Eric Harding Thiman (12 September 1900 – 13 February 1975) was an English composer, conductor and organist.
He was born in Ashford, Kent. Largely self-taught, he was awarded an FRCO in 1921, and a DMus in 1928. From 1930 he was Professor of Harmony at the Royal Academy of Music and later, from 1956 to 1962, was Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of London. From 1958, having moved from Park Chapel (a Congregational Church in Crouch End, later to join with Ferme Park Baptist Church to form a Union Church in the same district, currently (2011) pastored by a professionally qualified pianist), he was organist of the City Temple in London, a Congregational Church. He was a keen advocate of amateur music-making and in the 1960s was the conductor and Musical Director of the Purley Choral Society. The choir changed its name to The Chandos Choir in 1969. He wrote much educational music for piano and other instruments, as well as music for church choirs, some of which is still performed. He is best remembered for his short passion cantata, "The Last Supper" (1930).
Thiman's list of published works numbers about 1,300. These include a large number of partsongs and many anthems and carols. Most of his church music was written for the non-conformist churches, but he also wrote anthems and canticles for Church of England Choirs.
Thiman (like Rowley) is another one of "those guys" that I have largely discounted, because he wasn't Anglican. However, every one of his that I have performed has been well-written, and sometimes quite fine, as in the case of this little gem.
It comes from "A Christmas Album" published by OUP in 1956, and sets the traditional English tune in a distinctive and beautiful way.
The tune features the famous "flat-7th," and Thiman does an amazing job of weaving this feature into the piece, often setting it against a "raised/natural" 7th, making for a true delight. The effect is colorful, yet gentle.
Photos are attached below.