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Ernest Walker 




ERNEST WALKER 

Dialling by Francis Dodd, I'j^A 



Ernest Walker 



BY 



MARGARET DENEKE 

III 



GEOFFREY CUMBERLEGE 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO 
1951 

FACULTY OF MUSIC 

9 4J8 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 



Oxford University Press, Amen House, London E.C. 4 

OLASGOW NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE WELLINGTON 
BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS CAPE TOWN 

Geoffrey Cumberlege, Publisher to the University 



Ml 




79292ft 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN 



Preface 

This book is the outcome of friendship. It may be said 
that it has grown and not been written. Left to him- 
self Ernest Walker would never have told the story 
of his life; pencil games played in holidays formed the 
background for the first outline and in the last years the dis- 
covery of early diaries marked 'to be destroyed unread' 
gave him, my sister, and me pleasure and drew from his 
reticence further memories. The perspective of the story is 
influenced by what I had collected. His friend Dr. Cyril 
Bailey has gone over the manuscript with me and helped in 
the arrangement of the book. My sister has given me her 
assistance from first to last. To both of them I am sincerely 
grateful. To other friends of Ernest Walker thanks are 
due, especially to Dr. Ivor Keys who read all his composi- 
tions and added a chapter, and to Miss Alice Hess for two 
illustrations. I also have to thank the Fellows of Balliol 
College for permission to reproduce Francis Dodd's drawing 
and the Oxford Times for the photograph with Ravel. 



MARGARET DENEKE 



OXFORD 

November 1949 



Contents 



PREFACE 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



I. EARLY DAYS 



2. BALLIOL 1887— I9OO 

I. Friends, occupations, and interests 
11. A trio of dons 

3. MUSIC 1887-I9OO 

I. A septet of Oxford musicians 
11. Musical experiences 
in. The University: Teacher and examiner 

4. OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO— I925 

5. LATER YEARS 

6. THE MUSICIAN 

7. WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS 

8. ernest walker as c o m p o s e r, by Ivor Keys 

WORKS BY ERNEST WALKER 

INDEX ...... 



V 

viii 

1 

14 

14 
29 

40 
40 

5° 
59 

73 
89 

99 
105 

119 

132 

141 



Illustrations 



ernest walker: Drawing by Francis Dodd, 1934 . frontispiece 

As a boy with Lulu 



facing page 1 6 
As an undergraduate! 

JOHN FARMER .....,, \~] 

Encaenia 1914 with richard strauss „ 32 

Encaenia 1928 with maurice ravel, by permission of the Oxford 
Times ...... facing page 33 

At the piano, 1938 \ 

]....„ 96 

In Southwold, 1939/ 

ernest walker: Drawing by Sir Muirhead Bone, 1 946 „ 97 

A musical conundrum sent to Trevor Harvey on a postcard, referring 
to B.B.C. performances of Eng/and's Helicon and Say, Dainty 
Dames ...... facing page 1 1 2 

Programme of first Memorial Concert, 1949 . „ 113 



i. Early Days 



In these days of specialization, even within the limits of a 
single profession, it is rare to find men or women who 
combine, as their fathers and grandfathers did, several 
sides or aspects of the whole. To this limitation Ernest 
Walker was a notable exception. As a composer he ranked 
high among his generation, especially for his songs; his 
History of Music in England has become a classic and his re- 
views and analytical notes always commanded attention. He 
was frequently heard as a pianist in Oxford, London, and 
elsewhere, and held a unique reputation as an accompanist. 
He was, moreover, a widely read man with a special love of 
poetry, and a thinker who had worked out his own philo- 
sophy of life. And behind all this lay a character of singular 
beauty, rigid in its integrity, deep in its sympathy, and in- 
curably modest. 

Walker's life was spent almost entirely in Oxford, and 
to Oxford music he devoted himself with a never-flagging 
zeal. In the period in which he lived there, something like a 
revolution occurred in the whole attitude to art. It was not 
merely that great music was far more often heard there, and 
large numbers of men and women in their time came to love 
and to make it. But from being a hardly tolerated adjunct 
to University life, it became recognized as an essential study 
and found its place among the Faculties. The standard of 
degree work was greatly raised, teaching was organized and 
made thorough, and the whole study lifted on to a higher 
plane. There were many, both professional and amateur, 

B.1056 B 



2 EARLY DAYS 

who took their part in this movement, but it owed more 
than can be measured to Ernest Walker. His self-efface- 
ment disguised this, but his own work as teacher and 
examiner did much to bring about the reforms, and the 
influence of the Balliol Concerts under his direction has 
affected the taste of many generations and given them some- 
thing of that reasoned passion for truth and beauty which 
was the mainspring of his life. 

It is the purpose of these pages to record the develop- 
ment of Ernest Walker's mind and character and to give 
some picture of his work. 

Ernest started off on the longest journey he ever took 
before he was six months old. His father had held a post in 
the firm of East India Merchants, Lyon Lord, and had been 
engaged to Caroline Cooper for six years before the firm 
offered the partnership which enabled him to marry and 
take his wife to India in 1868. On 1 5 July 1 8 70 Ernest was 
born at Bombay, and early in 1 8 7 1 his parents brought him 
home to England to live with his maternal grandmother, 
Mrs. Cooper, and her daughter Emily at Bowdon in 
Cheshire. 

Here he had a happy childhood and developed some of 
the interests and characteristics which remained with him 
through life. His care for animals is illustrated by the story 
that at the age of three he was found nursing a dead worm, 
indignant that it had been hurt. His daily walks, too, which 
he vividly remembered, may have laid the foundation of the 
mystic attraction that Nature had for him, as he pottered 
about among the dead leaves in Dunham Park, or enjoyed 
the adventure of plunging through bracken as tall as him- 



EARLY DAYS 3 

self, whilst his nurse sat on a circular seat doing needle- 
work. Near at home, too, lay the Ashley water-mill, with the 
little River Bollin, about a foot deep, slowly winding its way 
through the meadows among flowers and bright stones, 
and now and then revealing a fish. The Bollin seemed so 
wide to the small boy — and when Ernest revisited it thirty 
years later it seemed so narrow. 

The Charlesworth children from over the road provided 
companionship for bowling hoops or swinging on gates, 
and their small, handwritten 'Rose-hill Gazette' offered 
opportunities for help in copying out three neat columns 
under its printed heading and for putting into words strange 
bits of information. It is recorded that at four Ernest was 
reading a newspaper even before he had been taught the 
alphabet — a curious anticipation of the modern 'look and 
guess' method of teaching reading. 

Music, too, had its place in these early years. In his grand- 
mother's house there was an upright piano on which Ernest 
discovered that one could bang away with zest. And at 
Mrs. Hunt's school which he attended he had his first 
music lessons and learned to play the Diabelli duets, and 
not long afterwards solos, which were in request at friends' 
small parties. 

In 1879 Edward Walker resigned his post with Lyon 
Lord in Bombay and accepted a position with the East India 
Merchants and Bankers, Forbes, Forbes and Co., in Lon- 
don. A suburban house was taken in Anerley, where the 
Walkers had the great satisfaction of being reunited and 
settling down together. The garden, her family, and her home 
were Mrs. Walker's world, for she seldom read anything, 



4 EARLY DAYS 

not even a newspaper, and her spare time was devoted 
to crochet work. Much of her interest was given to an en- 
trancing little Skye terrier called 'Lulu', who for fifteen 
years lavished on her mistress her single-minded, warm- 
hearted devotion. She was a gentle little beast who shared 
a meal offher platter with a mouse nibbling at the other side. 
She refused the offer of a walk from anyone except her 
mistress; only on a Saturday would she consent to go out 
with the parlourmaid, because she knew it meant meeting 
her adored mistress coming home with her son from a piano 
lesson. 

The father with his taciturn temperament and intense 
reserve was tied by the routine of a punctual and orderly 
City life. Every day except Sundays he caught the 8.15 
train at Anerley, for he made a point of being at the office 
earlier than any of the clerks. When he returned after his 
day's work there would be a quiet meal followed by a silent 
evening spent in reading. In his study everything was in its 
appointed place; even inside the drawers each object lay 
exactly where it belonged and any sign of untidiness pained 
him. His bookcases were locked, but on a Sunday they 
would be opened and his son might choose a book for the 
day; it must be replaced in the evening till the next week. 
But under the monotonous outward calm there was in 
Edward Walker a deeply passionate nature, held in control 
by confiding his thoughts to a day-book or to sealed slips of 
paper all labelled 'to be destroyed unread'. He had pub- 
lished two novels under the name of Powys Oswyn, but his 
hope of a career as a writer had been buried with regrets 
before his marriage. After his return from India he gave up 



EARLY DAYS 5 

writing even short stories and his day-book became his only- 
literary outlet. 

Now and again, but at rare intervals, the settled routine of 
226 Anerley Road would suffer upheaval by the giving of a 
dinner-party. The simple quiet life would be interrupted; 
sherry, port, claret, and champagne would be ordered, every 
domestic resource would be strained to the uttermost, the 
big chest with silver forks and spoons and dishes opened. 
The confectioner would deliver luscious pastries and the 
small Ernest tip-toed about to see all he could of the bust- 
ling preparations; he remembered how much he used to 
hope the guests would leave some of the dainties for him to 
taste the next day. A frequent guest was a faded, elderly, but 
alert Italian called SignorBoisragon, who had gone through 
the mysterious ritual of 'singing at Covent Garden' (Ernest 
always wondered what that meant). He would sing Rossini 
arias to his own accompaniment after dinner, or would 
pour praises on Ernest's solos, calling him 'piccolo mira- 
colo'. Once a year Lord Farquhar, senior member of Forbes, 
Forbes and Co., would invite the Walkers to lunch at his 
house and to the pantomime afterwards. Ernest found the 
long-drawn-out meal hard to bear, for on each occasion it 
meant that they missed the beginning of the play. Once a 
year a gift of venison came from the Duke of Fife, who 
also had some vague connexion with the firm. The venison 
was usually too gamey for the Walkers to enjoy it, but its 
regular annual arrival always left a hope that next year it 
might be edible, whilst friends were only too glad to carry 
it off. 

The move to Anerley changed life's horizon for Ernest. 



6 EARLY DAYS 

No longer a big boy at Mrs. Hunt's little Bowdon School, 
he now became a junior at Mr. Serres's Penalvern School 
for Boys. But the really great gain was the nearness of the 
Crystal Palace. Here was a compendium of interesting 
information set out in life-sized models, a perfect paradise 
for a boy of his tastes. An old cousin of the Walkers remem- 
bered that Ernest had shown her round the Crystal Palace 
when he was nine. He knew the names and dates and where- 
abouts of everything and acted as a guide to classical and 
medieval statues, ancient temples, and stone antediluvian 
beasts in the lake; he was eager, too, to make her share his 
keen enjoyment of a cricket match or a concert. The days 
might pass in seeming monotony, but music and books 
lent a sense of adventure that coloured his existence. Isola- 
tion is a factor in life for most only children, and, as there 
was little chat in the family and hardly any talk about 
concerts or reading, Ernest dropped the more easily into 
the habit of thinking things out for himself and of confiding 
happenings to a small pocket-book. 

At the age of twelve Ernest entered for the Junior 
examination of the Trinity College of Music in London 
and was awarded senior honours. About that time he was 
sent to South Norwood College, a private school of some 
twenty pupils whose headmaster, Mr. Bedford, was in 
appearance rather like the well-known picture of Chaucer. 
He was something of a scholar, and he gave to those of his 
pupils who could absorb it a good grounding in classics and 
a love of books. On Friday afternoons six or seven boys 
would be invited to his house, and Ernest would look for- 
ward to the spirited reading of Shakespeare in parts in the 



EARLY DAYS 7 

headmaster's private sanctum — a slightly awe-inspiring 
setting. Occasionally the whole school would read passages 
from the Bible, each boy taking his verse in turn. Mr. Bed- 
ford was a happy-go-lucky person, popular with his boys, 
and he had a gift for pulling off whatever he organized. 
Once Ernest saw him quivering with indignation : a boy's 
dog had bitten someone and had been condemned by the 
police to be destroyed. To save a vet's bill the father finished 
off the dog with a spade. Why Mr. Bedford should choose 
to tell a sensitive small boy about this ugly act of brutality 
seems hard to guess. But the fact that he was chosen by the 
headmaster for a confidence in white heat as well as the 
horribleness of it all weighed upon Ernest for days. It was 
the sequel to the worm at Bowdon. 

There was considerable excitement at South Norwood 
College when Ernest, who was below the normal age to 
enter the Oxford Senior Locals Examination, came out in 
the class lists as the fifth highest in all England and the 
highest in music. The local press underlined the success. 
In those days all first-class candidates were given prizes; 
Ernest's was a pompously bound Milton. 

