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Great War: Unknown WarNews and Events

Hubert Parry's Broken Dream of Germany, 1876-1918 Event

Origin: 
History
Hubert Parry
Date:
18:00 - 20:00, 23 November 2017
Venue:
Avenue Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BF
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For more information regarding this event, please email Mary Andrew at M.J.Andrew@soton.ac.uk .

Event details

Part of the Great War: Unknown War Programme

"'If we have to stand in rows over against the Albert Hall with files of Prussian soldiers ready to demolish us, we shall all look down the murderous barrels without winking an eyelash.” With this image, part of his 1914 “Director’s address” to the students of the Royal College of Music, Hubert Parry (1848-1918) attempted to inspire heroic resistance in his charges, many of whom would shortly be sent to the front in France. That he had to evoke the image of a Prussian invasion of the hallowed musical precincts of South Kensington would have come as a bitter disappointment to him. Parry was, in his own words, “a pro-Teuton,” who had devoted his career to forging a new music for Britain built primarily on German models. In this lecture I will trace Parry’s engagement with Germany from the 1870s onwards, and show how Parry used German musical “progress” to inspire much of his work as a composer, educator, author and administrator. His internationalist outlook was of a piece with his liberal political stance: he supported Home Rule for Ireland and sympathised with the Women’s Suffrage movement. It was his fervent belief that new institutions such as the RCM could lead the world—via the power of the British Empire—to a better music. The coming of war in 1914 put him in a difficult position. By 1916 his family ties to leading pacifists such as his son-in-law Arthur Ponsonby drew him into anti-war circles. Nonetheless he accepted a commission from the group “Fight for Right” to compose a patriotic hymn, which became “Jerusalem,” perhaps his most famous work. When he saw the way they used the piece to animate mass crowds in the Albert Hall, he withdrew the dedication and offered it instead to the suffragettes. He died in in the closing months of the war, broken by the senseless loss of so many of his students, and the apparent failure of his liberal dream of a European music that could bring Britain and Germany together.

Please join us for this lecture at the University of Southampton. All welcome, admission free but please register in advance by clicking the link above. Refreshments will be served from 5.30. Joining instructions will be sent to those registered shortly before the event date.

Great War: Unknown War Programme webpage

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