Harpsichord'; and, in 1781. 'Cambrian Harmony; a Collection of Ancient Welsh Airs, the traditional remains of those sung by the Bards of Wales.' He died 1782. Though totally blind, he is reported to have been an excellent draught-player.
PARRY, Joseph, Mus. Doc., born at Merthyr Tydvil, May 21, 1841, of poor Welsh parents, the mother a superior woman with much music in her nature. There is a great deal of singing and brass-band-playing among the Welsh workmen, and at chapel and elsewhere the boy soon picked up enough to show that he had a real talent. At 10 however he was forced to go to the puddling furnaces and stop all education of any kind. In 1853 his father emigrated to the United States, and in 1854 the family followed him. After a few years Joseph returned from America, and then received some instruction in music from John Abel Jones of Merthyr and John Price of Rhymney. In 1862 he won prizes at the Llandudno Eisteddfod. He then went again to America, and during his absence there a prize was adjudged to him at the Swansea Eisteddfod of 1863, for a harmonised hymn tune.
Its excellence roused the attention of Mr. Brinley Richards, one of the musical adjudicators of the meeting, and at his instance a fund was raised for enabling Parry to return to England and enter the Royal Academy of Music. The appeal was well responded to by Welshmen here and in the States, and in Sept. 1868 he entered the Academy and studied under Sterndale Bennett, Garcia, and Steggall. He took a bronze medal in 1870, and a silver one in 1871, and an overture of his to 'The Prodigal Son' (Mab Afradlon) was played at the Academy in 1871. He was appointed Professor of Music at the University College, Aberystwith, and soon after took his Mus. Bac. degree at Cambridge, proceeding, in May 1878, to that of Mus. Doc. at the same University. An opera of his named 'Blodwen,' founded on an episode in early British history, was performed at Aberdare in 1878 and shortly afterwards at the Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill. He has lately published an oratorio entitled 'Emmanuel,'—words by Dr. W. Rees and Prof. Rowlands which was performed at S. James's Hall, May 12, 1880, and which from the favourable notices of the press appears to be a work of great, though unequal, merit.
[ G. ]
PARSIFAL (i.e. Percival). A 'Bühnenweihfestspiel' (festival acting drama); words and music by Richard Wagner. Poem published in 1877; music completed in 1879. Text translated into English by H. L. and F. Corder (Schotts, 1879). [App. p.739 Add that the first performance took place at Bayreuth, July 30, 1882. On Nov. 10 and 15, 1884, it was performed as a concert under Mr. Barnby's direction at the Albert Hall, with Malten, Gudehus, and Scaria in the principal parts."]
[ G. ]
PARSONS, Robert, a native of Exeter, was on Oct. 17, 1563, sworn a gentleman of the Chapel Royal. He is said, but erroneously, to have been organist of Westminster Abbey. He composed some church music. A Morning, Communion, and Evening Service is printed in Barnard's 'Selected Church Musick,' and a Burial Service in Low's 'Directions,' 1664. An anthem, 'Deliver us from our enemies,' is contained in the Tudway Collection (Harl. MS. 7339), and an 'In Nomine,' and a madrigal, 'Enforced by love and feare,' are in Add. MS. 11,586. Three services and an anthem, 'Ah, helpless wretch,' are in Barnard's MS. collections in the Sacred Harmonic Society's Library. Many of his compositions are extant in MS. in the library of Christ Church, Oxford. He was drowned in the Trent at Newark, Jan. 25, 1569–70.
John Parsons, probably his son, was in 1616 appointed one of the parish clerks and also organist of St. Margaret's, Westminster. On Dec. 7, 1621 he was appointed organist and master of the choristers of Westminster Abbey. A Burial Service by him is contained in a MS. volume in the library of the Sacred Harmonic Society. He died in 1623, and was buried, Aug. 3, in the cloisters of Westminster. A quaint epitaph on him is preserved in Camden's 'Remains.'
PARSONS, Sir William, Knt., Mus. Doc., born 1746, was a chorister of Westminster Abbey under Dr. Cooke. In 1768 he went to Italy to complete his musical education. On the death of Stanley in 1786 he was appointed master of the King's band of music. On June 26, 1790, he accumulated the degrees of Mus. Bac. and Mus. Doc. at Oxford. In 1795, being in Dublin, he was knighted by the Lord Lieutenant, Earl Camden. In 1796 he was appointed musical instructor to the Princesses and a magistrate for Middlesex, in which latter capacity he acted for several years at the police office in Great Marlborough Street. He died July 17, 1817.
PARTANT POUR LA SYRIE. This popular romance dates from 1809, shortly before the battle of Wagram. The words were by Count Alexandre de Laborde, a man of lively imagination in considerable repute as a poète de circonstance. One evening Queen Hortense showed him a picture representing a knight clad in armour, cutting an inscription on a stone with the point of his sword, and at the request of the company he elucidated it by a little romance invented on the spot. An entreaty to put it into verse followed, and Queen Hortense set the lines to music. Such was the origin of 'Le Départ pour la Syrie,' of which we give the music, and the first stanza.