Plans for Winchester College or Westminster were 
turned down on medical advice and Ernest stayed on at 
Mr. Bedford's school. But the splash in the Senior Local 
Examination had fostered a confident hope for Oxford and, 
if possible, Balliol, and when more advanced coaching in 
Greek and Latin prose seemed necessary, he was sent as a 
boarder to the Rectory at Writtle near Chelmsford. Here 
Mr. Papillon coached pupils for Oxford entrance. He was 
an ex-Fellow of New College commanding scholarship that 



8 EARLY DAYS 

was finer than anything Ernest had met so far. His manifest 
interest in the work with his new pupil proved stimulating, 
and three months before he was seventeen Ernest was 
accepted for admission to Balliol. 

During his three months at Writtle his music looked 
after itself. He composed half a dozen songs and snatched 
some playing on the drawing-room piano when he could 
get the room to himself. For the Writtle village concert he 
set Byron's 'The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the 
fold' and sang it to his own accompaniment with gratify- 
ing success. For reasons of health the stay was cut short 
and Ernest returned to Anerley, where he coached with 
Mr. Bedford and F. H. Merk, senior scholar of Balliol, 
whom Jowett had recommended. The first choice had been 
Anthony Hope Hawkins, but he had accepted work else- 
where. Later in life Walker was much interested in 'Anthony 
Hope's' novels, and it remained an amusing speculation 
what kind of coach he might have been for a boy of 
sixteen. 

Ernest's father and mother were profoundly ignorant 
about the qualifications of music-teachers, but their boy's 
musical gift made them anxious to do their utmost for him. 
Miss Robson was supplanted by Mme Krayn for piano 
lessons, and Mr. Charles Cellier was approached for har- 
mony. He was a brother of the composer of the popular 
musical comedy 'Dorothy', a man with a decided streak of 
vanity, and he enjoyed extending his patronage to a boy who 
was beginning to make a name for himself locally. He in- 
vited Ernest, as the only juvenile performer, to play at his 
Ballad Concerts — on one occasion the Op. 39 Waltzes by 



EARLY DAYS 9 

Brahms and on others the six Novelettes of Schumann and 
the C sharp minor Impromptu of Chopin. Cellier foolishly- 
instigated the publication of two pianoforte sketches that 
Ernest had dedicated to his mother. The proceeds were to 
go to the Norwood Cottage Hospital — needless to say there 
were none — and the fuss about his talent followed by critical 
remarks from his next more authoritative teacher gave 
Ernest a shock. Mr. Cellier should not have caused the boy 
to suffer this shame. 

The Fine Arts Department of the Crystal Palace opened 
a School of Pianoforte Playing for Ladies, and Ernst 
Pauer, who had an appointment at the Royal College of 
Music, came from London once a week to give lessons to 
'young ladies' in a large room on the first floor. The depart- 
ment was persuaded to forgive his sex and Ernest was ad- 
mitted to lessons from Mr. Pauer. It was the first time he 
had encountered a musician of this calibre. 

Pauer was a fine figure of a man, about six foot four and 
massive in proportion. He was in touch with the big world 
of music, but his teaching was casual and completely un- 
systematic. He would read The Times during part of the 
lesson whilst Ernest was scrambling through his Gradus ad 
Parnassum or pages of Hummel. Pauer took no trouble to 
cultivate a loose wrist or to think out fingering for his pupils, 
but he covered much ground and trusted that familiarity 
with the keyboard would bring command and nimbleness. 
It was something like a scandal that he added to his income 
by 'editing' the classics for Augener; the music was merely 
reprinted with a preface in bad English and a few poor 
woodcuts — yet Pauer liked his pupils to buy them. At any 



IO EARLY DAYS 



rate he put Ernest through much Beethoven, Mozart, and 
Schumann, a good many of the '48', and some Chopin. At 
every lesson he played with his pupil some of the classical 
symphony literature from the four-hand setting. Ernest 
learnt to rush from primo to secondo with only a bar to find 
his place on the page, and he enjoyed this practice of keep- 
ing one's head, and the pleasure of playing music already 
familiar in most cases from the Crystal Palace orchestral 
concerts. With a little more insight Pauer might have 
opened the door to classical chamber music by the same 
duet medium, but that world remained closed to Ernest 
till he got to Balliol. 

Meanwhile, accompanied by his mother, he went to every 
orchestral concert at the Crystal Palace that could be fitted in 
with school routine — they saw a performance of 'Dorothy' 
and they attended Mr. Pauer's lectures, given in rasping 
English, illustrated by fine pianoforte renderings played by 
his son Max. 

Pauer recommended harmony lessons by Alfred Richter, 
son of Friedrich Richter, Cantor of St. Thomas, Leipzig, 
who was in the direct tradition from Bach, just as Pauer 
himself through Hummel traced his musical descent from 
Mozart. Alfred Richter followed the Leipzig school of 
teaching, which was musically more flexible and intelli- 
gent than the Stainer-Ouseley creed that prevailed in those 
days. Ernest was doing double and triple counterpoint 
before he went to Balliol, but he had not attained that 
facility by the formal text-book methods. 

Amongst happy recollections of early times many were 
connected with the Beaumont household. Captain Beau- 



EARLY DAYS II 

mont figured in the 1 8 80s as a patron of music and chess. 
Ernest could recall distinctly the eager expectation with 
which the lonely boy would walk to that black house with 
red window-sills overhanging the London, Brighton, and 
South Coast Railway cutting; it meant much to him to meet 
others who made music. The ordinary routine was to call on 
a Sunday, to have tea and music, and if musically useful, one 
was asked for supper. Ernest often was. The setting was 
adequate : a fair-sized room, a conservatory attached to it 
where in a tank small alligators disported themselves — 
and an upright piano. One got used to the noise of the 
trains. Here Harold Bauer came with his violin — he was 
about two years younger than Ernest and the boys played 
together enthusiastically and often. Later on Ernest kept 
up these visits during Balliol vacations. 

In a preface to J. D. M. Rorke's book A Musical Pil- 
grim s Progress, 1 92 1, Ernest Walker describes his earliest 
musical memories: 

'Peering into the mists that have gathered during the course of 
nearly half a century, I seem to discern, as the first objects of my 
whole-hearted musical affections, two grisly phantoms known respec- 
tively as a Marche des Troubadours by Henri Roubier and a Gondel- 
lied by Theodor Oesten; I have not been afflicted with a closer sight 
of either for years, but I have a vague impression, possibly un- 
founded, that the latter was slightly the less discreditable acquaint- 
ance, and a more definite impression that I loved the former rather 
the more ardently. No doubt I was a very small boy, but that is no 
comfort to me: I have known hosts of children of the same age who 
would scorn such low tastes. And the painful visions by no means 
cease there. I seem to remember, a little later, playing Beethoven's 
F sharp major Sonata and Thalberg's 'Home, Sweet Home' at one 



12 EARLY DAYS 

and the same concert (how appallingly I must have maltreated the 
former of this unholily yoked pair), and — quite certainly, I fear — 
wallowing in a new song about an Old Brigade (by one Odoardo 
Barri, if I recollect rightly) with extreme intensity of pleasure — I 
made a special point for a while of hearing the wretched thing when- 
ever I could. And then came years during which I had, with queer 
indiscrimination, simultaneous enthusiasms for respectable and quite 
disrcspcctable things. I had what I know now to have been the 
inestimable advantage of steeping myself in the daily orchestral con- 
certs at the Crystal Palace in August Manns's prime; but I must 
sorrowfully confess that an effusion called a Turkish Patrol, by one 
Michaelis — these details must have been deeply rooted to have stuck 
so vividly in my mind — that I often heard from the military band in 
the centre transept, gave me, for some time, at least as keen delight 
as anything I heard in the more select part of the Palace. Later, in 
my undergraduate days, I kept a more or less regular musical diary: 
most of its entries read fairly decently, but I know very well, though 
I never committed the fact to paper till now, that for a quite con- 
siderable while some of my crowning emotional ecstasies were in- 
fallibly evoked by Stainer's Sevenfold Amen. Mr. Rorke began with 
Chopin without any of these horrible strayings; but having now 
abased myself in the dust, let me try if I cannot get a little more even 
with him in recalling the more creditable features of my evolution. 
There is an ancient Oxford story of an undergraduate who, being 
requested to specify the minor prophets, replied that it was not for 
him to make invidious distinctions among holy men; and similarly, 
in naming the great names, I am as far as Mr. Rorke is from any 
desire to draw up judicial class-lists. Roughly chronological land- 
marks, so far as I can recall them, were the fourteenth of Mendels- 
sohn's 'Songs Without Words', Beethoven's C sharp minor Sonata 
and, very markedly but later, Leonora No. j (I invariably choked 
at the climax of the coda), Chopin's G major Nocturne^ the Warum 
of Schumann (a very powerful long-sustained influence), Schubert's 



EARLY DAYS 13 

C major Symphony, the Lohengrin Prelude, the Les Preludes sym- 
phonic poem of Liszt (a merely meteoric force), and the Liebestreu 
and Von eiviger Liebe of Brahms, who appeared suddenly with a vehe- 
ment attack. Of Bach I knew little, and that did not appeal much; 
at Mozart I rather sniffed. Horresco referens. It seems, perhaps, a 
queer hotch-potch of positives and negatives; but somehow I fancy 
I see a thread running through it all, a thread that, after many more 
twistings and turnings, I still hold in my hand unbroken. 

Change is, I suppose, the law of music as well as of life; and we 
have to prove all things (and there are certainly plenty of them) 
before we can quite know how to hold fast that which is good. I 
whole-heartedly agree with Mr. Rorke about the greatness of La 
Cathedrale eng/outie, but I recall as vividly as if it were a matter of 
yesterday my complete bewilderment when this new planet swam 
into my ken; there seemed to be nothing in my musical world with 
which to correlate it. But now it seems far more plain-sailing than 
some things which I have known twice as long. And so, when one's 
pupils bring compositions that appear at a first glance to read equally 
well upside down, one must not too hastily conclude that that is the 
last word to be said about them. Another generation is evolving in 
its turn; and, after all, it has escaped from the Marche des Trouba- 
dours. 



2. Balliol 1887-1900 

1. Friends, occupations, and interests 

It was a proud sense of achievement which the inexperi- 
enced shy boy of seventeen felt when he installed his 
belongings in a room at the top of staircase 22 adjoin- 
ing the Hall. Balliol had been ardently hoped for, and 
planned with much loving care by his father; and now 
dreams had come true. The window of his room looked 
out on the garden quad where a game of bowls was be- 
ing played on the lawn, and gaunt elms hid the old wall 
to St. Giles'. 

Ernest's first outing was to Taphouse to hire a piano; 
there was as yet no Steinway in the Hall. The senior scholar 
of Balliol, G. C. Richards, called and laughed in a very 
kindly way at the fresher who was overwhelmed at the dis- 
tinction this visit seemed to confer. A friend describes 
Ernest at that time as having 'a good face with very blue 
eyes and an exceptionally spiritual expression'. Health was 
improving, but at no time could physical nervousness be 
altogether ignored, though in course of years it diminished. 
However, Walker found his feet at once, and it speaks well 
for Balliol that the undergraduates adopted their youngest 
member with such friendliness. 

Like most men in his day Walker was to take the full 
Classical Honours course, and indeed his previous work 
had prepared him for it. Honour Moderations he took in 
1889 and obtained a second; more could hardly have been 



FRIENDS, OCCUPATIONS, AND INTERESTS I£ 

expected with his rather sketchy background. His tutor 
was a brilliant young scholar, W. R. Hardie, afterwards 
Professor of Humanity at Edinburgh, and his work also 
brought him into contact with Francis de Paravicini and 
Evelyn Abbott. The Mods, curriculum is linguistic and 
literary, and it certainly enhanced Walker's love of litera- 
ture and his sensitive ear for style and rhythm. There are 
notes of the reading of Greek and Latin books in later years, 
and it is remarkable that when in 1923 he undertook to 
write music for the performance of the Rhesus by the 
O.U.D.S. in New College garden his settings reproduced 
admirably the rhythm and feeling of the original. But it was 
not till he began his reading for Greats in the summer of 
1889 that he really came into his own. The philosophy fully 
satisfied his desire for accurate thought and set his mind 
working on lines he never afterwards forsook. In this he was 
greatly stimulated and guided by his two philosophy tutors, 
R. L. Nettleship and Charles Warrack, of whom more must 
be said later. His work was regarded as very promising and 
hopes of a first class were held out. In an amusing letter to 
his parents on 24 June 1 8 90 he describes his interview with 
the Master and Tutors at 'handshaking' : 

The Master said 'Some people say music and work don't go to- 
gether, but I don't think that's the case with you, Mr. Walker. 
Your examination is very satisfactory indeed, and Mr. Abbott tells 
me your History paper was exceedingly good. If you keep your health, 
and work prudently, I certainly think you should get your first in a 
year's time. Don't you think so, Mr. Nettleship?' 

