In October 1888 the Archbishop of Birmingham visited St George’s and for this occasion Elgar produced this setting developed from a melody in Haydn’s Harmoniemesse. It was orchestrated in 1893 for St Catherine’s of Siena, Birmingham. In this case it is dedicated to his boyhood friend Hubert Leicester, the son of a Worcester printer. Leicester was choirmaster at St George’s when Elgar was organist. His career was spent as a Worcester Accountant. He was for many years Mayor of Worcester and was later responsible for Elgar receiving the freedom of the city.
from notes by Lewis Foreman © 2007