Henry Walford Davies

Biography

Born: September 6, 1869; Oswestry, Shropshire   Died: March 11, 1941; London, England  
At various times in his 45-year career, Sir Henry Walford Davies enjoyed wide recognition as a composer, teacher, organist, and lecturer and in the latter capacity, he became England's first popular radio personality on the subject of classical music. Henry Walford Davies was born 50 years before the advent of radio as a popular broadcast medium, in 1869, and began his formal musical education in his teens in the choir of St. George's Chapel at Read more Windsor. His natural aptitude for music manifested itself in this setting and Davies spent five years as a pupil/assistant to the cathedral organist Walter Parratt. In 1890, he earned a scholarship to the Royal College of Music that allowed him to study with Hubert Parry and Charles Villiers Stanford, and he joined the college's faculty at age 26 as a teacher of counterpoint. He composed during these years, but it was as an organist that Davies became well-known at a succession of churches in the London area, including seven years at Christ Church, Hampstead, before becoming the organist and choirmaster at Temple Church from 1898 until 1919. Davies later held the conductorship of the Bach Choir and in 1918, after being commissioned a major, he was appointed director of music for the Royal Air Force, the position where he wrote his best-known work, the RAF March Past. In 1919, Davies began a distinct new phase of his career when he was appointed professor of music at Aberystwyth, Wales. Over the next 20 years, Davies became one of the leading exponents of Welsh music and musicians, serving as the chairman of the Welsh National Council of Music and acquiring the eternal gratitude of all Welsh people of a musical bent (which by and large meant the entire Welsh population). It was three years later that he received a knighthood. From the end of the teens onward, Davies also found himself in demand as a lecturer on music, his clear diction and outgoing, genial personality making his talks accessible to a wide audience. In the early '20s, he made a series of spoken-word recordings on music for the HMV label. They were so successful that in 1926, the BBC engaged Davies as the speaker on a program called Music and the Ordinary Listener, which lasted until the outbreak of war in 1939. In the process, Davies became the most popular classical music personality in England, occupying a position in the culture of that time akin to that of Deems Taylor, Leonard Bernstein, and other speakers on music in the United States. In 1934, following the death of Elgar, Davies was appointed Master of the King's Musick, the equivalent of Poet Laureate, and a position once held by his own teacher, Parratt.