Nettleship (quite taken aback, and obliged to say something), 
' — Oh yes, most certainly.' 



l6 BALLIOL 1887-I9OO 

Tlie Master (resuming very graciously), 'We're very glad to have 
you here. Thank you for playing the organ. Goodbye.' 

Although their hopes were disappointed and in July the 
next year Walker was placed in the second class, he was told 
by Strachan-Davidson that he was just on the line of a first 
and that the Senior Examiner (the Rev. W. A. Spooner, 
afterwards Warden of New College) voted strongly for it, 
but was overruled by his colleagues. Walker took his B.A. 
soon afterwards and proceeded to his M.A. in 1 894. 

To complete his academic record it must be added that 
as a graduate he wrote at Jowett's 'order' an essay on Eras- 
mus for the Chancellor's Prize, and that in due course he 
took his degrees in music, B.Mus. in 1893 an ^ tne Doc- 
torate in 1898. The college appointed him as assistant 
organist to Farmer in 1891; Jowett spoke of him as 'a 
musical don'. Nettleship and Hardie had misgivings and 
wrote to Edward Walker pointing out that Balliol had no 
sort of right to claim any sacrifice of his son's career. But 
Ernest felt he was fortunate to have the prospect of a per- 
manent link with Oxford ; he was eager to do what he could 
for his college, and in comparison with that the alternative 
of travel or musical study abroad scarcely weighed at all. 
The new position gave him a definite status and a reason for 
staying in Oxford. 

This bare record must be supplemented by his own recol- 
lections and observations. His father presented him, when 
he went up to Balliol, with a diary, and from 1888 to 1894 
he kept it fully, recording his friendships, his reading, his 
thoughts, and his experiences. 

Walker's chief friends, whose names recur frequently, 



A W 






H 




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JOHN F A R M E R 



FRIENDS, OCCUPATIONS, AND INTERESTS l"J 

were E. J. Palmer ('Jimmy'), afterwards Fellow and Chap- 
lain of Balliol and later Bishop of Bombay, and C. J. M. 
Gordon, afterwards Master of Kelvinside Academy, who 
died in 1 92 i . With these two, when he went out of college 
in 1890, he lived in lodgings at 15 Ship Street. Bishop 
Palmer writes: 'We were a very happy partnership. All of 
us worked hard at our reading for Greats. My impression 
of Ernest in those days is that he was rather shy, but very 
pleasant to talk to, and he had various interests, such asyoung 
men have at the University.' Others whose names occur in 
the diaries are G. W. Hockley, the Blundell Scholar of the 
year, who later became Archdeacon of Cornwall, and F. M. 
Anderson, two years junior to himself, who died young 
in 1899. It was the habit of these friends to read books 
together and to discuss them either in undergraduate socie- 
ties or among themselves. The diaries record these readings 
and discussions ; they show how a new world of thought 
opened to Walker and suggest the general trend of his 
reflections. Some extracts on general literature may be 
quoted first. 

18 October 1890. Read Leaves of Grass to each other in 
evening: really although Whitman does extremely often write what 
can hardly be distinguished from obscure amusing nonsense, he some- 
times rises to really grand rough strong outbursts and meditations 
that are very fine. And although the outspoken frankness of some 
parts is appalling, yet one cannot call the man immoral. The man 
has such wonderful faith in all Nature and the human body in parti- 
cular that even his sometimes extremely unnecessary pieces of 
realism on sexuality don't sound wrong. The Devil could certainly 
quote Walt Whitman as well as the Bible for his own purposes: but 
so he could most books — in fact, all worth anything. 

B.1056 c 



l8 BALLIOL 1887-I9OO 

20 October 1890. Gordon had a meeting of the Milton Club 
in his room in the evening, so I went in and listened to a paper and 
discussion on Renan's Vie de Jesus — all sorts of views, from the 
more or less orthodox Liberalism of the paper to more or less com- 
plete agreement with Renan — all well and forcibly expressed, but 
throughout studiously temperate. 

My view of the book is that it is one of the most fascinating 
romances in existence: but it is terribly French in parts, and some 
things in it — such as the view of the raising of Lazarus — are ludi- 
crous. But it contains some superb pieces of lofty noble writing; and 
as to its historical value — well, our materials are so extraordinarily 
obscure that, making somewhat copious allowances for Gallic 
aberrations, it perhaps gets rather nearer to the truth than most 
similar studies — and certainly infinitely nearer than the Leben 
Jesu of Strauss. But from some others of Renan's works one seems 
to get the impression that the spirituality of this book is but elegant 
writing, and that the man's real views are nearer that light-hearted 
cynicism — 'les frivoles ont peut-etre raison' — which is the very 
lowest depth that the human soul can reach. 

14 November 1 890. Read Swinburne at our usual after dinner 
reading. The man has no doubt written some fine things especially 
parts of Atalanta in Calydon: but the music of his verse is very far 
from approaching the bests parts of Keats and Shelley and still more 
of Spenser — while the majority of his poems are mere voluptuous 
pieces of lusciousness with no thought in them at all: and a more 
profoundly immoral poem than Dolores it would be hard to find. 
If I had a sister I would rather read her the whole of Walt Whitman 
unexpurgated a hundred times over than such a piece of serpentine 
sensuality once — and I would throw in all Catullus and Aristo- 
phanes along with Whitman. 

23 January 1892. Finished Thomas Hardy's Tess of the 
U Urbervilles. A really great book, I think, on the true tragic model ; 
but terribly sad. All the wonderful country descriptions and lighter 



FRIENDS, OCCUPATIONS, AND INTERESTS 19 

scenes only throw into stronger relief the one central strain — 'O the 
pity of it!', and the end leaves one with a sheer dull aching pain and 
feeling that 'He causeth his sun to shine on the just and on the un- 
just'. A book that is 'realistic' in the best sense — a plain picture of 
all sides of life, and the mingled humour and pathos of it all, and 
finally the mockery of this sorry scheme of things entire — that Fate 
is usually unjust rather than the opposite. 

21 October 1892. Walk beyond Headington in afternoon. 
Composed, as usual, at my Rhapsody, and reread Sesame and 
Lilies — in spite of all Ruskin's crankiness in the majority of his 
other books, one does feel somehow that there is something extra- 
ordinarily fine about the mixture of passion and tenderness with 
which he preaches the doctrines of the true spiritual life. 

Two booklists entered in 1894 will give an idea of the 
range and variety of his reading. 

8 march 1894. Principal books read or reread last term: Horace 
Odes: Sappho and other early Greek Lyrics: Greek Anthology 
(Mackail's selections) : Lamennais — Paroles d'un Croyant: Heine — 
Reisebilder: Merimee — Carmen etc. — Lettres a une Inconnue — 
Dernier es Nouvelles: Tourgenieff — Peres et Enfatits: W. Morris — 
Poems by the Way: Coleridge — Table Talk and Human Essays: 
Huxley — Science and Education: Guizot — Histoire de la Civilisa- 
tion: Leslie Stephen — Hours in a Library: Scott — the Antiquary, 
Waver ley, The Bride of Lammermoor: De Maupassant — Boule de 
Suif: Hawthorne — The Scarlet Letter. 

18 june 1894. Heine — Deutschland and all poems except Buch 
der Lieder: Goethe — Wilhelm Meister: Hatch — Hibbert Lectures 
on Greek Influence on Christianity: Meredith — Rhoda Fleming: 
Hardy — Life's Little Ironies: Renan — Origines du Christianisme 
(7 vols): Tacitus — Annals, Germania, Agricola: Pascal — Pensees: 
Yeats — The Celtic Tivilight: Sophocles — Oedipus Coloneus: Ter- 
ence — Phormio and Eunuchus. 



ZO BALLIOL 1887-I9OO 

There was little except science and mathematics that did 
not rouse his intellectual curiosity and claim his enthusiasm. 
He learnt now to tear the heart out of a book by use of an 
index, and to read at a great pace. 

Balliol undergraduates at that time were not encouraged 
to attend lectures out of college, but after taking his degree 
Walker went to hear Walter Pater and made his personal 
acquaintance. The comments in the diary are character- 
istic. 

21 October 1 89 1. Lecture at B.N. C. this afternoon by Walter 
Pater — the first of a series on 'Plato and Platonism'. Ostensibly on 
Heraclitus and leading up to a detailed exposition of the gospel 
according to Pater, largely taken word for word from the epilogue 
to the 'Renaissance'. An exceptionally brilliant lecture in Pater's 
own wonderful style; but in spite of the marvellous 'glamour' that 
such an individual sort of person manages to produce, one feels after 
the spell is off that after all a one-sided refined sensuality like that is 
hardly the whole of life. The worship of beauty is no doubt in itself a 
noble creed which in England especially wants enough enforcement; 
but when it leads to a face like Pater has now, one feels somehow 
that something has gone wrong with it. In spite of the marvellous 
beauty of his books, one feels that it is an atmosphere in which one 
can't breathe quite freely. 

28 October 1 89 1. Second lecture by Pater — on the Eleatics — 
but as before, largely taken up with applying their principles to 
modern thought. Again a marvellously brilliant performance, and 
all the more suggestive from the fact that the man's whole con- 
ception of philosophy and his scorn of metaphysics is so very different 
from what one ordinarily hears. 

4 November 1891. No Pater lecture. He has given up for some 
reason or other just like he did last term. 



FRIENDS, OCCUPATIONS, AND INTERESTS 21 

Pater invited any of his listeners to call on him at 
B.N.C. and Walker took him at his word. 

Once he was Pater's guest at dinner at B.N.C. and 
several times at his private house: 64 St. Giles'. Here 
the table was spread with beautiful Venetian glass and 
both before and during dinner a huge blue Persian cat 
walked about on the table, threading her way among 
vases and tumblers without breaking anything. What 
seemed most odd to Walker was that no one worried about 
the cat's doings; she was completely ignored. 

In 1 893 Walker called and found Pater at work with a 
large bowl of dried rose-leaves on his writing-table. Walker 
observed that the lines of his page were very far apart, space 
being left to correct the swing of the rhythm and to get 'le 
mot juste'. Talk turned to Belgium, where Walker had been 
travelling: he spoke about the Rubens in Notre-Dame at 
Malines and Pater was interested that he had discovered for 
himself something of outstanding beauty off the beaten 
track. It was a painting for which Pater had a special liking. 
But when Pater spoke of music and waxed enthusiastic over 
Gounod and the Salvation Army Band, Walker sought 
refuge in silence. 

One of Ernest Walker's most salient characteristics was 
his urge to attain mental clearness; his zest never allowed 
half-measures. The account of the discussion on Renan's 
Vie de Jesus shows that in his early undergraduate days this 
faculty was applied to questions of religion and theology. 
But in fact the process had begun before that. At fourteen he 
took confirmation seriously; indeed, so much so that it was 
a shock to him to see the curate play football immediately 



22 BALLIOL 1887-I9OO 

after the confirmation lessons. There was no reason why 
this should be incongruous, but a doubt flashed through 
Ernest's mind whether the solemnity he had just experi- 
enced had been as sincere and profound as he had supposed. 
A few years later, on a Good Friday, he was overwhelmed 
with the significance of that day in the world's history, and 
the holiday spirit of Brighton where he and his parents 
were staying jarred on him. He went for a long walk alone, 
dwelling intensely on his thoughts till he was overcome by 
a mood of exaltation that amounted to a definite religious 
experience. 

The earliest diary (1888) is almost an index to the ser- 
vices of Holy Trinity, Anerley. Vaguely he contemplated 
taking orders, but that idea faded out. The interest in varie- 
ties of religion continued, and he felt compelled to face ulti- 
mate issues. Much of his reading was devoted to religious 
books; he grappled with most of Renan's works, Tolstoi's 
powerful and striking My Religion, Morley's Compromise, 
Lecky's Rationalism, and any number more, English, Ger- 
man, and French. 

In the undergraduate years Hockley, already a con- 
vinced High Churchman, would discuss theological ques- 
tions with Walker and with him sampled various religious 
services. 

8 may 1889. 'Spent a long time in hunting the locale of the Jews' 
"Tabernacle" where Hockley and I think of going on Friday.' 

Of St. Barnabas the diary reports: 

'Really that High Church Ritual manages to appeal to one's 
aesthetic sensibilities in a remarkable degree, which makes it much 
less tedious than Evangelical services — though the two are about on 



FRIENDS, OCCUPATIONS, AND INTERESTS 23 

a par in all other respects. Still nineteenth century Christianity 
robbed (however illogically) of its old cruel elements, is a marvel- 
lously beautiful thing — about the most lovely fairy-tale that ever 
grew up. But — "la verite est toute pour tous". The childhood of 
man is beautiful but it has to pass.' 

About the same time Hockley introduced Walker to 
Gore, who was then Principal of Pusey House. 

