H. Walford Davies
Solemn Melody
(for Strings and Organ)
Transcribed for Organ Solo by
Ennis Fruhauf
[Available in the U.S.A. only]


         H. (Henry) Walford Davies was born in Oswestry, Shropshire on September 6, 1869. He trained in the choir of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, and was a student assistant to Walter Parratt. He entered the Royal College of Musicians in 1890 with a scholarship in composition and studied with Charles Parry and Charles Stanford. Following several church appointments, Davies served as Organist and Choirmaster at the Temple Church, London from 1898 to 1919. He was appointed Director of Music for the Royal Air Force in 1918, and in 1919 he was named Professor of Music at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, a post he held through 1926.

        Davies was knighted in 1922 and served as Organist of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor from 1927 to 1932. His radio series, ‘Music and the Ordinary Listener’ was launched in 1926, the same year he was named Gresham Professor of Music at the University of London. In 1934 he became Master of the King’s Musick, succeeding Edward Elgar. Davies died in Wrington, Somerset on March 11, 1941.

        Solemn Melody was written in 1908 and subsequently transcribed as an organ solo by John E. West. In more recent years it has appeared in several other editions; in one of its rebirths it was arranged as an anthem by H. A. Chambers on a text by Edith Dorothy Pleydell-Bouverie, "Had we but hearkened to Thy Word."

        This transcription is a departure from the organ version by West in that it retains the hymn-like simplicity of the original composition. Solemn Melody opens with a brief introduction, then a sixteen-measure compound phrase structure that is presented first by cello, then repeated in
soprano registers with a heroic buildup and concluded by a hushed codetta. In keeping with the original score, no interpretive texts have been added, although a romantic performance would seem to be inherent in the nature of the work.