Davies composed music throughout his career, though virtually nothing of his work from the nineteenth century is known. He began emerging in 1904 with the oratorio Everyman, which in the years following its premiere was the second-most popular large-scale choral work in England, after Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius. Apart from his RAF March Past, which remains in the repertory of military and other institutional marching bands (especially in England), Davies' best-remembered works include the Solemn Melody (1908), authored for the John Milton tercentenary; and Jesu, Dulcis Memoria (1918), his only published original piece for organ. In 2001, Dutton Laboratories released a CD tribute to Davies, including compositions by him and also dedicated to him, and two of his broadcast lectures from 1937. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 222 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Carols From King's College Cambridge
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 628790 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry John Gauntlett,  Traditional,  John Francis Wade,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Philip Ledger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
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  • 2.
    Places Of The Spirit: Music And Images Inspired By The Berkshires
    Label: Pergola   Catalog: 851 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaelic Traditional,  Toru Takemitsu,  Peter Schickele,  Paula Robison  ... 
    Performer:  Cyro Baptista,  Paula Robison
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  • 3.
    The Complete Psalms Of David Vol. 4
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1082 Release Date: 04/08/2014  
    Composer:  John Pratt,  Kit Perona-Wright,  Stanley Vann,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  David Humphreys
    Conductor:  Andrew Reid
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Peterborough Cathedral Choir
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  • 4.
    Sir Adrian Boult - The Complete Conductor
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1927023 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst,  Robert Simpson,  Sir Arthur Bliss  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    Hark! The Herald Angels Sing: Famous Christmas Carols
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900507 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Albert Becker,  Heinrich Kaminski,  John Francis Wade  ... 
    Performer:  François Leleux
    Conductor:  Florian Helgath
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  • 6.
    The Christmas Story
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 7681 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Richard Storrs Willis,  Lowell Mason,  James R. Murray  ... 
    Performer:  Bin Huang,  Hyun-Sun Kim
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  • 7.
    Christmas With The Salvation Army
    Label: Crimson Productions   Catalog: 1202171 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Traditional,  Anonymous,  Frederik Pohl  ... 
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  • 8.
    Joy To The World: An American Christmas
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16117 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Jacob Niles,  Morten Lauridsen,  Lowell Mason,  Richard Storrs Willis  ... 
    Performer:  Sonja DuToit Tengblad,  Thomas Armstrong,  Woodrow Bynum,  Stefan [Tenor (Vocal)] Reed
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Handel & Haydn Society
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  • 9.
    Christmas With The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Mvd Audio   Catalog: 5973 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Henry Walford Davies,  Lowell Mason,  Traditional  ... 
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  • 10.
    O Come All Ye Faithful [classic]
    Label: Mvd Audio   Catalog: 5971 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Baptiste Calkin,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Leslie Pierson,  John Paice,  Richard Lewis
    Conductor:  Peter Knight,  John McCarthy,  John Pritchard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The London Bell Ringers
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  • 11.
    The Complete Psalms Of David, Vol. 4: Series 2 - Psalms 50-67
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1178395 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Pratt,  Kit Perona Wright,  Stanley Vann,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  David Humphreys
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  • 12.
    Phoenix Rising / Margaret Lacy
    Label: Acis Productions   Catalog: 89385 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marcel Dupré,  Robert Elmore,  Roy Perry,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Lacy
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  • 13.
    Exultate Deo
    Label: Lir Classics   Catalog: 70026 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Giovanni Palestrina,  Kenneth Leighton,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Arthur,  Alison Hill,  Sophie Jones,  Elizabeth Drury  ... 
    Conductor:  Colm Carey
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  • 14.
    Choral Evensong From Liverpool Cathedral / Poulter, Bishop, Liverpool Cathedral Choir
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1068 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir George Thalben-Ball,  Kenneth Leighton,  Henry Walford Davies  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Bishop
    Conductor:  David Poulter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Liverpool Cathedral Choir
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  • 15.
    Label: Platinum Legends   Catalog: 60760 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Traditional,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
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  • 16.
    A Winter's Light / Backhouse, Vasari Singers
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573030 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Chilcott,  Traditional,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Jan Sandström  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeremy Backhouse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vasari Singers
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  • 17.
    Carols From King's / Cleobury, Choir Of King's College Cambridge
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9186 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry John Gauntlett,  Traditional,  Henry Walford Davies,  Herbert Howells  ... 
    Performer:  David Goode,  Alexander Knight
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
    CD: $8.99
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  • 18.
    Christmas Songs Around the World / Cao
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5319 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  John Frederic Coots,  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Michael Praetorius  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Cao
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arsys Bourgogne
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  • 19.
    I Wonder As I Wander Out Under The Sky / Jones, The Copley Singers
    Label: Gothic Records   Catalog: 49283 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Carl Rütti,  Hugh Martin,  Richard Storrs Willis  ... 
    Conductor:  Brian Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Copley Singers
    CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    100 Famous Marches
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: 1072 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Julius Fucik,  Charles Beisterling,  Harry L. Alford,  Roland Forrest Seitz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  "President's Own" United States Marine Band,  United States Army Band,  United States Navy Band  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 21.
    Glad Tidings: Carols For Christmas
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1267 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elisabeth Poston,  William James Kirkpatrick,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Viktor Kalinnikov  ... 
    Conductor:  Sarah Tenant-Flowers
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  • 22.
    Christmas Choirs
    Label: Lifestyles   Catalog: 46020 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Unspecified,  Lowell Mason,  William James Kirkpatrick  ... 
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  • 23.
    Holst, Walford Davies, Vaughan Williams / Marshall-luck, Rickard
    Label: Em Records   Catalog: 6 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Henry Walford Davies,  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Rupert Marshall-Luck,  Matthew Rickard
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  • 24.
    Hymns From England
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1166 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sebastian Temple,  Cyril Taylor,  John Newton,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  David Halls,  Alyusha Chagrin,  John Robinson,  Rowan Wright  ... 
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  • 25.
    This Is The Day / Rutter, Cambridge Singers
    Label: Collegium Records   Catalog: 136 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Rutter,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Sir William Walton,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Lucas,  Elin Manahan Thomas
    Conductor:  John Rutter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Singers,  Aurora Orchestra
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