A most charming man and one that one feels could be implicitly 
trusted, although one might not agree inhisritualisticviews.CofFeeand 
conversation generally, and Compline afterwards in the small chapel. 
He has a face which is like nothing so much as a mediaeval Christ. 

Gore's first Bampton Lecture was a fine sober unrhetorical sort 
of sermon showing strongly his manly intellectual fearlessness and 
remarkable fair-mindedness, though I can't manage to be convinced 
by such arguments. 

Later on Walker refers to Lux Mundi. 

10 may 1890. Read Review of Reviews for May in which the 
place of honour is assigned to a synopsis and review of Lux Mundi. 
I have not read all these twelve essays yet, but as to the one of Gore's 
on Inspiration, which is the principal point of attack, I must say 
that I think his opponents have the stronger position. I cannot see 
any way of getting out of the fact that to deny Daniel and the 
Davidic authorship of the Psalm which Christ deliberately asserts, 
is implicitly denying the infallibility of the latter. And to talk about 
double nature etc. really lands one in the dilemma as to what 
utterances are to be put down to the human and what to the divine. 
We have no criterion except to say he has been proved wrong on 
some points and therefore that part of him is human. But it is surely 
dangerous to take that line. It would be impossible to contradict 
anybody who chose to say anything was wrong and human. Liddon 
is certainly right in saying that to a believer in the divinity of Christ 
all such questions are ipso facto foreclosed. But we ought to be 



24 BALLIOL 1887-I9OO 

thankful that men in such a position as Gore have got some advanced 
views, even though they do not see they are standing on a precipice. 
The Reformation truly was, as Von Hartmann has said, 'the suicide 
of Christianity*. It emancipated men from one bondage, only for 
the time to cast them into another; but still the one act of emancipa- 
tion has done its work. Little by little fragments have been dropping 
off — and now in Lux Mundl and all books of education, the old 
theory of 'plenary inspiration' is dead. It is seen that the Bible is no 
ultimate resort on all points, but when we once get there, I don't 
see what there is of dogmatic Christianity left. 

A year or two later after he took his degree Walker refers 
again to a meeting with Gore : 

16th February 1892. Lunch with Gore at Pusey House and 
a long walk with him afterwards. He is really an extremely fine sort 
of man, and with the keenest and most unconventional literary in- 
sight, as well as a strong sense of humour. Altogether I had a most 
delightful talk the whole time — on all sorts of subjects, frequently 
theological (Keim, Renan etc.). I had been rather afraid that he 
might 'examine' me a little which would have been uncomfortable, 
especially if he had put his arm round my neck, as he often did (it's 
his regular way) — but he never did so at all. 

It is clear that Gore's influence was not likely to bring 
Walker back to orthodox Christianity, but the extracts are 
interesting in showing his appreciation of Gore's persona- 
lity and his own fairness of mind. 

Other extracts from the diaries illustrate the progress of 
his mind towards agnosticism and foreshadow the com- 
plete rationalism of his later years — but in all there is a 
sympathetic sensitiveness towards those with whom he 
could not agree: 

21 January 1890. Read W. S. Lilly's A Century of Revolution 



FRIENDS, OCCUPATIONS, AND INTERESTS 1$ 

— a very comprehensive book, written with a very great deal of 
hard hitting. I don't know if his representations are always cor- 
rect, but most unquestionably I think that the only salvation is to 
be found in the recognition of Idealism and the Spiritual as the one 
highest Reality. One must make one's 'act of faith'; and to me the 
predominance of the spiritual seems the necessary corollary from 
the first absolute hypothesis — the intelligibility of the world. 'Self- 
reverence, self-knowledge, self-control' is the eternal basis on which 
personal ethics must subsist: and it seems to me that to adopt modern 
Naturalism and Sensualism is simply to fly into the face of progress. 
When Paul Bert says that his main aim is to find something to 
destroy Christianity and all religion with it, the only conclusion one 
can come to is that the man is a most pernicious fool. Although 
theoretical Christianity may have embodied propositions which are 
now seen to be untenable — although its ethical system may originally, 
as on such a question as chivalry (about the most priceless Teutonic 
bequest), have been entirely inadequate, yet its cardinal spirit of 
Universal Love has sunk too deep into man to be ever eradicated 
now. A man is not reverenced as God for 1800 years for nothing: 
if anyone has conquered the world, it is the Carpenter of Nazareth. 

6 march 1890. Read Edwin Arnold's Death — and Afterwards. 
I think we must come to the conclusion that the only satis- 
factory basis for the hope of personal immortality is that 'healthy 
mysticism' of love and emotion. . . . But I really think the position 
we must take up is that expressed in these grand words of the often 
very unpleasant writer Sir J. F. Stephen — 'Above all, let us dream 
no dreams, and tell no lies, but go our way wherever it may lead, 
with our eyes open and our heads erect. If death ends all, we cannot 
meet it better. If not, let us enter whatever may be the next scene 
like honest men, with no sophistry in our mouths and no masks on 
our faces.' 

6 September 1 89 1. [At Amiens] A most pathetic notice, I 
thought, posted up in the Cathedral asking 20,000 working men of 



26 BALLIOL 1887— I9OO 

France to pay a visit to Rome 'pour consoler le coeur de l'illustre 
prisonnier du Vatican . . . '. But still with all the pathos mixed with 
despicableness of this sort of thing, one feels that in a Cathedral like 
this or Rheims one gets very near the kernel of the Roman Catholic 
religion — outside all its vices, which are quite numerous enough, 
one feels that there is something eternal under it all, and I had no 
scruples in sprinkling myself with holy water in reverence of the 
men who, at any rate in stone, searched so splendidly after God. 

5 august 1893. Read Coventry Patmore's Religio Poetae — 
a curious and rare type nowadays: pure mediaevalism — strong mysti- 
cism, essential inferiority of woman etc., but some striking bits of 
writing. Certainly I think with Patmore that Christianity in its 
earliest essence was infinitely more mystical than meditative, and 
more exclusive than philanthropical and practical. I don't suppose 
that its founder ever imagined it was meant to regenerate the world 
in general — the whole essence of it was that only a few would be 
capable of it. Its end was infinitely more contemplative union with 
God — in a word mysticism — than hospitals and things of that sort, 
which were pure excrescences. It has nothing, to all intents and 
purposes, whatever to do with the outside world, about which its 
founder, at any rate, did not concern himself — still less had it any- 
thing to do with arguments of any kind whatsoever. 

10 November 1 893. Been reading a good deal of Matthew 
Arnold again. One gets rather sick of his phrases and mannerisms, 
and though he deserves remarkable credit for seeing that Christia- 
nity means a good deal even when we disregard its dogmas, yet it is 
absurd to try and bridge over, as he does, the enormous gulf which 
must separate the sincere believer from the sincere disbeliever, who 
may yet appreciate to the fullest extent all the mysticism of Christia- 
nity and everything else in it. The gulf which separates the whole 
views of life of the two is incalculable. 

In Walker's essay on Erasmus there was a good deal of 
himself, and his contrast of Erasmus and Luther with 



FRIENDS, OCCUPATIONS, AND INTERESTS 27 

which the essay concludes reflects much of his own mind. 
A few sentences may be quoted : 

The reformation of Erasmus might in the course of time have 
produced an intellectual atmosphere in which all superstition would 
have imperceptibly vanished; but would not the result rather have 
been that condition of spiritual life which some modern writers 
seem inclined to favour, in which all the intellect of the country 
looks on religious belief with a mild and kindly tolerance, as an 
excellent thing for the lower classes ? The result of the Lutheran 
Reformation has no doubt been of a very mixed character, but it has 
not led to universal hypocritical compromise. Erasmus was fond 
of expressing his view that the truth about things was often better 
concealed from the multitude. We may admit as fully as Erasmus 
would have admitted that truth is in its essence many-sided, and 
that there is a truth of ideas as well as a truth of fact. Yet we know 
from the history of intellectual questions that the doctrine of con- 
cealment of truth has too often led, not to the inculcation of what is 
recognized as the same truth in another perhaps less true setting, 
but to the direct preaching of what is known to be false. 

Oxford gave a great stimulus to Walker's love of nature, 
and as one reads the diaries, it is seen that the mystic atti- 
tude to nature, which was shown even in childhood and is 
exhibited in many of his songs, was becoming a stronger 
and stronger element in his life. 

About sixty years ago Oxford was still surrounded with 
open country; the roads were quiet and fields and copses 
were only a mile and a half from Carfax. To one as acutely 
sensitive to moods in nature as Walker they proved a living 
experience. 

One of the most frequent entries in the diaries is 'worked 
and walked as usual'. Walks as a rule might be six or eight 



28 BALLIOL 1887-I9OO 

miles; as an exception they would extend to Woodstock or 
Dorchester; all the villages round Oxford are mentioned in 
turn : 'Powder Hill copse all blazing with bluebells', 
'Binsey in October glowing in red and yellow'. An after- 
noon 'to Garsington and back', and an evening 'to Mar- 
ston Woods to hear Nightingales . . . woods are the place 
for thinking'. Or 'sat down by a stream near Hinksey and 
investigated the habits of frogs and water-beetles for over 
an hour'. 

30 October 1 89 1. Walk to Wytham in the afternoon — a 
glorious day — a cloudless sky and a sort of constant soft Corot-like 
sunlight all over. And those woods! Really the whole scenery round 
by them, village and all, is practically perfection in its style — and 
surely the worship of shades of green is an element in the highest 
life. 

30 march 1892. A superb spring day, so spent the morning on 
Cumnor Hurst where I took some music paper and worked. What 
supernatural beauties of colouring one can see in ploughed fields 
with the sun on them. I nearly go mad sometimes with the beauty 
of all nature in which there is nothing common or unclean. 

31 march 1892. Worked all morning in the fork of a pollard 
willow by the Ferry Hinksey backwater . . . lay down in the grass 
and lost myself for three-quarters of an hour or so in watching 
weeds grow a flaming gold in the sunlight and listening to the breezes 
whispering along the hillside. 'There is a great God in them who 
does not grow old.' 

23 October 1892. A splendid clear soft light and that view over 
Wood Eaton from Elsfield Hill was certainly today one of the most 
wonderful things I have ever seen. Fletcher, who has a strong nature 
sense (certainly a sense wanting in most people up here, I think, 
though most of my intimate friends have had it), was quite wild over 



FRIENDS, OCCUPATIONS, AND INTERESTS 29 

it, and we both got a strange feeling which does come over one when 
one stands watching the play of light and shade on birch leaves as 
they flutter off the tree. 

There are also detailed accounts of 'outings in Jimmy's 
beautiful Canadian canoe' and records of holiday tours. One 
holiday spent on a walking tour in Scotland with his friend 
Gordon in 1890 lights up the pages of the diaries with glow- 
ing descriptions of twenty-mile walks in the Highlands; 
and superlative enjoyment is again recorded in 1 89 1 when 
he first visited Switzerland with the Farmer family. It was 
on this holiday that he grew the beard which, brown at first 
and later a silvery grey, was so conspicuous a feature to all 
his friends. 

During those early post-graduate years Walker com- 
posed many of his songs — sometimes they flowed freely, 
six in two days on one occasion. He chose nature-poems, 
sometimes from Riickert and Uhland, when he wrote the 
English versions himself. Both these translations and his 
settings show the intensity of his feeling for nature. 

11. A Trio of Dons 

It has been seen that even before Walker came up to 
Balliol, the Master (Benjamin Jowett) had shown great 
interest in him; as soon as he was in residence at Balliol 
a personal relation between them was firmly established, 
and Walker's diaries (1889—94) show how much he was 
one of the Master's boys. There is mention of 'walks alone 
with the Master' and 'talks and breakfasts with no-one 
else' and evenings of 'solitary' conversation when all the 
talking fell to Walker. There are requests for music for the 



30 BALLIOL 1887-I9OO 

Master's guests and invitations for dinner, or wine. It was 
always an event to be asked to share dessert and half an 
hour's good talk with the Master's week-end party before 
they rejoined the ladies. These dining-room scenes were 
impressive, and the French butler Perroud added to their 
solemn dignity. On one occasion, when Walker took the 
seat of a guest who was compelled to leave, the Master 
quoted Virgil's 'primo avulso non deficit alter aureus'. 

On a Sunday evening the Master liked to take his party 
to the Balliol Concerts, and his entry was a great moment. 
Jowett used to troop in with a galaxy of distinguished guests, 
the audience rising to its feet as he walked the whole length 
of the Hall : Huxley, Lord Coleridge, Browning, Tennyson, 
Arthur Balfour, Margot Asquith, Mrs. Humphry Ward, 
and many others were among them. Andrew Lang has 
left on record in his letters that he used to hide to avoid 
being taken to the concerts. But the party was not always 
truly musical, and the diary notes on 20 November 1892: 
'Got nearly mad over Master's guests talking in front row 
— I wish I wasn't so sensitive on that point.' 

