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John_Farrar

"Hymn for the Fallen" by Harry Farrar

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John_Farrar

Hello all

You may like to view this video I recently put onto Youtube.

▶ "Hymn to the Fallen" by Harry Farrar - YouTube

Composed in the trenches sometime during 1917-1918 I think it is a hymn tune that deserves a wider audience than that of the congregation in the church.

I hope you enjoy it.

John, son of Harry. (Henry Murgatroyd Farrar, 291st Brigade, RFA)

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IanA

Thank you for posting this, John. A moving and accomplished bit of hymn writing. Without wishing, in the slightest, to detract from what the organist was saying, it was not remotely unusual for a musician to compose without an instrument to hand. In 1968, aged 16, I was expected to do just that for my O-level music exam - one of the tasks presented was a melody (which you only saw in manuscript) and you had to add an alto, tenor and bass past in the style of Bach. Pedestrian stuff. I repeat - I am not 'doing down' this piece and you must be very proud and pleased to have it performed with such panache.

I have to ask - was he any relation to Ernest Farrar?

Ian

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John_Farrar

Hello Ian

and thank you for responding. In my father's 'defence' I would respond by saying that he started from a completely blank sheet which is what he did for the rest of his composing career.

Then he had a piano of course but having got down the melody would then write the score for every instrument of the orchestra.

I have never heard of Ernest Farrar so had to Google him and he was obviously a talented musician. I don't believe he is a close relation to our Farrar family as I have done quite a lot of family research and had not come across Ernest. Musice has run in our family as my father's parents and his sister were all musical. Sadly I am not.

Thank again for writing.

John

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clive_hughes

Gunner (signaller) 931496 RFA - number allocated at start of 1917 to men of the 2nd County of London Brigade RFA (Territorial Force). The Territorial T / RFA / (County) brass shoulder title is visible, as is his crossed signaller's flags on the left arm.

A very nice piece of music - thank you for posting it.

Clive

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John_Farrar

Thank you Clive. Glad you liked it.

John

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hazelclark

Thank you so much for posting that link. The music is absolutely beautiful and brought me back to my child hood in Scotland. For some obscure reason it reminded me of my Grandmother singing "Abide with Me".

Hazel C

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John_Farrar

Thank you Hazel. To compare the hymn with "Abide with me" is praise inded.

John

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John_Farrar

An update to the thread.

The BBC 'discovered' the tune and decided to incorporate it into their future program "The people remember" which will go out in November on BBC1.

My son and I went to London, first to the Royal Academy of Music for interviews and later to De Wolfe Studios, my father's music publisher.

More interviews and then the piece was played by a computer generated orchestra accompanied by a viola player. It was a very emotional experience.

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Guest Pete Clay

I liked this hymn tune very much so I transcribed it through a computer program I use and arranged it for 'cello. The viola performance arranged for the TV program was superb but I don't know any viola players. I, too, wondered if Harry was related to Ernest. I can't find any trace that he was and I have only the hymn tune by Harry and a set of short piano pieces by Ernest and they are vastly different in styles. I have indicated elsewhere that Harry's tune fits the words of the hymn 'For all the Saints who from their labours rest' by W.W.Howe. Maybe he had those words in mind..there would certainly have been many saints resting from their labours all around him. Just a thought. If there are any scores of Harry Farrar's compostions available I would love to have a look at some.

Pete Clay.

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WhiteStarLine

John, thank you for posting this. It was really good.

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