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100 years ago: Three musicians mourned

05 April 2024

April 4th, 1924.

“OF YOUR charity, pray for the repose of the souls of Frederick Bridge, Walter Parratt,
and Charles Villiers Stanford.” This request was heard in some churches last Sunday. Within one fortnight these three notable Church musicians have died. Each in his time had been organist of a great choral establishment, the first at Manchester Cathedral and Westminster Abbey; the second at Magdalen College, Oxford; the third at Trinity College, Cambridge. In the same order, the Universities of London, Oxford, and Cambridge had owned them as Professors of Music; and all three served on the staff
of the Royal College of Music. To each belonged distinctive gifts. Sir Frederick Bridge possessed a remarkable faculty for discovering in musical byways forgotten musical things, which he revealed to delighted audiences. Sir Walter Parratt, Master of the King’s Music, was a consummate organ player. As an exponent of Bach’s Fugues he had no equal in this country. Sir Charles Stanford laboured in a wider field than his two contemporaries: the range of his musical activities embraced grand opera, orchestral works and compositions of a varied order, his fame extending beyond the limits of our islands. Just as Parratt’s influence will long be felt in the art of organ playing through the many performers he trained and inspired, so the revival of creative British music is under a lasting debt to Stanford; for the example he set and for the enthusiasm which he aroused in his pupils and contemporaries.

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