The diaries speak also of the Master's sermons in chapel : 
'several of them are unorthodox but commonplace, always 
uttered in the Master's uniquely cherubic way'. One of them 
on Browning and the chief Balliol men who had died in the 
last six or seven years stands out. There is reference also to 
Jowett's lectures on Pre-Socratic philosophy to men just 
out of Mods. The lectures were held in the small lecture- 
room of the front quad which proved amply big for the few 
listeners. 'He specially sent and asked me as a favour to 
come. I suppose to set the example in asking questions.' It 



A TRIO OF DONS 31 

was scarcely a prospect to be enjoyed. The Master was old 
and tired, his strength was spent, and the glass of sherry and 
the biscuit that Perroud brought in half-way through the 
lecture failed to restore the spark of animation that made his 
private talk so vivid. Walker did his best about discussion, 
but things fell flat. 

Walker was one of those privileged to stay with the 
Master in vacations. On three occasions he spent a week 
at Ashfield House, West Malvern, a Victorian red-brick 
house, where Jowett had established a former Balliol scout, 
retaining the right to go to it with his housekeeper and maid 
in Christmas and Easter vacations. Three or four Balliol 
men would be invited at a time. Here in Malvern, as the 
Master himself owned, conversation was freer than usually 
at Oxford. He was in the habit of sitting up late, and he was 
never seen till lunch time, when he appeared in his usual 
swallow-tail coat and bow tie. His hair was then snow-white, 
his complexion very pink, and his small cheeks fallen in. 

The diaries tell 'the Master was in a lively mood and told 
stories that he evidently thought funny!' And later 'he is 
in wonderfully good health and spirits for a man nearly 
seventy-three. He hit hard all round in most animated 
political discussions, and told any number of stories usually 
with a sly knock at the ecclesiastical profession in them.' 

Walker remembered how, on 3 1 December, Jowett, near 
midnight, rang the bell. There was a lengthy pause ; the ser- 
vants had presumably gone to bed and were getting up. At 
last a very sleepy maid appeared — Jowett in his high-pitched 
voice very brightly wished her a happy new year and ordered 
'collations to celebrate the occasion suitably' — after a long 



32 BALLIOL 1887-I9OO 

interval a tray with sandwiches and a decanter were brought 
in. The wine was poured out in silence and somewhat shy- 
wishes were uttered, but to the undergraduates then present 
this memory of the Master's friendliness remained vivid 
after sixty years. 

A mental picture of Jowett in these days that never failed 
to amuse Walker was of the small man wearing a clerical 
coat ploughing up a Malvern Hill with snow on the ground, 
leaning on an alpenstock taller than himself. There is 
an affectionate touch in the entry : 'the dear old man seems 
to toddle about the hills in grand style'. On the 30th 
of December the Master left in the evening to attend 
Browning's funeral at Westminster, and Ernest Walker 
and Jimmy Palmer went off on one of their frequent sight- 
seeing expeditions, visiting Tewkesbury and Deerhurst 
— 'a very curious and interesting early Saxon church — 
one of the very few still standing — which the Master was 
anxious for me to report on'. 

Even after Walker had taken his degree the Master con- 
tinued to ask for an essay every Thursday. 

5 may 1892. Read essay about certainties and uncertainties of 
morals to the Master in evening, and got to a regular sort of talk on 
Christianity — truth of idea against truth of fact etc. 

The Master summed up in a sentence which he added 'per- 
haps he would not say in public' — 'that he did not know 
what Christianity would have become by now if it had not 
been for the Infidels'. And the keen personal interest the 
Master kept up in Walker's affairs was occasionally almost 
embarrassing. 




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A TRIO OF DONS 33 

29 February 1 892. Went to the Master. Some curious idea 
about my reading for a fellowship. . . . Music is the thing for me. 

1 December 1 892. Took Essay on Law and Ethics to Master 
in evening, at which he practically ordered me to write for the 
English Essay on Erasmus next year. Confound it! Why should I 
waste my time like this? 

But the end was coming. On i October 1893 the Master 
died: 

Warrack one year, Nettleship the next, Jowett the next. Nothing 
like such a great man but he was wonderfully good to me all through 
these six years and one cannot realize what Balliol will be like with- 
out him. 

Walker attended the funeral : 

6 October 1893. Up to Oxford for the Master's funeral — first 
part of service in Chapel and then a great impressive procession of 
400 or so — all sorts of old Balliol men and other friends — to St. 
Sepulchre's cemetery where he was buried next to T. H. Green. 
Walked with Farmer and Pope directly behind the Fellows. . . . 
What a marvellous thing that Burial Service is! — still? But the 
whole experience was wonderful. 

Jowett did not influence Walker greatly as a thinker or 
teacher, but his personality left on him, as on many others, a 
definite and deep impression. 

The words of Andrew Bradley on the memorial tablet 
in Balliol Chapel describe Richard Lewis Nettleship. 'He 
loved great things and thought little of himself; desiring 
neither fame nor influence, he won the devotion of men and 
was a power in their lives ; and seeking no disciples he taught 
to many the greatness of the world and of man's mind.' 

B.1056 D 



34 BALLIOL 1887-I9OO 

There is no doubt that Ernest Walker was among those 
to whom Nettleship was a lasting power in life. The influ- 
ence was intangible and Walker could associate it with no 
particular words, but there remained a vivid impression of 
complete simplicity and single-mindedness, and at the same 
time of a strongly passionate nature kept in firm control. 
The diaries tell of lectures, discussions, and meetings for 
music with Nettleship. Together they explored whole 
volumes of Brahms's songs and other music — Nettleship 
avoided selections — and their discoveries were often incor- 
porated in Balliol programmes. The diaries of 1890 say: 

Went through a good many Schumann Songs with Nettler — 
really that man, although he has no particular voice, has one of the 
rarest capacities for artistic conception and expression that I ever 
knew. His singing is infinitely better than the majority of profes- 
sionals, except that he has such a curious voice. If one forgets that, 
it is really wonderful: and in conversation one finds that his entire 
art-views are extraordinarily deep and pure, while his professorial 
brother talks any amount about music, and knows hardly anything 
about it from any point of view. 

And soon after: 

Played several Brahms Songs (Romanzen from Tiecks Magelonen 
mainly) for Nettleship who seems to want to continue the habit: 
and I certainly enjoyed it excessively — or perhaps 'enjoyed' is 
hardly the word; if one was in a theological vein one would simply 
thank God that a man had lived to write music which for its 
glorious depth, poetry and earnestness, no artist, living or dead, has 
ever surpassed. 

And besides ploughing through complete volumes of com- 
posers at College, there was also music at old Mrs. Nettle- 



A TRIO OF DONS 35 

ship's house, 7 Banbury Road, where Lewis Nettleship 
lived for the last years of his life and kept Jenny, his faithful 
dog-companion. 

Much of Nettleship's self-forgetting outlook for Balliol 
was reflected in Walker's zeal for anything connected with 
the college. Prizes that Balliol men won were entered into 
his day-books, as well as athletic distinctions. He ran with 
a rattle along the tow-path cheering the College Eight, and 
after a bump-supper that Nettleship also attended, he 
banged about on an upright piano in the quad to support 
general revelry. 

In tutorials and discussions the whole field of philosophy 
was covered by Nettleship, but Walker always regretted 
that he heard Nettleship lecture only on Aristotle, and never 
on Plato. 

The letter which Nettleship wrote to Walker after the 
result of Greats was known reveals much of the writer's 
mind and of his care for his pupil's future. (It is perhaps 
worth remembering that Nettleship himself was unexpect- 
edly placed in the second class in Greats.) 

I have just been hearing about your work in the schools, and 
gather that you were very near a first. I know that this is poor con- 
solation (if you want consolation) as far as the outside impression of 
the thing goes; but there is a certain satisfaction in knowing that one 
is practically in the same intellectual zone as the men whom one is 
accustomed to regard as 'first class men'. 

Strachan-Davidson thinks that if you had been as good in scholar- 
ship as in other things, you would have been put in the first. How- 
ever, I suppose and hope that you will soon be thinking of other 
things than classes. It has always been wonderful to me that with 
the spirit of music in you and about you, you could give so much of 



7,6 BALLIOL 1887— I9OO 

your mind to other tilings. I hope you don't feel that the music has 
suffered by it, for I should always feel that it is music that has the 
first claim on you. Of the many things that I cannot do, but can 
in a way imagine myself doing, it is that which always has the first 
place, and my favourite dream is that of getting to the heart of the 
world by song. It will be a great pleasure to me if you find yourself 
able to stay in Oxford for a time, though about this you ought of 
course to consult your own interests. It certainly seems as if there 
were a great field of activity here for a musician who has also an 
interest in men as well as in actual production. 

For production alone Oxford can hardly be the most favourable 
place, I should think, either in music or anything else. But there is 
a sort of middle ground between the pure producer and the pure 
reproducer (though no doubt neither exists 'pure') which wants 
filling well. And in music as in other arts I am sure that any amount 
of good work can be done in the way of putting people on the way 
to understand and enjoy. It strikes me very much how the world is 
kept out of most of the best things by misunderstanding and not 
knowing how to begin. Most of what is called 'criticism' consists, 
it seems to me, in saying 'I A don't like you B' or 'you B have not 
done or said what I A think you ought to have done or said'. Of an 
honest attempt to get inside a man and tell other people what you 
found in him, there is almost nothing. Many of the people who have 
the power of appreciation have not the power of expression, and even if 
they have they seldom take the trouble of cultivating the two together. 

After Walker took his degree the frequent meetings in 
Hall or at Nettleship's house continued. In 1891 both 
Walker's parents attended a Balliol Concert where his De 
Profundis was performed. Ernest's father especially enjoyed 
Farmer's appreciation of the music and Nettleship's co- 
operation among the tenors. 

It was a great shock to Ernest to hear of Nettleship's 



A TRIO OF DONS 37 

death through the columns of a newspaper in August 1892. 
The diary says: 

Apparently Nettleship and two guides, in ascending Mont Blanc 
from Chamonix, were caught by a sudden storm near the Dom 
du Gouter, and the landmarks were so obliterated that they lost 
their way, and after wandering about for a long time, they dug a 
hole in the snow, and passed the night there, Nettleship 'singing 
from time to time to prevent sleep'. In the morning the storm was 
no better, but Nettleship preferred to try to descend rather than wait 
for death; but after battling with the storm for an hour or so, the 
cold and exhaustion overcame him and he sank and died 'after shak- 
ing hands with the guides, and saying a few words in English not 
understood by them'. And the guides somehow with great diffi- 
culty got down alive, and sent up others later to bring down the 
body, which was buried at Chamonix August 29th. 

In its way a truly grand ending, and worthy of one of the noblest 
of men, who has done more to mould me than perhaps anyone else 
in the world. Somehow I seemed to have got more than the major- 
ity of men at Balliol behind that wall of reserve which made him 
seem to many so cold and unapproachable. And the memory of that 
intimate intercourse of over three years seems now but a dream of 
the great influence of a supremely earnest strong soul which indeed 
'saw life steadily, and saw it whole'. 

16 October 1892. Sermon on Nettleship from the Master in 
Chapel — characteristic production but the Master said himself, as 
no doubt is true, that he never understood him. 

One who was present remembers there was a sense of ten- 
sion among the undergraduates in Chapel when Jowett had 
the courage to confess 'I am afraid I did not always do 
him justice because I did not altogether understand him'. 
Walker went to see Mrs. Nettleship when he was back 



38 BALLIOL 1887-I9OO 

in Oxford and continued regular visits twice a term, playing 
her favourite songs to her. She was devoted to him and 
called herself 'his affectionate grannie'. She entrusted to 
him the Shelley that her son had taken to Chamonix and the 
volumes of Brahms songs they had used together. Her com- 
panion wrote to Ernest Walker after her death (189 8),' Your 
music always made her so happy'. 

About Charles Warrack there is little to say, but his influ- 
ence in Balliol was a living force in Walker's time. Farmer 
spoke of him as the 'College Christ'. 

He was not a Fellow and there is no memorial at Balliol 
to him, but the memory of this retiring scholar to whom 
philosophy was a real intellectual glow remained fresh in 
the minds of Ernest Walker and his generation. 

5 December 1890. Today Warrack's course of lectures — 
ostensibly on Logic, but really on the whole Aristotelian Logic, 
Metaphysics, and Psychology — came to an end. They have cer- 
tainly been far the best lectures I have ever heard in Oxford — 
extremely clear exposition, and the justest and most interesting 
criticism; while through the whole there ran what I know now to 
be perhaps the chief point in a most fascinating character — a deep 
quasi-religious mysticism. From my three hours a week this term 
with him I have really come to admire the man wonderfully: a 
peculiarly 'spiritual' nature in the best sense (i.e. in the unorthodox 
sense) combined with acutest philosophical insight. For a real index 
to the man's character one should take, I think, his passion for 
Plotinus and Spinoza — and the concluding sentence of his lectures: 
'To Aristotle all human thought is potentially divine: the true 
philosophic life is that in which man identifies himself with the 
world in the fullness of knowledge which is Love.' 



