The Prince and the Composer

2011   BBC Four/Two

film image
click to show large image
click to show large image
click to show large image
click to show large image

click a thumbnail to view large image

film image

Virtually everyone has sung his music, yet very few people know his name.  Hubert Parry, the composer of Jerusalem and the tune for the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, was the driving force behind the revival of English music in the early 20th century, and himself wrote five symphonies.  One of his most ardent champions is the Prince of Wales, who here embarks on a journey to discover more about the man and his music. 

The Prince and the Composer features specially-filmed performances by the BBC Philharmonic (conductor: Vassily Sinaisky), Hiroaki Takenouchi (piano), The Choir of Westminster Abbey (Organist and Master of the Choristers: James O’Donnell) and Schola Cantorum of Oxford, with the St Endellion Festival Orchestra (conductor: James Burton, and solo violin: Andrew Watkinson).   This is a co-production for BBC Four and BBC Two by Crux Productions and Rare Day.

Works by Parry included in the film are:    Repton  /  Hear my words, ye people  / Jerusalem  /  I was glad  /  Shulbrede Tunes  /  Songs of Farewell  /  Lady Radnor Suite  /  Judith  /  Hands across the Centuries  /  Symphonic Fantasia in B minor '1912' (Symphony 5)  /  Blest Pair of Sirens  /  Bridal March (The Birds)  /  Magnificat (1897)


Photography Jonathan Partridge and Colin Rogal
Sound Paul Paragon
Research Charlotte Knowles
Thanks to Sir Vernon Ellis
Rostrum Sean Mullins
Online Editor Adam Grant
Colourist Vicky Matich
Co-ordinator Laura McCutcheon
Production Manager Emily Renshaw-Smith
Dubbing Mixer Tom O'Pray
Film Editor Phil Reynolds
BBC Commissioning Editor Adam Barker
Executive Producer Peter Dale
Produced and Directed by John Bridcut

(1 x 90’)   

This film is now available on DVD and can be purchased from this website for £11.99



'Here was a film that broke just about every rule of documentary making...  Yet I was completely smitten by it. Partly this was because the music was so good, and partly because there was something oddly touching about Charles’s fumbling attempts to explain why he admired Parry so much – “he was a complex man with a mind of his own".


'As soon as it was over, I ordered a copy of Parry’s setting of John Donne’s great sonnet, “At the round earth’s imagined corners” – and strongly recommend you do the same.'

John Preston, Sunday Telegraph

'A rich and grand vision of Parry steadily emerged, elbowing aside the worse-than-one-dimensional notion of him as a moustachioed High Tory who wrote jingoistic tub-thumpers like Jerusalem. Indeed, even the latter emerged looking shiny and new thanks to a nimble exegesis by David Owen Norris, which picked open the piece's subtleties and expert craftsmanship.'

Adam Sweeting,

'The joy of this programme was the deconstruction of the music by choristers and musicologists, in particular, a simply marvellous chap called David Owen Norris' 

AA Gill, Sunday Times

'The Prince's enthusiasm is contagious ... a fascinating picture of an almost unknown genius'  

Sunday Express


A superb and enjoyable dvd - a great gift to be enjoyed again and again, 22 Feb 2013

By E. M. robinson "film robin" (Somerset, England)

Superb and sensitive documentary. We are given a good insight and understanding of Parry's music and life, with some splendid and uplifting pieces to enjoy – not least of all the voices and comments the choir.



0 out of 5 stars

Lovely!  29 Jan 2014



An excellent film on a much overlooked composer. Prince Charles has showcased Parry's work with live performances; a real treat.



0 out of 5 stars

This is a great DVD    2 January 2014
I really enjoyed this DVD. It had a lot of never before seen home movies taken by Prince Philip. This DVD is narrated by Prince Charles. This DVD was dramatically better than I thought it would be. I thought it would be good. But it was actually great. If you like history , you will like it. It also shows a more personal side of Prince Charles. It shows a more personal view of the life of the Queen. Prince Charles comes across as a warm caring person in this DVD. It shows that he one day will be a warm and caring King.

