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How Grey Was My Valley? is a meditation and reflection on my life and musical experiences growing up in Wales. The influences that fed into this are numerous, to the point I often felt myself pulled in different directions, unsure of what to write. However, there is one main influence that I drew from when writing this, and that is my experiences playing in ensembles, most importantly wind bands, throughout my school education. I like to think of this piece as a homage to this.

The piece takes a largely binary form, with two different musical ideas shaping each section. The first section is led by a melodic, almost hymn-like melody, first played by solo clarinet. The theme itself is inspired by the songs we would sing as children in South-West Wales, such as Ar Hyd y Nos, Sosban Fach (a personal favourite), Calon Lân, and many others. The second section is more upbeat and is influenced by two distinct memories – traditional dancing on Dydd Gwyl Dewi in primary school, and the march music, like the Sousa mentioned above, we would play in wind band.

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