Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Parry on Herbert Howells

“The Youth of a Nation are the Trustees of Posterity” – Benjamin Disraeli

“First among those whom this College is proud to honour at this parting is Herbert Howells. Most of us have become fully aware of his wonderful and delightful gifts, for we have often enjoyed their fruits at our concerts.
Of all those whom we have rejoiced to mention with honour in many past years, it would be hard to find anyone to surpass him. In fancy and invention, in mastery of resource and subtle sense of colour he ranks among the very foremost of our composers; and the prospect is all the more hopeful because of the sanity and the soundness of his views.
The musical instinct is so genuine in him that we feel confident of him being spared the freaks and fantastic absurdities with which less-gifted exploiters endeavour to astonish the unmusical vulgar.
And I rejoice to add that his disposition seems to me to have matched his musical outfit.
His whole hearted ardour has caused him many times to overtax a constitution none too robust; and withal he has shown a generous nature which welcomes gist and achievement in others, and is happily free from the exclusive and excessive appreciation of self which is too often a drawback among people who are artistically constituted.
I believe he will not only delight us, and more and more of the people who have not the good luck to be associated with the College, by his compositions, but exercises a wholesome influence on the course of music in the coming days in this country; for besides his musical qualifications, he has considerable literary gifts, as was illustrated by the fact that whenever he competed for the terminal History Essay Prize no one else had a chance.”

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry
Directors Address to the Royal College of Music
September 24 1917

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