Reviews posted on Amazon


COMMENTS ON TWITTER  after first transmission

H_G_G: Watching 'The Prince & The Composer' on BBC4 highly intellectual for a Friday night but thoroughly interesting! ♥ Prince Charles.


Yorkiepjm: Now Charles is pushing Parry, can we please have 'Jerusalem' as the new national anthem - pretty please!


sausagemouse: Enjoying HRH Prince Charles' programme on BBC4 on Hubert Parry. Lovely treat!


AliceMerray: Am thoroughly enjoying this prog about Parry with HRH. He's quite right too - I had no idea #Parry had written other stuff - stuff I love!


DAVIDYELLAND: Any friend of Hubert Parry is a friend indeed, so Tiaras off to Prince of Wales for this excellent BBC Four prog on @BBCFOUR /Superb


arwenwhite: BBC4 David Owen Norris' analysis of Parry's "Jerusalem" - perfection :-)


Humble_Scribe: Really interesting programme on BBC4 about Hubert Parry, composer of Jerusalem (and also Dear Lord and Father of Mankind - didn't know that)


Mozart: Hubert Parry is a lovely composer.


muscateer47: long live BBC4 , love the Hubert Parry programme with HRH, as I did the Elgar prog.


Brendan_Surrey: Wonderful BBC4 documentary about Hubert Parry. Licence fee justification night on the BBC. 


axj: Well I have to say HRH Prince Charles' programme on Hubert Parry on BBC4 is rather lovely. I've been rather captivated.


ElysianWeddings: "The Prince and the Composer" (BBC4)-90 minutes about Charles Hubert Parry, presented by Prince Charles and featuring my univiersity tutor!


PaulBelford: brilliant film on Parry, highlighting overlooked excellence - and also said much about Charles' mindset... interesting & thought-provoking


AdrianPallant: Another absorbing John Bridcut film on BBC4, this time on CHH Parry, presented by the Prince of Wales. Worth seeing - 90 minutes well spent.


ElysianWeddings: @davemilnes indeed! Impressed by BBC4 giving 90 mins of Friday night primetime over to Parry :)


Rgemini: Just watched Prince Charles' program about Parry and his music. I never realised just what a wonderful and varied composer he was until now.


AuroraEstella: Watched very interesting programme on Hubert Parry on BBC4 presented by Prince Charles. Will have to try listening to more of his music.


asanderson197: Been watching interesting 1½ programme on Parry's music presented rather well by Prince Charles, then one on history of easy listening music



WillyGreyBin: RT @asanderson197: Been watching interesting 1½ programme on Parry's music presented rather well by Prince Charles, then one on history of easy listening music


StephanieFraser: Just caught up with interesting documentary on Sir Hubert #Parry. Tried to persuade the elder 2 children to watch but not their thing. Shame


drama_king10: watching a film about the composer Hubert Parry, utterly sublime music


SamuelLear: Fascinating film about Hubert Parry - grand introduction to his pieces, and enjoyable viewing


michealwalsh: now BBC HD goes to a Music Documentary by the Prince of Wales about Composer Hubert Parry


SoMuch2Answer4: A night of musical contrasts: an hour of dirty guitar from The Kills @ e Methodist Hall & then Prince Charles on Hubert Parry, composer of Jerusalem, on BBC4. The latter was surprisingly moving; HRH came across as rather sweet and sensitive. Damn.


belindawills: Watch at 40mins for the inimitable David Owen Norris's dissection of Parry's 'Jerusalem' 


MansfieldNL: Have been on a Parry exploration after last nights brilliant BBC 4 doc #bbc4 #parry


amysmallperson: I am watching the doc about Parry on BBC4. I love it and its making me want to sing I Was Glad.


curlsdiva: Enjoyed Parry TV docu last eve - illuminating. Liked too how Parry descendant not at all awed by Prince of Wales :)


PhilipColbourn: David Owen Norris, My favourite music person / national treasure ~ Parry prog. BBC4 last night



<<< Back to all films