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Durham University

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Reviving Classical Music

Prof Jeremy Dibble with the University Choir

Prof Jeremy Dibble with the University Choir

The work of classic British composers has been revived by research at Durham University, enabling their works to be recorded for the first time as they were originally conceived a century ago.

Compositions by Hubert Parry, Charles Villiers Stanford and John Stainer had largely been neglected, with much of their work unavailable in print or in the form of audio or broadcast recording.

But research carried out at Durham University has rehabilitated their reputations, allowed recordings of their original music to go on sale for the first time and redefined the understanding of the nation’s musical heritage during the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

Professor Jeremy Dibble, a musicologist in the Department of Music, found that the first verse of the rousing anthem Jerusalem was written for a solo voice, as opposed to the grand choral start typical of performances at The Last Night of the Proms.

The song has been recorded for the first time in its original form by the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales using Parry’s original orchestration rather than the more familiar Edward Elgar version.

Professor Dibble also appeared on screen with the Prince of Wales in a BBC documentary broadcast on Christmas Day 2011. The show, discussing the significance of Hubert Parry’s work, was watched by 1.6 million viewers.

The research has enabled major festivals to celebrate the nation’s heritage by performing the music as it was originally conceived. The rediscovered compositions have been performed at the prestigious Three Choirs Festival and the Hull Philharmonic, as well as at unique concerts held at Durham Cathedral.

The research relating to Parry (1848-1918), Stanford (1852-1924) and Stainer (1840-1901) has also resulted directly in the production of more than 30 different CDs.

Professor Dibble has worked with many orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Concert Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra. He is pictured conducting the Durham University Choir.

Professor Jeremy Dibble

Jeremy Dibble studied music at Trinity College, Cambridge and at Southampton University before he was appointed as a lecturer at Durham in 1993. He is now Deputy Head of the Department of Music, with research specialisms in British and Irish music of the 19th and 20th centuries. Professor Dibble has for many years worked closely with commercial recording labels and has done much to promulgate the results of his research with leading performers and orchestras.

Direct Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 3158

New Version of Jerusalem Goes Solo

New Version of Jerusalem Goes Solo

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New solo Jerusalem song stars Durham University Student Choir and Prof. Jeremy Dibble