Sir William Henry Harris (28 March 1883-6 September 1973) was born in Fulham, London and died in Petersfield. He was a chorister of Holy Trinity, Tulse Hill. At the age of 14, he took up a "flexible" position as Assistant Organist at St David's Cathedral in Wales, followed at 16 by a scholarship to the Royal College of Music where he was Professor of Organ and Harmony from 1921 to 1955. He was organist at St Augustine's Church, Edgbaston from 1911 to 1919 and concurrently of Assistant Organist at Lichfield Cathedral followed in 1919 by becoming Organist successively at New College and in 1929 Christ Church, Oxford, moving to St. George's Chapel, Windsor in 1933. He was affectionately named "Doc H" by his choristers.
Harris is best remembered for his Anglican church music, though his main achievements were as a choir-trainer. His most famous works are the anthems "Faire is the heaven" (1925) and to a lesser extent "Bring us, O Lord God" (1959), both for unaccompanied double choir, and "Strengthen ye the weak hands" (1949) for choir and organ. He wrote a number of significant organ works such as the "Sonata in A Minor," and the "Fantasy on Campion's Tune - By Babylon's Streams", but these are rarely heard. His most famous organ works is "Flourish for an Occasion" which he wrote while at Windsor.
"Elegy" dates from 1959 and shows the style that we normally associate with Harris's writing.
The melodies and harmonies have an "Elgarian elegance," but the style is more modern and forward looking.
The registration is "restrained," but there many subtle changes that go into making the effect. It's not just a case of opening and closing the swell box!
Our work in "refining voicing" of the Peterborough Hill is making excellent progress, and I don't think it will be too long before Volume One (the one you're hearing) will be available.
The score is attached below, as well as a 1946 photo of Doc H. :-)