Sir Henry Walford Davies became organist of The Temple Church, London, in 1898 and stayed for the next twenty years. There then followed four years of joint directorship with George Thalben-Ball before he finally handed over the reins in 1923. He studied composition with Parry and received encouragement and practical help from Elgar, but despite early success with the cantata Everyman
, he never really fulfilled his early promise. In a wide-ranging career his true fame came as a choir-trainer and, most significantly, as an educationalist and popular broadcaster. Solemn Melody
, his most famous composition, was written in 1908 for organ and strings. It is heard here in J E West’s arrangement for organ alone. The repeat of the melody, which develops to a climax for full organ, is enlivened by reharmonization and variations in the part-writing.
from notes by Stephen Westrop © 1998