Parry’s setting of William Blake’s Jerusalem
would seem, on the face of it, to be entirely characteristic of the composer’s ‘public’ image. Yet there is something rather more revealing about this choice of text. Its popular associations of national pride belie the passionate anger within Blake’s poem. These are the words of an idealist and radical which must have exerted a powerful attraction to a man of Parry’s convictions. Its first performance took place at a ‘Fight for Right’ meeting at the Queen’s Hall on 28 March 1916.
from notes by John Heighway © 1988