Music and Vision homepage

CD Spotlight

Surpassing 'Thornbury'?

The organ music of Basil Harwood -
investigated by

'... Partington and organ are thrillingly at one and in devoted service of the composer ...'

The Complete Organ Works of Basil Harwood. © 2001 Priory Records Ltd


Organist at both Ely and Christ Church, Oxford, Basil Harwood impinged on my boyhood exclusively with his hymn tune, 'Thornbury'. I cannot say I was aware of his passing in April 1949, by which time he was already retired from professional music for forty years. But the marvellous tune, with its Parryesque dignity and rhetorical rightness, has remained a favourite. The words, too, had a special place in the economic calculations of my schooldays. My Classics master was great-nephew to Dean Plumptre, their author, and we were convinced that a penny went into his bank account every time we rose to celebrate 'One Church, one faith, one Lord'. A signed photograph of the dean is above my desk, and I can only admire with wry delight the skill with which all six verses of the hymn concentrate their essence towards the majestic refrain, whether it is the heralds 'To all alike proclaiming' etc, the faithful few clinging to a gospel such as 'Was all in this enfolded' etc, or the congregation itself roused to assert that 'We will maintain, unflinching' etc.

Continue >>

Copyright © 24 April 2002 Robert Anderson, Moscow, Russia




 << Music & Vision home      Recent reviews       Geirr Tveitt >>

Download a free realplayer 

For help listening to the sound extracts here,
please refer to our questions & answers page.