In a typical piece of click baitery about the 1916 premiere of Sir Hubert Parry's Jerusalem, Norman Lebrecht writes that*:
The conductor was Sir Henry Walford Davis. He and Parry had previously appeared together on a pro-War ‘Fight for Right’ platform.In fact the origins of both the 'Fight for Right' movement and Parry's celebrated setting of Blake are far more complex than suggested by that facile 'pro-war' stereotyping. Soldier and spy turned pacifist Sir Francis Younghusband formed 'Fight for Right' as a religious, not militaristic movement created to engage in a spiritual, not military, conflict. Of particular contemporary relevance is that Younghusband's vision was for a movement that would appeal "to the whole of humanity... Hindus, Mohammedans, Buddhists..."
Younghusband believed that the spirit of the people “would respond to music, speech, song”, and this resulted in the creation of Parry's setting of Blake as a rallying anthem for the new spiritual movement. After its premiere Jerusalem achieved the Edwardian equivalent of trending, but 'Fight for Right' fared less well, and in 1917 a split opened in the movement between belligerent patriots and committed pacifists. As 'Fight for Right' became increasingly miltaristic Parry withdrew Jerusalem as its anthem, and Younghusband sided with the pacifists and severed connections, and the movement was eventually wound up.
Anniversary mania means there will be many jingoistic celebrations - i.e. not appealing to ""Hindus, Mohammedans, Buddhists..." - of the Jerusalem premiere next year, so it is worth giving the truth a chance to be heard. My header collage showing Sir Francis Younghusband with Buddha statue and this brief summary of the gestation of Jerusalem are taken from a more detailed account that can be read via this link.
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