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St Bride's Choir commemorates Sir Hubert Parry's Centenary

St Bride's Choir commemorates Sir Hubert Parry's Centenary

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 1st Baronet
(27 February 1848 – 7 October 1918)

On Sunday 7th October, St Bride's Choir will be marking the centenary of the death of Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, who was one of the leading figures in British music during the late Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Born in Bournemouth on 27th February, 1848, Parry went on to work as composer, teacher and historian and influenced a generation of English composers.

He is best known for his setting of Blake's poem, Jerusalem, composed in 1916 as a rallying cry for the Fight for Right movement formed to reinforce British resolve in the war. In 1924 the Women's Institute adopted it as their anthem and now it is traditionally sung at the Last Night of the Proms each year. His other most popular work is I was glad written for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 and famously sung at the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey.

At our 5:30pm Choral Evensong we will be singing Parry's setting of Henry Vaughan's poem, My soul, there is a country, which is the first of the "Songs of Farewell" composed towards the end of his life in response to the horrors of the First World War and his own failing health.

The song cycle was written whilst he was director of the Royal College of Music and many pupils were away being killed in the trenches. Parry died some five weeks before the Armistice which would end the war having never heard his cycle as a complete work.

Evensong also includes Parry's canticles from his "Great" Service in D major. This was written in 1881 for Charles Stanford and the choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, but was actually first performed by John Stainer at St Paul's Cathedral in 1882.

In the morning at the 11am Choral Eucharist, we shall be singing an excerpt from Parry's oratorio "Judith" - the oratorio itself is largely forgotten, but this section has been adapted as a very well-known hymn. We can also all join in singing his biggest hit, Jerusalem.

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