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O what their joy and their glory must be

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Sir William Harris (1883-1973) studied at the Royal College of Music under Sir Walter Parratt, Charles Wood and Sir Henry Walford Davies and became Davies's assistant at the Temple Church. He held appointments at Lichfield Cathedral, New College, Oxford, and at the Royal College of Music before being appointed organist and choirmaster of St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 1933. He was affectionately known as 'Doc H' at Windsor and his reputation rests more upon his ability as an excellent choir trainer than as a composer. Several of his large anthems remain in the cathedral repertoire and two of his other works can be found in this series of the English anthem (Faire is the Heaven, Volume III, and Bring us, O Lord God, Volume IV).

O what their joy and their glory must be effectively takes the form of a chorale prelude. The choir's opening theme is taken from the French melody 'O Quanta Qualia' around which the organ weaves its own melodies derived from fragments of the main theme. Harris's anthems tend to owe something in their style to the work of Charles Wood: the gradual increase in movement in the choral parts, for example, is reminiscent of Wood's anthem God omnipotent reigneth. Harris introduces a central slower section in G minor which gradually moves back (through the quasi-mystical setting of the words 'There dawns no Sabbath') into an elaborate restatement of the opening material culminating in the series of splendid 'Amens'.

from notes by William McVicker 1995


The English Anthem, Vol. 5
CDA66758Archive Service


Track 5 on CDA66758 [9'12] Archive Service

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