical Relicks Of The Welsh Bards
(usually known simply as Relicks
); the song was published in Volume II of the 1862 collection Welsh Melodies...
with Welsh lyrics by Talhaiarn (who also versified "The Ash Grove"), and English lyrics by T. Oliphant.
It was sung at a mass meeting of the Welsh churches in London's Hyde Park on June 21, 1913, and has been popular ever since. As with many famous songs, the lyrics have been changed and augmented over the years, probably most famously for the 1964 film Zulu
in which it was sung by a regiment under siege from native warriors, but the contemporary military connection is by no means fictional, and "Men Of Harlech" is the official song of several regiments, including the Royal Regiment Of Wales and the Royal Canadian Hussars. Besides Zulu
it has featured in a number of films.
There are also numerous published arrangements including an 1896 arrangement by John Hartman for cornet with piano accompaniment and a whole series of arrangements in 2001 by International Music Publications including for flute and trumpet.
Alexander Baron - London, England