A TRIO OF DONS 39 

15 September 1891. Got a note from A. G. Little (an old 
Balliol man) at Chertsey saying that Warrack died there on Sunday 
last. Of course I knew that the man with that chest could probably 
not drag on very long, but still it gives one a shock to think that 
about the noblest man I ever knew has found out the secret of things 
for himself at last. Little asked me, as a friend of Warrack, to the 
funeral tomorrow afternoon, but I am afraid it will be impossible 
for me to manage it. 

Warrack was little known outside Balliol, but it is obvious 
that Walker, like many of his contemporaries, had a pro- 
found admiration both for his teaching and for his per- 
sonality. 



3. Music 1 887-1900 

1. A septet of Oxford musicians 

A septet of strangely dissimilar personalities repre- 
sented music in Oxford in 1887 when Ernest 
Walker came to Balliol as an undergraduate. 
Among them were manifold activities but there was less 
public recognition than now, though music had been gain- 
ing a more respected place in the University than the 
eighteenth century afforded, when artists were considered 
mere craftsmen and servants to the nobility. In those days 
(1792) an undergraduate tumult not infrequently inter- 
rupted a performance and it was deemed necessary to print 
on notices that dogs should not be brought to the concerts. 
An orange, aimed at a Holywell Music Room orchestra, 
broke a Cremona violin as well as Malchair's career as the 
leader. Even as late as about 1 850, so the story goes, Dean 
Gaisford burnt a chest of priceless viols stored in the Bod- 
leian, supposing them to be dusty rubbish. The suspicion 
that an undergraduate who had a piano in his room was 
likely to come to a bad end lingered on, and Walker remem- 
bered how a delightful young aristocrat, who was trea- 
surer of the Balliol Musical Society, accepted with genuine 
alacrity the suggestion that envelopes containing fees 
should be addressed 'Esq.' ; 'Thank you for telling me ; the 
cricket team prefer it too.' 

Jowett, though not musical himself had observed with 
growing interest the ethical influence that John Farmer's 



A SEPTET OF OXFORD MUSICIANS 41 

music-making had in Harrow where he had been Director 
of Music. Farmer, though unread in Plato, shared the 
Master's philosophical belief that music could be an influ- 
ence for the bad as well as for the good. It was a feather in 
Farmer's cap that Jowett developed unwavering faith in 
him; for some time he resisted the call to Oxford, feeling 
tied to Harrow as long as Montagu Butler needed him 
there. When Butler became Master of Trinity, Cam- 
bridge, Farmer was free for the work that Balliol offered. 
No doubt the move to Oxford entailed much financial 
sacrifice for Farmer, but Jowett made conditions as at- 
tractive as possible: a house (21 Beaumont Street) was 
offered, and later on a study was thrown out at the back 
of it. 

Farmer started his musical activities with characteristic 
enthusiasm. There was some floundering in those pioneer- 
ing days : Farmer invited a brass band to play in the garden 
quad and got Jowett to be present. That experiment was not 
repeated. But the first secular Sunday concerts in England 
came to stay: Balliol started them in 1885, South Place in 
London followed in 1887. The Master acquired an organ 
for the Hall and since it was his gift, it was necessary to use 
it, but an upright piano was hoisted into the organ-loft to 
help out. Some Balliol undergraduates would take part 
(Dalhousie Young, George Simey, Harold Joachim, Fran- 
cis Darbishire, and Ernest Walker) and the respected 
academic standing of most of these imperceptibly helped 
to establish a real appreciation of music rather than mere 
toleration both in the Master and in the college. The inno- 
vation of secular concerts on Sundays roused considerable 



4-2 MUSIC 1887-I9OO 

opposition in some quarters. The vicar of St. Mary Magda- 
lene preached against practices 'which might be very well 
in atheist Germany, but in Christian England and in my 
parish. . . .' (Incidentally Balliol is extra-parochial.) Some 
time later Farmer was much touched by a confession from 
the vicar that he had been mistaken in attributing evil in- 
fluence to the concerts. The music was good, on that score 
Farmer was uncompromising and no doubt even the brass 
band had been made to fall into line, but early Balliol pro- 
grammes consisted mainly of snippets, with one move- 
ment, or at best two, from a great work adventured upon 
now and again. Any hiatus in the programme could be 
filled by calling upon Mary Farmer or her brother Gabriel 
for a song to their father's accompaniment. 

Among Farmer's other activities were 'Smoking Parlia- 
ments' for about twenty undergraduates in one of the Senior 
Common Rooms, but Ernest, who was never at any time 
a smoker, did not go. His diaries, however, show fre- 
quent attendances at Hall-singing, held on Monday nights, 
though he would go more in a sense of loyalty to Farmer 
than because he had inclination for corporate jollity. Every- 
thing was lit up by Farmer's flamboyant personality, all of it 
went with a swing and was healthy and inimitable. Frederick 
Huth Jackson, who had sung Farmer's setting of 'Forty 
Years On' with him at Harrow, now took a lead in smooth- 
ing the way for 'The Balliol Rooks' and 'Verbum non 
amplius Fisher' and other Balliol songs for which college 
poets wrote the words. 

Both for Chapel and for concerts Farmer made use of 
Walker from the beginning and as terms went on he called 



A SEPTET OF OXFORD MUSICIANS 43 

upon his help more and more. Walker also gave consider- 
able time to reading the proof-sheets of Farmer's hymn 
book. Perhaps it was over hymns that Farmer collided most 
violently with his contemporaries. He never allowed any- 
thing sentimental in Chapel and he had no regard for asso- 
ciation. In the book which he brought out he fitted fine 
old tunes to words chosen by Jowett, Montagu Butler, 
and others at his invitation. 

When later the Bach Choir was started by Basil Har- 
wood with more advanced musical claims. Farmer still went 
on gallantly with Hall-singing, undaunted by smaller atten- 
dances. A paralytic stroke laid him by eighteen months 
before his death, July 1 901. At the beginning of Farmer's 
illness W T alker was asked by the college to act as deputy 
organist and given to understand that this would mean his 
ultimate succession to the post of organist. Hall-singing 
had fulfilled its end by then and anyhow was not Walker's 
metier. 

How much Farmer relied upon Walker's help and how 
completely he believed in him becomes clear in letters. In 
writing to Mrs. Walker in 1 8 9 1 to thank her for the present 
of a red malacca cane, which became his constant com- 
panion, he says: 

We are greatly indebted to your son Ernest. During his four 
years at Balliol he has composed so much really beautiful music for 
us; has helped us so modestly, patiently and powerfully in the cause 
of good music. The Master and the whole College are grateful to 
him for what he has done. I am deeply indebted to him. When I 
was so ill he did me the kindest service. My wife and family will 
always remember it. 



44 music 1887-1900 

And again after an illness in 1895 ^ e wr ote to Walker him- 
self: 

I can't thank you enough for your kindness with respect to the 
Society of Arts business. It is a good work done. The remembrance 
of some events of the exam, come back to me like a dream. When I 
was feeling ill and depressed the thought crossed my mind of my 
not being able to see the medal people again and my soul felt blowy. 
I am now in better spirits. I can't write what I want to say. I 
know how patiently you always read between the lines of my clumsy 
ways. 

I must keep the High School Concert and Exam, notices for next 
month. Better for them to appear during term time. 

I am so grateful to have you to depend on for keeping the kettle 
boiling of this great advantage for doing good, helping those to whom 
help will be a blessing. The girl who could sing 'He was despised' 
like we heard it will be of more use to the world than all the negative 
critical Josephs put together. 

Go on composing. If you have the courage to go on fearlessly in 
spite of your dread of failure you will before ten years are over do 
something that England will be proud of. 

This stimulating outlook, and generous appreciation 
meant a great deal to Walker, but Farmer took no interest 
in degree work and possessed no technical mastery that he 
could pass on to others. So for the final B.Mus. examina- 
tion Ernest went for two terms for coaching to Dr. Frederick 
Iliffe, Organist of St. John's, at his private house. Here in a 
room, almost entirely taken up by a pipe organ and a grand 
piano, they would sit at two tiny square tables spread with 
music paper, Dr. Iliffe pencilling suggestions into the score 
that Walker had brought with him. It was honest, good 
grind, and well worth doing. Iliffe's choir at St. John's was 



A SEPTET OF OXFORD MUSICIANS 45 

of no account, and the ramshackle organ there allowed no 
display; but as a teacher he was very thorough and took 
limitless trouble over his many pupils. After the examina- 
tion he wrote congratulations to Walker disclaiming any 
credit to himself in the success: 'You did it all yourself.' 

Iliffe was quiet, shy, without any pretensions to creative 
gift, but possessing supreme skill in mechanical craftsman- 
ship: the industrious under-dog, modest and content to 
be it. 

The leading musician of Oxford in 1887 was Dr. Charles 
Lloyd of Christ Church. He was reputed the best impro- 
visor in England and possessed great skill as an organist; 
his general musicianship was competent rather than out- 
standing. He conducted the little local orchestra led by 
Mary Venables, but owing to his highly strung tempera- 
ment and quick nervous movements it remained a hum- 
drum affair. Arthur Benson once said of Lloyd, who 
afterwards went to Eton, 'of course we all of us have to 
struggle with the beast within us, but I think Lloyd has to 
struggle with the bird within him'. On one occasion the 
little orchestra was fitted into Balliol Hall for a concert and 
Walker was invited to contribute Schumann's Papillons to 
lengthen their programme. Dates for concerts given in the 
Sheldonian had to be chosen with great care in days before 
artificial lighting; one dark November afternoon Beet- 
hoven's Seventh Symphony was finished to a great extent 
by heart, not a very successful effort, but still reflecting 
some credit on the players who kept going when Dr. Lloyd's 
baton was scarcely visible. 



\G music 1887-1900 

Walker went to Dr. I ,loyd for organ lessons as some skill 
was needed for Balliol Chapel services. Lloyd's teaching 
was desultory and his choice of pieces was far too hard for 
beginners and Walker never developed a secure technique 
on organ pedals. However, by dint of improvising volun- 
taries he held his own: in this way a miskick might be 
converted into an unusual harmony whilst the manuals 
obediently followed suggestions that came unpremedi- 
tatedly from the pedals. 

At New College James Taylor was the organist. He was a 
pupil of Sterndale Bennett and his pianism was remarkable : 
clear-cut, clean, of the restrained type, that showed to ad- 
vantage in Mendelssohn's G minor Concerto. He was the 
leading piano-teacher of the Oxford of his day; essentially 
shy and never successful as a conductor of the orchestra or 
Choral Society and content with adequate achievement for 
the New College choir. His gentle, dignified manner com- 
pelled cordial esteem from all sides ; his gifted family too 
were well known. His daughters Leila and May, who played 
the violin and the 'cello, performed at Balliol Sunday con- 
certs with Walker. One son, Colin, became the Head of the 
Conservatoire in Cape Town, another, Leonard, won re- 
nown as an R.A. and his memorable painting 'The Re- 
hearsal' was bought for the Tate Gallery by the Chantrey 
Bequest. 

At Magdalen John Varley Roberts trained the choir; a 
bluff good-natured Yorkshire man who merited his wide 
reputation for choosing his singers and getting the best out 



A SEPTET OF OXFORD MUSICIANS 47 

of them. In his broad north-country accent he would boast 
with justifiable pride that his chief bass John Lomas (cap- 
able of a gorgeous 'cello-like sound on the low C) had re- 
mained loyal to himself and Magdalen in spite of manifold 
efforts to bribe him away. Roberts's organ playing was 
poor, devoid of technique and second-rate in taste; in 
solemn marches a favourite effect of his was a queer deep 
rumble produced by swaying up and down the keys with 
his left fore-arm on a sixteen-foot Bourdon. Little wonder, 
in that acoustically perfect chapel, that a Friday, with its 
unaccompanied singing, was the day musicians chose to 
hear the choir ; it was generally considered the finest in Eng- 
land, indeed famous throughout the world. Roberts dedi- 
cated the best part of his life to attain for Magdalen this high 
distinction, but only at the end of his days did the Senior 
Common Room pay him the tribute of admitting him to 
membership, an indication of the attitude towards music in 
those days. 

