2018 Concerts with Gloucester Choral Society – by invitation

We are delighted to have been invited by Gloucester Choral Society to join them in the performance of two concerts in May 2018 as part of the Parry and his Pupils Festival, to mark the centenary of Parry’s death in 1918.

Parry was born and raised in Gloucester and was, at the time of his death, President of Gloucester Choral Society. Both performances are with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Adrian Partington.

The concerts feature Parry’s I was glad, originally written for the coronation of King Edward VII, Ode on the Nativity and Jerusalem, but also celebrate Parry’s legacy through the works of two other great British composers: the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Parry’s former pupil, Vaughan Williams and (only in the Royal Festival Hall concert) Elgar’s Cello Concerto, who learnt much of his craft from studying articles Parry wrote for Grove’s Dictionary of Music. The Gloucester concert also includes another work by one of Parry’s former pupils – Holst’s Hymn of Jesus.

But, you might ask, what connection has OBC with GCS or Parry, apart from the fact that many of us have friends in both choirs? Well, GCS’s conductor, Adrian Partington, who is Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral, has not only been conductor of GCS for almost 10 years, but he has had a long association with OBC for even longer. Over 25 years, he has been both accompanist at rehearsals, played the piano or organ at concerts and events, and was also our Associate Conductor before taking the post at Gloucester Cathedral.

Oxford Bach Choir certainly had a number of connections with Parry during his lifetime. In 1948, we commemorated the centenary of Parry’s birth as follows:

In our March 1948 concert we performed; Job, Blest Pair of Sirens and Jerusalem

  • In May 1948 we gave the world premiere of Vaughan Williams’ Prayer to the Father of Heaven, written especially in Parry’s memory for the occasion. In addition, the “Cantata Section” of the choir performed some of Parry’s shorter choral works, at a concert in Exeter College Chapel.
  • We have also sung Blest Pair of Sirens and the Songs of Farewell a number of times since the 1940s.

With all these connections, we are all looking forward immensely to this collaboration, and we hope that this will be the start of many future joint projects.

Dates and Tickets

5 May

Gloucester Cathedral

10 May

The Royal Festival Hall

Hubert Parry and Oxford Bach Choir

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry was Professor of Music at Oxford from 1899-1908.

Oxford Bach Choir collaborated with him on several occasions:

  • February 1905, Parry conducted Oxford Bach Choir in a performance ofBlest Pair of Sirens.
  • December 1908, the choir took part in a performance of Parry’s The Glories of our Blood and State and Job
  • June 1917, Oxford Bach Choir gave the world premiere of one of the Songs of Farewell; “Lord, let me know mine end” in the presence of Parry, conducted by our then conductor, Hugh Allen
  • 1919, Oxford Bach Choir took part in the first performance of the complete cycle of Parry’s Songs of Farewell.