Sir (Charles) Hubert (Hastings) Parry (1848-1918)
After leaving Eton, Hubert Parry earned a Bachelor of Music degree at Oxford at the age of 18. Although an accomplished organist, pianist, and violinist, he initially worked for three years as a clerk at Lloyd’s of London before leaving to further his musical studies under Edward Danreuther. Parry published his first orchestral work in 1878 (Piano Concerto in F# Minor) and then went on to compose a wide variety of works including oratorios, librettos, chamber pieces, cantatas, choral works and solo songs.
In 1883 he joined the Royal College of Music as a teacher and became its director in 1894, a position he held until his death. He was knighted in 1898 and made a baronet in 1903. Probably his most notable pupils were Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst. Parry was not a distant man and inspired others through his kindness, warmth and enthusiasm. From 1900-1908, he served as a Professor of Music at Oxford and received three honorary doctorate degrees from Cambridge, Oxford and Dublin. Most music critics in recent years consider him to be one of the most underrated of the late Romantic composers and a number believe he was one of the most influential English composers since Henry Purcell.
Parry’s best known work today is the choral song Jerusalem but in his later years his work included five symphonies, a piano concerto and an opera. Perhaps of particular interest to us locally are three hymn tunes which he wrote namely: Amberley, Angmering and Rustington. Hubert Parry lived at Knights Croft, Sea Lane, Rustington between the years 1880 and 1918, hence the local village names. He died in 1918 and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral in the Chapel of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The hymn tune Angmering was an alternative to the tune accompanying the more well known one for the hymn “Fill thou my life”. For those interested, the score of Angmering is as follows:
You can hear Amberley, Angmering, and Rustington (public domain music) by selecting the required tune from the drop-down list below. There is also a rather racy version of Jerusalem which I'm sure would earn the disapproval of the Women's Institute!
Page first uploaded:12 October 2007