A number of juvenilia for the organ survive from his Oxford years, but Parry did not turn his attentions seriously to the organ until 1877, when he composed a Fantasia and Fugue in G major. This, however, proved to be a first draft, for after revising the work thoroughly in 1882 he returned to it again in 1913 when, with a revised fantasia and a quite new fugue, it was published by Novello. The very ambience of the fantasia is overtly Bachian in character. Inspired, one suspects, by the spirit of Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV542 (the structural comparisons are even more pertinent in Parry’s earlier 1877 version), Parry creates a Romantic, neo-Gothic essay founded on the rhetoric of the Baroque North German organ style, yet, through the use of a more intense nineteenth-century sense of chromaticism and dissonance, there is also a strong sense of contemporaneity. The fugue’s considerable technical demands were intended to match the dexterity of its dedicatee, Sir Walter Parratt, organist at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, Organ Professor at the RCM, and renowned recitalist.
from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2015