Basil Harwood

Basil Harwood
Short Name: Basil Harwood
Full Name: Harwood, Basil, 1859-1949
Birth Year: 1859
Death Year: 1949

Basil Harwood (11 April 1859 – 3 April 1949) was an English organist and composer.

Basil Harwood was born in Woodhouse, Gloucestershire (the second youngest of 12 children) on 11 April 1859. His mother died in 1867 when Basil was eight. His parents were Quakers but his elder sister Ada, on reaching 21 in 1867, converted to the Anglican Church. Basil was allowed to attend the ceremony at the Church of England in Almondsbury and this is where he was first drawn to organ music and choral singing. His father, Edward, remarried two years later in 1869 to a lady from an Anglican family. Basil was now sent to the Montpellier School in Weston-super-Mare for a year. In 1871, at 12 he was enrolled in Clevedon, the preparatory school for Charterhouse where he was first to formally study music.

He went up to Charterhouse in 1874 and left in 1876 having won a leaving Exhibition to Trinity College, Oxford where he initially studied Classics (1879) and Modern History (1880). He then studied for a further two years, 1881–1882, at the Leipzig Conservatory under Carl Reinecke and Salomon Jadassohn. It was here in 1882, Basil composed his first anthem for chorus and organ "O Saving Grace." He returned from Leipzig to realise that he had now passed the age limit to study music formally.

In 1883, Basil became organist of St. Barnabas Church, Pimlico completing his Sonata in C# Minor here in 1885, selling the copyright to the publisher Schott for one shilling a year or two later. After this success, he then moved to Ely Cathedral in 1887 where he wrote the bulk of Dithyramb, possibly his greatest organ work. His final appointment was as organist at Christ Church, Oxford and as precentor of Keble College, Oxford from 1892 to 1909. Whilst there he co-founded and conducted the Oxford Bach Choir which helped to earn him his degree as Doctor of Music. He conducted the Oxford Orchestral Association (1892–1898).

He was musical editor of the 1908 Oxford Hymn Book and Examiner for Musical Degrees (1900–1925).

During this time, he met and married Mabel Ada Jennings (the daughter of George Jennings) (who had become a pupil of his in 1896) at All Souls St. Marylebone, London (27 December 1899). Mabel had studied music herself, piano and composition, and was also a writer. She may well have composed lyrics for some of his lesser known tunes. At an advanced age she wrote a small volume of collected poems named Questing Soul.

He retired early at 50 (in 1909) after the death of his father, Edward Harwood, from whom he inherited the family estate of Woodhouse having outlived his seven older brothers. Soon after moving in he had a three manual chamber organ built in the library by Bishop & Sons of Ipswich (now in Minehead Parish Church), on which he promptly finished his Sonata in F# Minor. He continued to compose prolifically.

He was a keen walker, and named many of his hymn tunes after local places that he loved to visit, the most notable being the hymn tunes such as Tockington, Olveston, Almondsbury and Thornbury.

In 1936 advancing in years, he let the Woodhouse estate and moved to Bournemouth. Part of the estate, Woodhouse Down, was later sold to his contemporary Robert Baden-Powell who was two years older than he was and who had also attended Charterhouse School, and is used as a Scout Camp to this day.

In 1939, at eighty, he moved to London, taking a flat in Fleet Street. After a long life, he died on 3 April 1949, eight days short of his 90th birthday, at Courtfield Gardens in the Royal Borough of Kensington, London. A memorial service was held in St Paul's Cathedral on 22 April 1949. Mabel survived him, dying shortly before her 103rd birthday on 20 July 1974. He was survived by two sons; Major John Edward Godfrey Harwood (1900–1996) and Basil Antony Harwood (1903–1990) Senior Master of the Supreme Court, Q.B.D. and Queen's Remembrancer.

His remains are interred in St. Barnabas Church, Pimlico and marked by a plaque inset in floor of the chancel, close to where he would have stood to conduct the choir.

He composed cantatas, church music and works for the organ; his Service in A flat, the anthem O how Glorious and the hymn tunes LUCKINGTON ("Let all the world in every corner sing") and THORNBURY ("Thy hand O God has guided"), first used during a festival of the London Church Choir Association, remain in the Anglican repertory.

Tunes by Basil Harwood (31)sort descendingAsInstancesIncipit
ALMONDSBURYBasil Harwood (Composer)434272 54314 36567
ALVERSTONB. Harwood (Composer)251767 12251 53434
AUSTB. Harwood (Composer)235332 12345 65312
BURY HILLBasil Harwood (Composer)217153 21215 43216
[By the Name which Thou didst take]Basil Harwood (Composer)211112 22312 34512
CARADOCBasil Harwood (1859-) (Composer)237154 32343 212
COMBE MARTINBasil Harwood (Composer)532511 71654 32514
CUMNOR (Harwood)Basil Harwood (1859-) (Composer)354321 27513 2617
DEUS TUORUM MILITUM (Grenoble)Basil Harwood (Harmonizer)1513515 43211 31671
ELBERTONB. Harwood (1859-1949 (Composer)313417 55443
FERNHILLB. Harwood (Composer)253432 14234 65254
FRAMPTON COTTERELLBasil Harwood (1859-) (Composer)217653 21712 34321
[God the Father, God the Son] (Harwood)Basil Harwood, Mus. Doc. (Composer)253132 12345 62343
GROVESENDBasil Harwood (1859-) (Composer)213153 51765 51231
HAZEL (Harwood)Basil Harwood (1859-) (Composer)332123 63212 33212
HOPE BOWDLERBasil Harwood (1859-) (Composer)235432 17123 46234
KENN MOORB. Harwood (Composer)217134 44452 33237
LOWER MARLWOODBasil Harwood, 1859-1949 (Composer)313511 23465 43571
LUCERNA EJUS EST AGNUSBasil Harwood, b. 1859 (Composer)213215 67123 45712
LUCKINGTONBasil Harwood, 1859-1949 (Composer)2813511 26543 5627
MEIRIONYDDBasil Harwood, 1859- (Harmonizer)154332 12335 43432
REX GLORIOSE (15432)Basil Harwood (1859-1949) (Harmonizer)115432 13455 1765
OLDOWNBasil Harwood (Composer)417144 43513 23
PORTISHEADB. Harwood (Composer)251543 62334 25432
RAGLETH HILLBasil Harwood (1859-) (Composer)232171 45312 71322
ST. AUDREY (Harwood)Basil Harwood, 1859- (Composer)812321 12322 3513
THORNBURYBasil Harwood (Composer)5153716 12456 43235
TOCKINGTONB. Harwood (Composer)251365 45436 22556
TYTHERINGTONBasil Harwood (1859-) (Composer)235123 21453 31765
WHEATLEY (Harwood)Basil Harwood (1859-) (Composer)234275 67123 653
WOODHOUSEBasil Harwood (1859-) (Composer)231351 22347 33617
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