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Parry 'I was glad'

The library is fortunate to own many significant works including a number of complete facsimiles.

Click below to turn the pages and explore Parry's 1902 manuscript of 'I was glad'.

‘I was glad’ was written by Hubert Parry for the coronation of King Edward VII. It is a setting of verses from Psalm 122 and has been repeated at all subsequent coronations and on many other national occasions.

Parry’s text was one that was traditionally sung as the Queen and the King processed from the west door up the nave of Westminster Abbey and he tailored the work to these circumstances, with parts for the various groups of singers who were placed in specially-constructed galleries above the north and south quire aisles.

The opening verses were entrusted to the Abbey choir alone, joined later (at the words ‘Jerusalem is builded as a city’) by the ‘General Choir’, numbering 430 voices and consisting of members of other church choirs and professional musicians, while the beginning of the final section (‘O pray for the peace of Jerusalem’) was scored for a Semi-Chorus.

The most novel feature, however, was Parry’s incorporation of the traditional shouts of ‘Vivat’ by the King’s Scholars of Westminster School, sung from the triforium as the King and Queen passed under the organ screen.

Like many hard-pressed composers Parry was extremely practical in outlook and, when revising a work, would only recopy the score as a last resort. As a result his manuscripts – including ‘I was glad’ – frequently illustrate several stages of composition.

While much of the work remains essentially as conceived in 1902, it nonetheless contains many alterations made before its re-use at the Coronation of King George V in 1911. Foremost among these were the provision of a new, more elaborate, introduction, changes to the name of the monarch and his consort (page 11) and, at Bridge’s insistence, the omission of ‘what was between the shouts for Queen & King’, all can be identified by their being written on 28- rather than the original 26-stave paper.

Elsewhere Parry’s frequent retouching of the scoring is revealed by his use of red ink. The many conductors’ markings also serve as a reminder that, before the presentation of the score to the Royal College of Music in 1948, it had formed part of the Hire Library of Novello & Co.