He was considered the nation's unofficial composer laureate with hits such as Jerusalem, and was knighted by Queen Victoria for his services to music including the revitalisation of British musical life - this week Donald Macleod focuses upon the life and music of Sir Hubert Parry.
During the last twenty years of Parry's life, although he was an important part of the British musical scene, knighted by Queen Victoria, and Director of the Royal College of Music, his own music would soon be forgotten and overshadowed by the works of his friend Elgar. Parry would still compose two scores, which would prove to be his most popular and enduring. Jerusalem, which is considered to be Britain's second national anthem, was composed for a war organisation during WWI. The second, his anthem I was Glad, was composed for the coronation of Edward VII, and has since been used at many royal occasions.
Parry's health was deteriorating greatly, and he had to start giving up various teaching and committee obligations. Throughout his career he had always continued to compose the odd work for organ, or set of songs based on English lyrics. There was an Indian summer for Parry when his works were briefly back in vogue, which saw the composition of his fifth symphony. However, with the outbreak of war, his health soon started to go downhill, as he was required to work more and more on his own estate in the chopping down of trees. This was a period when Parry would hear of the death of many of his students at the front, and suffer himself from depression. Parry died a month before the armistice, and at his funeral was performed one of his last composed works, his a cappella Songs of Farewell.