This week end celebrated the connection between Harry Plunket Greene and Hurstbourne Priors.
Harry Plunket Greene was a key figure in English music for almost 50 years, during the revival led by the composers Parry, Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Elgar and others.
A short period in the history of Hurstbourne Priors was brilliantly captured in his book which celebrates fly-fishing on the Bourne Rivulet, with stories which bring the village of the early twentieth century to life. "Where the Bright Waters Meet" was published in 1924. A clear chalk stream, the Bourne Rivulet, flows south-east into the River Test.
Harry Plunket Greene was a passionate fly-fisherman on the crystal-clear waters of the Bourne and Test. He wrote beautifully about these years in his book which is justly celebrated as a classic of fly-fishing and lyrical evocation of the Rivers Bourne and Test, while giving a snapshot of the life of Hurstbourne Priors in the early twentieth century.
From 1902 to 1913, Harry Plunket Greene, a successful Irish bass baritone, rented the Long House in Hurstbourne Priors. These years took him from age 37 up to 47.
His first public performance was in Handel’s Messiah in 1888. He sang at Covent Garden in the early 1890s, but it was his singing at the Three Choirs Festivals, from 1892, when he sang the part of Job in the new oratorio by Sir Hubert Parry, which brought him to prominence. He married Parry’s younger daughter, Gwendolen, in 1899. With the pianist Leonard Borwick, he gave song recitals of great range, including Schumann’s Dicterliebe and Brahms’ songs. The noted Irish composer Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) wrote many songs for him. He was also highly regarded as a teacher of his art.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of Plunket Greene’s death, and the 100th of the dedication of the organ in St Andrew’s Church, which he commissioned to a specification by his father-in-law, Hubert Parry. On this weekend, there was an opportunity for riverside walks, including a rare chance to visit Where the Bright Waters Meet.
On Sunday 9th July, there was a special evening service at 6.30pm to mark the Centenary of the installation of the organ, including the singing of a setting of the 150th Psalm written by Parry and performed by Harry Plunket Greene in the service of its dedication.
"Rev Canon Marton Coppen deserves high praise for conceiving and then delivering this special week-end. Hurstbourne Priors Parish Council put on an exhibition in the Village Hall, with contemporary material; and the Sandham Singers sang at Evensong -
singing psalms and anthems by Charles Villiers Stanford and Hubert Parry. It was a memorable week-end - which also helped to raise funds for a new font at St Andrews."
Some of the material on this page is taken from www.hants.org.uk/plunketgreene