Author: Peter Broadbent
Performance: I Was Glad
Sir Hubert Parry was something of a prodigy, being awarded his B.Mus. degree from Oxford University whilst he was still a schoolboy at Eton.
Despite the best efforts of his family to channel him into a life of commerce (he was an underwriter at Lloyd’s for some years) and later his in-law’s objections, he eventually achieved a life in the musical world, teaching at the Royal College of Music alongside Stanford, becoming Director from 1895 until his death, as well as Professor of Music at Oxford University.
I was glad was written for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 and has been used at all subsequent coronations, as well as at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.
Blest pair of sirens, written in 1887, was the work which really established Parry’s international reputation. It is a setting of words taken from Milton’s At a solemn music and was first performed at the opening of the Albert Hall. The piece is dedicated to Stanford, who described Parry as “England’s greatest composer since Purcell”.