Eric Harding Thiman (12 September 1900 – 13 February 1975) was an English composer, conductor and organist.
Born in Ashford, Kent, he was 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 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.
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.
"Meditation on a Theme of Tchaikovsky" uses the melody of Tchaikovsky's 5th "Songs for the Young", published in 1883. It uses the text, "When Jesus Christ was yet a child," a sadly sweet poem about cruel children taken the thorns from the roses in Jesus's garden, and making his first Crown of Thorns.
This text may certainly be used in Lent, but also frequently appears in services of Christmas Lessons & Carols, often pairing it with an "Adam carol," or some such text.
Thiman sets the melody in a most creative and expressive way, and the colors of the Schulze work very nicely here.
I dedicate this performance to my friend, and our member, "RSCMJOHN", John Henderson, the author of THE best organ composer dictionary, who kindly sent me the score yesterday!
THANK YOU, John!
Photos of Thiman and Tchaikovsky are attached below, and Percy Dearmer's translation of the text appears in the First Comment.