Sir Hubert Parry
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1848-02-27
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Sir Hubert Parry

Biography

Hubert Parry was one of the key figures in the British musical renaissance of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as composer, educator and writer. Born into the landed gentry (his family’s country seat was Highnam Court, near Gloucester), ...

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Biography

Hubert Parry was one of the key figures in the British musical renaissance of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as composer, educator and writer. Born into the landed gentry (his family’s country seat was Highnam Court, near Gloucester), he studied at Eton and Oxford, and under family pressure went into the City, before the growing success of his compositions allowed him, in 1877, to devote himself full-time to music.

He was a major contributor to the first Grove’s Dictionary of Music, which began publication in 1879, and later wrote several books on musical history and aesthetics. He joined the staff of the Royal College of Music when it was founded in 1883, and was director from 1895 until his death; he was also Professor of Music at Oxford from 1900 to 1908. Generations of students came under the spell of his warm, generous personality and his insistence on the artist’s moral responsibility to society. Elgar was articulating a widely held view when, in a 1905 lecture, he called Parry ‘the head of our art in this country’.

Parry’s musical style was influenced primarily by the great German tradition, from Buxtehude to Brahms and even Wagner, at a time when most English musicians considered the latter beyond the pale. Much of his output consists of choral music: oratorios, sacred and secular cantatas, motets, anthems, service music, part-songs and hymns. But he also composed four symphonies, a Symphonic Fantasia, a set of Symphonic Variations and other orchestral works; music for piano, organ and various chamber ensembles; and 12 sets of English Lyrics, an important component of the English song repertory.

After his death at the age of 70, Parry was largely forgotten for many years – thanks mainly to a series of misconceptions. He was viewed as an all-too-conventional Victorian gentleman, when he could more accurately be ranked with Ruskin and Darwin as a Victorian radical: he was agnostic and politically liberal, and had a deeply introspective side to his character. He was also regularly coupled with his more conservative (and more irascible) contemporary Stanford as the joint precursor of a British revival that was considered to have begun in earnest only with Elgar and Vaughan Williams.

In recent years, however, a growing number of recordings and Jeremy Dibble’s pioneering biography have begun to restore Parry’s reputation. And, even if his music is hardly a staple of the concert repertory, his 1887 ode Blest Pair of Sirens, his 1902 Coronation anthem I was glad and his late unaccompanied Songs of Farewell (1916) remain popular with choirs and choral societies, while Jerusalem holds a proud place as one of the finest and best-known of national melodies.

Profile © Anthony Burton


Sir Hubert Parry Tracks

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Sir Hubert Parry
Lord, let me know mine end (no.6 from Songs of farewell for mixed voices)
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Lord, let me know mine end (no.6 from Songs of farewell for mixed voices)
Sir Hubert Parry
I Was Glad
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I Was Glad
Sir Hubert Parry
Symphony no. 3 in C major (English) - 3rd mvt; Allegro molto scherzoso
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Symphony no. 3 in C major (English) - 3rd mvt; Allegro molto scherzoso
Sir Hubert Parry
Jerusalem (feat. Darius Battiwalla)
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Jerusalem (feat. Darius Battiwalla)
Sir Hubert Parry
Magnificat in D major 'Great Service'
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Magnificat in D major 'Great Service'
Sir Hubert Parry
At the round earth's imagined corners
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At the round earth's imagined corners
Hubert Parry, Daniel Cook, Choir of Westminster Abbey, Onyx Brass & James O'Donnell
I was glad
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I was glad
Pat McCarthy
Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind
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Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind

Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind

Performer
Pat McCarthy
Congregation of St Michael’s Church
John Anderson
Pamela Snell
Paul Klein
Neal Gallie
Steven Irvin
Paul Leddington Wright
Sir Hubert Parry
Jerusalem
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Jerusalem
Hubert Parry
The Aviators
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The Aviators
The Band of the Prince of Wales Division
I Was Glad
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I Was Glad

