Horatio William Parker (September 15, 1863 – December 18, 1919) was an American composer, organist and teacher. He was a central figure in musical life in New Haven, Connecticut in the late 19th century, and is best remembered as the undergraduate teacher of Charles Ives while the composer attended Yale University.
He was born in Auburndale, Massachusetts. His earliest lessons were with his mother. He then studied in Boston with George Whitefield Chadwick, Stephen A. Emery and John Orth. He finished his formal education in Europe, where he studied in Munich with Josef Rheinberger; also in Munich he composed his first significant works, including a symphony and a dramatic cantata. From 1888 to 1893, he was organist of Trinity Church, New York City, and from 1893 to 1901 organist of Trinity Church, Boston. In 1893, Parker became Battell Professor of the theory of music at Yale University. He was appointed Dean of Music at that school in 1904, a position which he held for the rest of his life.
Before leaving New York City in 1893, Parker had completed his oratorio, Hora Novissima. It was widely performed in America; and also in England, in 1899 at Chester, and at the Three Choirs Festival at Worcester, the latter an honor never before paid an American composer. Influences in his compositions include Mendelssohn, Brahms, Wagner, as well as Debussy and Elgar. During his lifetime he was considered to be the finest composer in the United States, a superior craftsman writing in the most advanced style.
"Pastorale Interlude" shows the influence of Rheinberger, but I think that the final cadences are harmonies are really striking, particularly at first hearing. If I were listening to this played, and thinking that this WAS Rheinberger, these measures would immediately change my mind!
He is a composer that should NOT be overlooked by any American organist. Several photos of Horatio Parker are attached below.
Happy July 4th, and let freedom ring!