Besides these professional musicians there were dons who 
as amateurs took a prominent part in the music of the Uni- 
versity. At the Oxford University Musical Club Henry 
Hadow was supported by Harold Joachim, Paul Benecke, 
Franklin Harvey, and Ernest Walker; Farmer's activities 
were restricted to Balliol and he rarely made use of his 
honorary membership. The Club, with its headquarters at 
115 High Street, possessed a library and organized Tuesday 
evening concerts. The President, virtually a dictator for con- 
cert arranging, was appointed for a whole year, and Walker 
was elected in 1 892 and 1 897. The Public Classical Concerts 



48 MUSIC 1887-I9OO 

were founded as an off-shoot of the Club, and Hadow's 
gifts as an organizer were freely given to this venture. Most 
of the leaders of the Oxford University Musical Club pri- 
marily represented academic subjects, and helped to create 
an understanding for music in the University; but none 
mingled their knowledge more completely with music than 
Hadow. His lectures in the Sheldonian given 'for the 
Heather Professor of Music' in his rapid, eager delivery, 
bubbled over with humour and shone with the fire of a 
proselytizer. Comparatively elementary musical facts were 
illuminated with unknown brilliance and the full panoply 
of philosophical knowledge and wide reading in many lan- 
guages was drawn upon for picturesque detail. Walker 
frequently provided illustrations at the piano for these lec- 
tures, which attracted undergraduates and a large general 
public. The publication of Hadow's Studies in Modern Music 
marked an era, gaining an acknowledged place for music in 
general culture, and establishing claims for the amateur at 
his best, a service to music which he further substantiated 
as editor and writer and extended during his later distin- 
guished career as administrator in education. Hadow's songs 
found favour in Oxford homes ; aware of his own limita- 
tions as a composer he would ward off praise and assert 
in his emphatic way that Ernest Walker's music would 
stand the test of time. 

Dr. John Henry Mee, Fellow of Merton, Tutor in 
Ancient History, and Precentor of Chichester, was a con- 
siderable figure in the world of Oxford music at that time. 
From Kettel Hall, and later from the big house he built in 



A SEPTET OF OXFORD MUSICIANS 49 

Jowett Walk (nicknamed 'Palazzo Mee' or 'The Meum', 
now the School of Geography) he extended social support 
to undergraduate chamber music. Almost as a protest to the 
Oxford University Musical Club he founded the Musical 
Union that met in the big room behind Taphouse's shop, 
and somewhat indiscriminatingly gave opportunities to 
undergraduate enterprise. There was a wish to secure talent 
for the Union and Dr. Mee, having heard about Ernest 
Walker, sent Mr. Arthur Foxton-Ferguson to Anerley to 
bespeak him as a member of the Union before he had started 
residence at Balliol. But once in Oxford, Walker joined 
the Oxford University Musical Club and neither he, nor 
Hadow, was ever a 'Mee's man', though their compositions 
were given a hearing at the Union. Walker could remem- 
ber the days when the University regulations, that Donald 
Tovey described in his essays on 'the training of the Musical 
Imagination', still held good, and the 'exercise' for the 
doctor of music had to be performed in public. In many 
cases some very perfunctory performances must have been 
put on, the poor composer no doubt hoping no one would 
hear them ; Stainer abolished the tradition as one of his first 
acts when he became Professor of Music. But when Johnnie 
Mee tookhis degree he engaged aprofessionalorchestraand 
first-class soloists and the Leeds Choir, and conducted his 
B flat Missa Solemnis before a crowded Sheldonian. Pro- 
fessor Ouseley, sitting near the first violin, followed with a 
full score, thus testifying for the University that the work 
performed was identical with the exercise sent in for the 
degree. This brilliant setting was curiouslyout of proportion 
to the dull, wooden work so magnificently decked out. 

B.1056 E 



50 music 1887-1900 

Thus Walker was brought into contact with many dif- 
ferent musical personalities in his early days. Each and all 
had some influence on him, but the greatest force in deter- 
mining his career was without doubt that of Farmer. 



■^ 



11. Musical experiences 

There are many entries about music in the diaries, which 
give early evidence both of Walker's single-minded en- 
thusiasm and of his critical insight. Unconsciously he was 
training himself as a writer on music. Most of these refer 
to activities and experiences in Oxford. 

3 may 1892. Took Nettleship and F. M. to Club in evening — 
Schumann's on the whole very inferior F major Quartet, Beet- 
hoven's Violin Sonata in E flat (op. 12, no. 3), not one of his most 
inspired, and Brahms's new Clarinet Quintet in B minor (Egerton, 
and Gibson leading). Farmer had lent me the score but still of course 
one would like another hearing; but on a first it seems one of 
Brahms's finest things, I think. A marvellous slow movement, of a 
decidedly Hungarian colour. 

13 September 1 892. Played over the fifth and sixth volumes of 
Simrock's edition of selected Brahms songs — which I gotatNovello's 
yesterday. A good many of the finest, which I have known from 
going over them with Miss Farmer or Nettleship, are still not in — 
such as 'Herbstgefuhl', 'O kuhler Wald', 'Mit vierzig Jahren' etc., 
etc.; besides all those published by others than Simrock: but I came 
across one superb one, that I did not know before — 'Meerfahrt' a 
most weirdly passionate setting of Heine's extraordinarily imagina- 
tive 'Mein Liebchen wir saBen beisammen' — one of the greatest of 
these marvellous gems of vague flawless beauty — informulate 'Sehn- 
sucht' — which are all about the Buck der Lieder. 

4 October 1892. More music with Briggsand Bucknall — every- 



MUSICAL EXPERIENCES 51 

thing went really very nicely, though Bucknall, with all his artistic 
feeling, has not very much technique — Brahms C major Trio twice 
over, and the C minor Trio twice over too. Certainly the latter 
improves on acquaintance enormously; still there is nothing in it as 
deep as the Andante of the C major, though it is a singularly charm- 
ing (and in the first movement very massive) and decidedly less 
severe work. 

31 October 1892. An hour's Brahms with Miss Farmer in 
Hall in afternoon — many old favourites, and also several that I had 
not been over with her or anyone else before. No doubt some are 
inclined to be heavy — but one doesn't expect the man to be always 
perfect, and I came across some superb ones I did not know — a 
weirdly beautiful setting of a weird Eichendorff poem 'Anklange' 
(from op. 7) and a very elaborate and imaginative 'Abenddam- 
merung'. 

4 November 1892. Reading and practising as usual. An hour's 
Schumann and Brahms with Miss Farmer in Hall in afternoon — 
how strange it is, taking the 'Schwanengesang', that one or two (like 
the 'Standchen' and 'Fischermadchen') have become so hackneyed, 
while others at least equally fine, like 'Ihr Bild', 'In der Feme', 'Die 
Stadt' and — to my mind, perhaps, the greatest song in all music — 
'Am Meer', are heard in public rarely, if ever: while as for things of 
Brahms like some of those we did today, e.g. 'Der Kuss', 'An eine 
Aolsharfe', 'Die alte Liebe', 'Wahrend des Regens', 'O komme, 
holde Sommernacht' — when does one hear them ? 

30 November 1 892. Grand Concert — Corn Exchange in even- 
ing — very miscellaneous music, as usual at Grand Concerts. Jean 
Gerardy — a real mature artist, with lovely tone and style — played 
some poor things: a Mademoiselle Torac 'the eminent Belgian vio- 
linist' played the Finale from Grieg's F major (the stock thing for 
such occasions) and other pieces with spirit and intelligence, but 
nothing at all remarkable. Miss Evangeline Florence sang rubbish 
with a voice of beautiful quality and marvellous compass, from the 



52 MUSIC1887-19 00 

low 'A' to a perfectly effortless and sweet and full high 'G', while 
her high A's and C's were like a flute for purity and roundness. The 
other singers, Miss Marie Brema and Messrs. Wade and Ley — and 
Mr. Waddington Cook — 'call for no serious comment'. As a matter 
of fact they were hopelessly bad, and I am afraid the manners of 
Miss Farmer who was just in front of us, and Jimmy and I who 
happened to be together, cannot have pleased the very ardent 
admirers of the third-rate performers, and general fourth-rate music. 
I came away after the first half. 

But Walker was now getting outside Oxford and the 
diary tells of visits to London. One was to hear Sarah 
Bernhardt: 

9 july 1892. To London by myself this afternoon to English 
Opera House, Shaftesbury Avenue. Dumas, La Dame aux Corne- 
lias. The company on the whole was only fair, M. Henry's 
'Armand' being the best; but no words can describe the magic of 
the Marguerite Gautier of Sarah Bernhardt herself — the marvel- 
lous loveliness of her voice — the extraordinary charm of every play 
of her features and every movement of her body — the almost mad- 
dening seductiveness of the whole. And yet there is nothing in the 
slightest degree exaggerated or strained — it is simply overpowering 
reality. The way in which she can say a word or two — like 'Oh 
l'amour! l'amour!' at the end of the first act — simply makes one's 
head swim. And the woman who can look like that must be nearly 
fifty. 

Other visits were to the operas conducted by Gustav 
Mahler, and in particular to Wagner productions. 

13 july 1892. Up to London at Covent Garden again in even- 
ing — Die Gotterdammerung. No doubt there are supreme things 
in the score, such as the 'Trauermarsch', and wonderful moments 
scattered all about; and the ingenuity and imagination of the work- 



MUSICAL EXPERIENCES 53 

manship, and the beauty and dramatic force of the 'motives' is 
marvellous — but as a whole the work left me with a decided feeling 
of oppression. It did not strike me as altogether equal to the 
Walkure or Siegfried^ still less Tristan — the greatest of all — but 
still I remember how many works, such as the great things of 
Brahms — often seem dull at first, and only unfold their wonder and 
their worth on intimate knowledge. 

The 'Norns' Scene was entirely omitted but at any rate it is not 
necessary in the drama and without it the thing lasted five hours. 
The stage arrangements were again miserable — certainly one would 
not have understood the end a bit without knowing the libretto 
beforehand: the pyre was burning all right, but Brunhilde and her 
horse quietly went off at the wings, and the Rhine and the Rhine 
daughters were altogether non-existent. 

20 july 1892. Last of my seven German operas at Covent Gar- 
den this evening — Fidelia. Of course it is impossible to compare it 
in any way with the Wagner things: for it is an opera, and the others 
are 'music-dramas', and there is all the difference in the world. 
Again it would be an anachronism to expect in an opera of 1 805 
that subservience of everything to dramatic truth which one finds in 
Wagner and which — as in parts of Tristan in its marvellous weld- 
ing together of words and music — make one forget that apart from 
the emotions expressed by the words, the music would probably be 
very uninteresting. But still there is a very considerable amount in- 
deed of dramatic force in Fidelio — all over the place — certainly 
much more than in Mozart — and with music of absolute beauty the 
score is crowded — the Prisoners' chorus in the first act being perhaps 
the most marvellous. But still I must say that I don't think Beet- 
hoven's genius is most seen on the stage; the Leonora No. 3 — per- 
haps the most absolutely perfect thing in all music — is worth all the 
opera put together. For the expression of supremely exultant pas- 
sion I defy anything in the world to equal the close; and good God ! 
it looks so simple, and yet it makes one bury one's face in one's hands 



54 MUSIC1887-19 00 

and tremble The orchestra was very good, though the drums made 

an appalling row at times; and the performance of Leonora No. 3 
was extremely unconventional, and in its way, very fine; though I 
did not at all agree with Mahler's occasional 'tempo rubato'. That 
sort of thinsi does not do in Beethoven. 



'to 



Other occupations were also crowding in on Walker. In 
1892 when he was twenty-two, he wrote an article on 
Brahms's songs, which was accepted for the Musical Times 
— the beginning of his career as a writer on music — and 
the diary of 3 1 October 1892 records a visit with Farmer to 
the Oxford High School 'to accompany my part-songs in 
his class of girls there, who really read them very nicely'. 
This led to examination-work at girls' schools, for Farmer's 
Harrow School of Music, for the Girls' Public Day Schools 
Trust, and for the Society of Arts. 

Moreover Reginald Carter the editor of the Oxford 
Magazine secured him for reporting on music and Walker 
kept to this work till 1924, the guinea a term originally 
offered dropping out from 19 14. His articles make good 
reading. They give a telling account of Oxford music and 
are made vivid with amusing thumb-nail sketches. His 
writing was very pointed but there is record too of great 
enthusiasm ; as Donald Tovey put it, 'there is little of beauty 
or worth that eludes Ernest'. The Manchester Guardian and 
The Times sounded Walker for reporting work but his love 
of Oxford was all-powerful. The hectic, up-to-time routine 
of newspaper staff-work in a big town could scarcely pre- 
sent temptations to one so acutely sensitive to beauty in 
nature, and so able to mirror her moods in song. 