I Was Glad

Performer
The Band of the Prince of Wales Division
Choirs of the Big Sing
Paul Leddington Wright
The Big Sing Orchestra
Daniel Moult
Fanfare Trumpets
Paul Leddington Wright
Psalm 122
Sir Hubert Parry
Lord, let me know mine end (Songs of Farewell)
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Lord, let me know mine end (Songs of Farewell)
Sir Hubert Parry
Dear Lord and Father of mankind
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Dear Lord and Father of mankind
Sir Hubert Parry
I was glad (Psalm 122)
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I was glad (Psalm 122)
Dominic Peckham
Music, when Soft Voices Die
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Music, when Soft Voices Die
Sir Hubert Parry
Lady Radnor's suite for string orchestra in F major; no. 1; Prelude (Vivace)
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Lady Radnor's suite for string orchestra in F major; no. 1; Prelude (Vivace)
Sir Hubert Parry
Ye Servants of God
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Ye Servants of God
Sir Hubert Parry
Songs of Farewell - No.1: My soul, there is a country
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Songs of Farewell - No.1: My soul, there is a country
Sir Hubert Parry
Lady Radnor's suite for string...; no. 2; Allemande (Allegretto grazioso)
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Lady Radnor's suite for string...; no. 2; Allemande (Allegretto grazioso)
Sir Hubert Parry
Jerusalem orch. Elgar for chorus and orchestra
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Jerusalem orch. Elgar for chorus and orchestra
Add music you love and enjoy it
Playlists featuring Sir Hubert Parry
Music and the Great War
Music and the Great War


Sir Hubert Parry Biography

Hubert Parry was one of the key figures in the British musical renaissance of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as composer, educator and writer. Born into the landed gentry (his family’s country seat was Highnam Court, near Gloucester), he studied at Eton and Oxford, and under family pressure went into the City, before the growing success of his compositions allowed him, in 1877, to devote himself full-time to music.

He was a major contributor to the first Grove’s Dictionary of Music, which began publication in 1879, and later wrote several books on musical history and aesthetics. He joined the staff of the Royal College of Music when it was founded in 1883, and was director from 1895 until his death; he was also Professor of Music at Oxford from 1900 to 1908. Generations of students came under the spell of his warm, generous personality and his insistence on the artist’s moral responsibility to society. Elgar was articulating a widely held view when, in a 1905 lecture, he called Parry ‘the head of our art in this country’.

Parry’s musical style was influenced primarily by the great German tradition, from Buxtehude to Brahms and even Wagner, at a time when most English musicians considered the latter beyond the pale. Much of his output consists of choral music: oratorios, sacred and secular cantatas, motets, anthems, service music, part-songs and hymns. But he also composed four symphonies, a Symphonic Fantasia, a set of Symphonic Variations and other orchestral works; music for piano, organ and various chamber ensembles; and 12 sets of English Lyrics, an important component of the English song repertory.

After his death at the age of 70, Parry was largely forgotten for many years – thanks mainly to a series of misconceptions. He was viewed as an all-too-conventional Victorian gentleman, when he could more accurately be ranked with Ruskin and Darwin as a Victorian radical: he was agnostic and politically liberal, and had a deeply introspective side to his character. He was also regularly coupled with his more conservative (and more irascible) contemporary Stanford as the joint precursor of a British revival that was considered to have begun in earnest only with Elgar and Vaughan Williams.

In recent years, however, a growing number of recordings and Jeremy Dibble’s pioneering biography have begun to restore Parry’s reputation. And, even if his music is hardly a staple of the concert repertory, his 1887 ode Blest Pair of Sirens, his 1902 Coronation anthem I was glad and his late unaccompanied Songs of Farewell (1916) remain popular with choirs and choral societies, while Jerusalem holds a proud place as one of the finest and best-known of national melodies.

Profile © Anthony Burton

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