From my house on Anglesey, the magnificent mountains of Eryri (‘abode of the eagles’), known as Snowdonia in English, can be seen clearly, and it is this fine view that spurred me to compose this tone-poem, originally for orchestra but arranged and adapted here for brass band.
In the same way as the mountains change from season to season, and the view alters as one climbs the slopes, there are several distinct and contrasting sections to the piece. First we hear the bustle and excitement of the area in summer, as visitors flock to the foot of Snowdon; then an impression of the confident striding of those setting off to climb. After a brisk climax, the energetic theme reappears in a new, more folk-like, guise, and develops into a majestic anthem suggesting the grandeur of the mountain-range. The famous little train of Snowdon is brought to mind by a repetitive, mechanical idea which leads to a section combining both the main themes of excitement and grandeur, and to a powerful climax. Then, after a moment of silence, the atmosphere changes completely. Here is the ineffable solitude – and timeless beauty - of Snowdonia. A peremptory fanfare leads back to the opening mood, and a return of the opening theme, but the final word is given to the ‘solitude’ theme, now transformed into a resolute chorale representing the eternal permanence of these extraordinary mountains.