At long last, our video of C. H. Hubert Parry’s oratorio JUDITH is available for you to watch and listen to on Youtube.
We performed JUDITH on May 3, 2015 at Koerner Hall in Toronto. This was the first full performance of Judith in a very, very long time. It was certainly the first full performance of the 21st century, and the first in North America. We hope that other choirs will perform it, since the work is dramatic, beautifully crafted, and satisfying to sing.
This enterprise was much more than a public performance. It involved the painstaking transcription of the score and parts from Parry’s own manuscript. Two graduate students at York University in Toronto were heroic in this work: John-Luke Addison and Floydd Rickets worked tirelessly (OK, they may have been a bit tired) to produce this new performing edition.
Judith’s first performance in 1888 was very favourably received. Though Parry was self-critical and struggled with the score (he was over-extended with other work, and his father died while he was writing it) Judith was an overwhelming success. Parry had Europe’s top musicians backing him up. Hans Richter conducted the premiere at the Birmingham Festival, Stanford conducted in London, and Elgar played violin in the orchestra under Parry’s baton at the Three Choirs Festival.
Judith is full of dramatic plot twists. The King is about to sacrifice his children to the fiery god Moloch. The Queen tries to comfort her children in a moving scene with the enduring tune Repton (Dear Lord and Father of mankind.) Judith intercedes to stop the sacrifice, endangering her own life, when the Assyrian army invades. Judith steals into General Holofernes’ tent and kills him, thus saving her people from certain defeat.
Thanks to all who made JUDITH a success, and enjoy watching!