Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Parry Becomes Director of the Royal College of Music

Donald Macleod discusses the effect of Parry's becoming the director of the Royal College of Music.

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.

Parry had hit the big time! His Blest Pair of Sirens had proved to be popular, and a number of other choral commissions followed, including the chance to write an oratorio, Judith. Although rarely heard in its entirety today, many will recognise one of the tunes as the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. Other choral works followed, such as Job, although Parry detested the nation's lust for oratorios, and soon found himself pigeonholed in the category of an oratorio composer.

Other commissions came Parry's way though, such as composing incidental music for the stage. One such play was The Frogs, which caused wild uproar. Then followed another stage work, Hypatia, although the composing of this was at a time when Parry's health was not good. Parry had always suffered from poor health, and now his doctors were advising him regular trips abroad for peace and quiet, and time away from work. This was hard to achieve, as Parry had just been appointed Director of the Royal College of Music.

Along with this appointment at the RCM, and with his commissions increasing, Parry's status was now at an all time high. For the anniversary celebrations of the composer Purcell, Parry would compose one of his best choral works, Invocation to Music. Also at this time he'd write his only orchestral work to become popular abroad, the Symphonic Variations.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Hubert Parry

    Long since in Egypts plenteous land (from Judith )

    • Decca 4703782.
  • Hubert Parry

    Allegretto, Entr - Acte before Act 2 (from Hypatia)

    Performer: Choir of Winchester Cathedral Performer: Waynflete Singers Performer: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Performer: David Hill, conductor

    • Dutton CDLX7237.
  • Hubert Parry

    Hear my words, ye people

    Performer: Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir Performer: Edward Seymour, baritone Performer: George Castle, organ Performer: Stephen Shellard, conductor

    • Regent REGCD369.
  • Hubert Parry

    Introduction from Invocation to Music

    Performer: Anne Dawson, soprano Performer: The London Philharmonic Choir Performer: The London Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Matthias Bamert, conductor

    • Chandos CHAN9025.
  • Hubert Parry

    Symphonic Variations

    Performer: The London Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Matthias Bamert, conductor

    • Chandos CHAN7006.
  • Hubert Parry

    Long since in Egypts plenteous land (from Judith )

    • Decca 4703782.
  • Hubert Parry

    Allegretto, Entr - Acte before Act 2 (from Hypatia)

    Performer: Choir of Winchester Cathedral Performer: Waynflete Singers Performer: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Performer: David Hill, conductor

    • Dutton CDLX7237.
  • Hubert Parry

    Hear my words, ye people

    Performer: Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir Performer: Edward Seymour, baritone Performer: George Castle, organ Performer: Stephen Shellard, conductor

    • Regent REGCD369.
  • Hubert Parry

    Introduction from Invocation to Music

    Performer: Anne Dawson, soprano Performer: The London Philharmonic Choir Performer: The London Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Matthias Bamert, conductor

    • Chandos CHAN9025.
  • Hubert Parry

    Symphonic Variations

    Performer: The London Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Matthias Bamert, conductor

    • Chandos CHAN7006.

Broadcasts

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.