Jan. 2013

A choir member lends me some old scores bound in red leather – two oratorios by a major composer – King Saul and Judith by C. H. H. Parry.

March 2013

Had my family around me for Easter thank goodness. After dinner show my Dad the score of Judith and sing through the big tune. Tough going without his reading glasses, but still beautiful.

April 2013

Pax Christi performs Handel’s Solomon with orchestra, soloists, off book and dramatized, high school students from Fr John Redmond. Excitement palpable!

Oct. 2013

Great Canadian Hymn contest brings together composers from across the country.  Need to start planning for next season – possibly perform Judith?

Dec 2013

Finzi In terra pax, Willan Mystery of Bethlehem, Martin Legend of the bird. Nice to have Trevor back from the UK to sing. Children’s Messiah hit hard by snowstorm. Subsequent ice storm paralyzes Toronto, but lots of time to play through Judith while power is off.

Jan 2014

20 singers in my living room sing through all of Judith. Great relief – they love the choruses. Dramatic sight singing from soloists too. 2 hours of music – not as long as Novello catalogue says it is.

Applications due to the Ontario Arts Council. Are we doing Judith? Absolutely.

February 2014

Made our YouTube video with pro filmmaker Robert diVito – now wait for editing.

Game changer! Phone call from a donor who will sponsor Judith in Koerner Hall. $15,000 will get us the best concert hall in Toronto. Full steam ahead on The Parry Project.

Called Koerner Hall today. Miraculously the best possible date is available – Sunday, May 3rd 2015 at 3pm.

March 29 2014

Fancy fundraiser at Columbus centre. Did well and everyone had a great time. Saving up for future big projects. Judith -The Apostles- European tour?

April 2014

Released our video on YouTube. 2000 hits in the first two weeks.

Toured our Langlais, Fauré, Martin, Randall Thompson concert to Kitchener and repeated in Toronto. Choir grows in skill, confidence and fellowship. Great houses in both venues due to the hard work of Jennifer Collins, Pax board and family. Very satisfying.

Fabulously talented singers audition for Judith. Heartbreaking – can’t give everyone a role! But I think we have our cast.

Major set back. Novello has no orchestral score for Judith. No parts. Yikes!

May 2014

I ask for help from Parry’s biographer, Jeremy Dibble at Durham Univeristy, UK. We form a research group to reconstruct Parry’s full score. Grad students at York University are keen to get working.

June 22, 2014

Brian Power gives me two more Judith piano vocal scores, one belonging to a British soprano Ida Kahn. Who was she?

June 23

Friends for Monday night dinner. Sang through the big tunes in Judith once again. Everyone a bit weepy.

June 25

Jeremy Dibble receives digital copy of the full score today.  My student John-Luke anxious to get started transcribing from the original manuscript.

July 12

Skype meeting with grad students. Floydd Ricketts joins the team to transcribe the manuscript.


We’ve a huge job ahead us  –  very exciting to bring Judith back to life.

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8 Responses to The Parry Diaries

  1. Shawn Brignolio says:

    This is a great idea and when we are old and grey we can look back at this momentous occasion.

    • Stephanie Martin says:

      It is good to write these things down Shawn! These events, like our memories of Monday night dinners tend to get a bit blurred over time, so i”m going to try to keep a journal of the Judith odyssey. Hopefully my students will have comments to contribute too – I know they are going to have some struggles with Parry’s autograph score.

  2. Judith Kidd says:

    I recall an evening early on in the process with you on piano & Mary sight reading… it was so beautiful!!

    • Stephanie Martin says:

      Was that a winter visit or a summer visit? A coincidence that the work bears your name. Did you know the origin of your name when you were growing up?

  3. Brian Power says:

    I can add a few more items to the timeline:

    April /May2014
    Began combing antiquarian bookshops all over the world looking for a full score of Judith. No luck! Novello catalogues only list “MS” for the full score. But I started to collect copies of the original 1888 edition of the piano-vocal score.

    June 2014
    Following an exhaustive search of music libraries, I discovered the Hubert Parry special collection at the Royal College of Music, London which contains Parry’s original autograph manuscript. I arranged with the head reference and research librarian to have the manuscript digitized (never been asked for before!). A copy goes to Professor Dibble and to me.

    July 2, 2014
    The scanned manuscript arrives! Great to see Parry’s original orchestration and markings. Digital and hard copies are made, delivered to Steph asap, and distributed to the team. Also obtained a copy of a concert programme dated May, 1889, when the work was performed by the Bach choir under C. V. Stanford’s direction at St. James’ Hall (formerly in Piccadilly), with a huge orchestra!
    Meanwhile, I have collected 6 copies to date of the 1888 octavo, each with a little extra degree of musicological interest.

  4. Charles Horth says:

    Hello Stephanie

    From across the pond (UK) I stumbled on your blog when you commented, and asked the question over a year ago. ‘Brian Power gives me two more Judith piano vocal scores, one belonging to a British soprano Ida Kahn. Who was she?’

    At last, I can tell you quite a lot about about Ida Kahn after I acquired a number of vocal scores with piano accompaniment that were embossed with her name on the front cover (bottom right-hand corner). The collection of these scores, with the solo soprano markings, made by Ida Kahn, has been kept together for over 100 years. One of them bears her signature and a residential address in NW London, England.

    In the early part of the twentieth century, Ida Kahn trained in London at the Royal Academy of Music where she won several prestigious awards for her singing before going on to become a professional soprano ‘vocalist’ and I have managed to track down details of a number of her concerts.

    I believe she had performed C Hubert H Parry’s Judith, which might explain how you have her score — similarly embossed to the scores in my collection — IDA KAHN. in gold, upper case lettering?

    Please let me know if you would like more details about Ida Kahn (not to be confused with Dr Ida Khan, the medical missionary to China).

    Before I sign off, I will just post you a snippet of information published in the The Conservatory Bi-monthly “A Magazine for the Music Lover, Student and Teacher ” that was published by the Toronto Conservatory of Music in 1905….

    Canadians in London

    A welcome despatch to the Canadian press from England is as follows :

    London, June 28. — The King and a fashionable audience of nearly 3,000 attended the British-Canadian concert organized by Dr. Charles Harriss, Ottawa, held at Queen’s Hall last night. The concert was a triumph for Dr. Harriss. He was enthusiastically received, and was assisted by the London Symphony Orchestra and chorus of 250. The solo parts were taken by Mlle. Donalda, Miss Ida Kahn, John Harrison and Frangcon Davies. The proceeds are in aid of the Minto Cottage Fund of Canada.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Charles Horth

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