Farmer, who was untiring in his zeal to put Walker's gifts 



MUSICAL EXPERIENCES $$ 

to good use, secured him for his friend, Joseph Williams's 
new venture the Musical Gazette. It was an idealistic pub- 
lication, no advertisements were admitted and Walker had 
a free hand as its editor with one strange exception ; Joseph 
Williams tolerated no adverse criticism of Gounod's Re- 
demption on the ground that this work was Novello's best 
seller, and his chivalry forbade possible injury to a friendly 
publishing firm through the columns of one of his own 
publications. Farmer had hoped to secure a large public for 
the Musical Gazette by recommending girls' schools to 
send up notices of their doings, but the sale, never very 
large, soon dwindled. The haphazard dates of publication 
that Mr. Williams chose puzzled even its loyal readers and 
after ten numbers the Gazette died. During its life-time it 
upheld a fine standard. It had the distinction of sponsoring 
what were probably Tovey's first printed works, an analysis 
of Brahms's C minor pianoforte quartet, and 'Performance 
and Personality' a critical essay on Joachim and Dohnanyi. 
Hadow gave a telling sketch of 'Music in a Hungarian 
Coffee House' and Florence May 'Reminiscences of Brahms 
as a teacher'. Walker wrote the greater part of most num- 
bers himself, filling in gaps with short articles that show the 
outlook that he held all his life. His longest contribution 
was the obituary essay on Farmer; on the whole the Press 
was grossly unfair to Farmer, and Mrs. Burnet (Mary 
Farmer) wrote gratefully to Walker for the only just esti- 
mates, his portraits of Farmer in the Musical Herald and 
Musical Gazette. 

The reputation as an accompanist that Walker had 
gained at the Balliol Concerts led to many engagements in 



$6 music i 8 8 7-1 900 

London and the provinces, which brought acquaintance — 
and often close friendship — with many artists. The songs 
which Walker composed during these years were often sung 
by Marie Fillunger, Gervase Elwes, and Plunket Greene. 
The last named had a peculiar affection for them ; he wrote 
once: 'I take off" my hat to Spring Twilight.' His steady 
phrasing of 'Sweet Obscurity' remained a treasured memory 
for Walker. Only in 'Snowdrops' — to which the composer 
had added metronome markings — did the pace Plunket 
Greene inflicted cause regrets. However, his rendering of 
'Hey Nonny No' was terrifying with its almost intoxicating 
passion, and 'Corinna's Going a-Maying', always at break- 
neck speed, seemed to find its place in almost all his 
programmes. He made it blaze with life. Gervase Elwes 
sang 'The Wind on the Wold' and 'Come into the Gar- 
den, Maud' and captured the delicate urge of 'Bluebells 
from the Clearings', which has often suffered from being 
sentimentalized. This last song was given the prize offered 
by Charles Phillips in 1 909 : several hundred composers 
had entered for it, including Gustav Hoist. 

Perhaps the most remarkable of these musical friend- 
ships was with Casals, the famous 'cellist. Walker met him 
first in July 1898 at a private party in Kensington and 
played his accompaniments. Shortly afterwards Casals (by 
introduction of the Queen of Spain) was invited to play at 
Osborne and he asked Ernest Walker to come with him. In 
those days Casals could not speak a word of English, and 
W r alker's French was pressed into service. The artists went 
from Southampton to Cowes and were put up in a small 
hotel on the east side of the Medina river, the ferry to the 



MUSICAL EXPERIENCES 57 

more fashionable west side not being in action in the even- 
ing hours. Quite a good little dinner with cheerful talk was 
just finished when the royal carriage called for the drive to 
Osborne. Here they were received by footmen who con- 
ducted them through long passages to a fairly large room 
with full-length paintings of the Prince Consort in High- 
land shooting kit with dead prey all round him. The 
footmen vanished after saying that Lord Edward Pelham- 
Clinton would summon the artists. Casals and Ernest 
Walker sat down and waited for about half an hour, the 
sense of expectation too strong upon them for a chat. At 
last footsteps : Lord Edward Pelham-Clinton appeared in 
court dress : then more and more passages, more and more 
pictures of the Prince Consort, Casals silently carrying his 
'cello, Walker following with the music-case. Then a halt 
before the last of a series of gilt-handled doors. Lord 
Edward Pelham-Clinton opened the door, and the three 
walked straight into the presence of Queen Victoria who 
was sitting at a large table by herself, with Princess Beatrice 
and the Duke of Connaught on her right. There were about 
thirty people in the room, all in uniform or court dress. The 
queen was in full evening dress, the low cut showing her 
very white skin; she looked dignified and impressive to a 
degree that no photograph could convey. Ernest Walker 
was genuinely impressed with her personality. The Queen 
finished her talk with an admiral and then picked up her 
large hand-written programme as a sign that the music 
should start. Walker took his seat at the Chickering Grand 
from Boston, U.S.A., and noticed, whilst Casals was tun- 
ing, that the pedal squeaked. There was whispering in the 



58 MUSIC 1887-I9OO 

audience, but the Queen signalled for attention and in com- 
plete silence Faure's Elegy was played. The music went on 
for about half an hour (Saint-Saens's Allegro in B minor, 
an old Italian sonata), with no applause, but in the intervals 
between the pieces the Queen spoke German to Princess 
Beatrice. When the programme was finished Casals was 
beckoned forward, and the Queen in French thanked him 
and inquired what was the small red order that he wore 
on his coat. Then Casals stepped back, and Walker was 
beckoned forward, and the Queen said, 'You accompany 
very beautifully' and added a few relevant remarks about 
the music. When it was evident that the concert was over, 
two six-foot Indians came and grasped the Queen's arms, 
and helped her slowly, inch by inch, to get up from her 
chair, and leaning on her Indians she left the room. Then 
Lord Edward Pelham-Clinton stepped forward and handed 
a case of gold sleeve-links to Casals, and to Walker a silver 
cigarette case with 'from V.R.I.' and a crown inlaid in 
colour. The Duke of Connaught said some words in what 
purported to be Spanish, but Casals confessed later he did 
not understand them. 

Once more the artists were conducted by footmen down 
passages till they reached a room with supper for two. Casals 
wanted to say good-bye to Lord Edward Pelham-Clinton, 
but the footman could not find him. On his search he took 
Casals and Walker into a billiard-room where a game was 
going on, but even that failed to produce him, so without 
a farewell the artists were taken to the carriage and driven 
to the hotel. The next morning, after a very early breakfast, 
Mr. Philip Yorke appeared with the royal birthday book 



MUSICAL EXPERIENCES 59 

which both artists signed at the queen's request. Filled 
with the glow of success Casals went to telegraph an account 
of his visit to his relatives in Spain, and Walker needed all 
his most urgent French to cope with the difficulties of ex- 
tracting him from the post office in time to catch the 
steamer. 

About fifty years later Casals wrote on 2 8 January 1947. 

Cher Dr. Walker, 

Votre lettre ne pouvait pas me faire plus de plaisir. Les inoubliables 
temps de ma jeunesse et partant des commencements de ma carriere 
s'attachent a votre nom et a votre personne — II va sans dire qu'en 
ecrivant ma lettre a l'£diteur du Times vous etiez present. 

Quel plaisir qu'a mon age, nous pouvions encore correspondre et 
caresser de si vieux et chers souvenirs — Je ne peux pas m'empecher 
d'etablir un autre trait d'union entre vous et moi, celui de notre 
amitie et devotion pour cet etre extraordinaire qu'etait Sir D. F. 
Tovey, notre cher Donald. Souvent j'ai dans mes mains ces precieux 
petits volumes — 'A Musician Talks' — que vous avez prefaces — Je 
suis toujours attire par ce parfait portrait de Donald le musicien et 
les di verses caracteristiques de l'homme — c'est vous dire que je me 
plais a lire cette Preface qui me reunit toujours avec la meme 
emotion avec vous et avec lui. 

Acceptez, cher Dr. Walker, les meilleurs sentiments et vceux de 

votre tout devoue 

Pau Casals. 

in. The University: Teacher and examiner 

Ernest Walker's activities and interests during these 
years were by no means confined to Balliol. In Oxford he 
was a well-known figure and had a strong guiding influence 
in the development of music. He was greatly in demand as a 



60 music 1887-1900 

pianist and accompanist at the Public Subscription Con- 
certs, the Oxford University Musical Club, and the Ladies' 
Musical Society. He was an influential member of the 
Committees of the Subscription Concerts, the Bach Choir, 
and the Musical Club, and to the affairs of the last he 
devoted much time and attention. He was its President on 
more than one occasion and for twenty years acted as 
Librarian. He went daily to read the Library entries and 
did all the labelling and the issuing of notices when books 
were not returned punctually. There was an occasion when 
a member had taken a volume out of another member's 
room without entering his name in the Library register; all 
that was known of the man who had purloined the book 
was that he wore a college tie. Walker wrote personal notes 
to the fifteen men of that college who were members of the 
Musical Club explaining the situation. Fourteen wrote 
back indignantly protesting letters and the book was 
at once returned anonymously. There were storms of 
applause when Walker reported the incident in a speech 
to the general meeting. 

In 1 9 1 8 he catalogued the Nash Library single-handed, 
at a time when it was temporarily stored in Taphouse's 
upper room, the Army Medical Service having taken over 
the Holywell Music Room. He dealt with every book and 
all the sheet music. 

At the head of every page in the Club Register he wrote 
in bold letters, 'The attention of borrowers is called to the 
rules to be obeyed by them'. There are many entries of 
music taken out by H. P. Allen and put back by Ernest 
Walker; music was lost and found in unexpected places; in 



the university: teacher and examiner 6i 

college rooms, or organ-lofts, and once in the middle of the 
road near Wallingford. 

During Walker's life-time a great change came over the 
position of music in the University and the official attitude 
towards it. When Walker came up and for many years after- 
wards, residence was not required for the B.Mus. degree. 
The candidate came to Oxford to do some papers in music 
and an 'additional subject', which was usually a modern 
language. It was not till 1927 that residence was demanded, 
and later still that a B.Mus. was required to be a B.A. as 
well, though the two examinations could be dove-tailed. 
Similarly for a long time the tuition and examinations in 
music were under the control of a Board of Studies, and it 
was not till 1 945 that the Faculty of Music was established 
with an independent position alongside the other Faculties. 

From the first Walker was eager to improve the position 
of music, the regulations for the examinations, and the 
organization of teaching. For long there was opposition not 
only from outside, but from fellow musicians. But Walker 
received strong support when in 1901 H. P. Allen was 
appointed Organist of New College. The two men were of 
very different temperaments, but they had the same aims as 
regards the status of music in the University. Walker's 
reviews always reflect his warm appreciation of Allen's 
organ recitals, their interesting choice of works, and speak 
of his growing reputation as a choral and orchestral con- 
ductor. 

Walker's fine musicianship and professional standards 
and Allen's dominating personality made a strong com- 
bination which could secure for the study of music a notable 



62 music i 8 8 7-1 900 

place in the University. Between them great things were 
achieved. How much the smooth working of this combina- 
tion was due to Ernest Walker's fortitude is best left un- 
estimated. In 1 9 1 8 Allen was appointed Heather Professor 
of Music at Oxford and nominated Walker as Choragus for 
the next four years; till then it had been a life appointment 
but Allen expressed a wish that it should be held by dif- 
ferent Oxford musicians for a few years at a time. 

Allen had a great admiration for Walker and often spoke 
to other musicians in terms which showed that he was fully 
aware of his great gifts of musicianship and character; 
he noticeably deferred to Walker's opinion in meetings 
of the Board of Studies and of the Faculty of Music. But 
Allen was brusque and had a strain of the bully in him 
strangely mingled with a deep but sometimes autocratic 
kindness; his 'unmerciful ragging' was always at its worst 
with Oxford artists more sensitive and distinguished than 
himself. During the long years of co-operation there were 
no doubt many unblemished memories, yet in his last 
mellower years Allen often regretted what he realized to 
have been something like cruelty to his colleagues, and 
when, in 1 942, the Cobbett Gold Medal of the Worshipful 
Company of Musicians was conferred on Walker, Sir Hugh 
was frankly anxious to make the presentation particularly 
festive, and no doubt his influence had counted in making 
the award. He stressed that on this occasion the medal had 
been won three times over ; it could be awarded for the com- 
position of chamber music, or the performance of it, or the 
arranging of concerts. And here, in Ernest Walker's case, 
there were ample qualifications under each heading. The 



the university: teacher and examiner 63 

presentation of the medal by the Grand Master, Sir Stanley 
Marchant, took place at a New College tea-party. It was 
simple, friendly, and much enjoyed. In telling about it 
Ernest Walker was tranquil and serene, Sir Hugh bluster- 
ingly enthusiastic. To both men it had been a pleasurable 
event. 

Up to the end of the summer term of 19 14 concerts 
prospered as usual and Walker was always their heart and 
soul. And then in August came the sudden change. Walker 
went out of his way to find war work he could undertake 
usefully. At one time he gave five to six hours a day to 
National Registration; the entire female population of 
Oxford passed through his hands. Mecelias, Didos, and 
Junos were common in the St. Barnabas district, but Terp- 
sichore Dorcas Chinchan Ubinger was the prize find among 
names ! 

There was an odd episode in July 1 9 1 8 : Walker was 
summoned to attend for military medical inspection, was 
given two shillings and told to await further orders. Nothing 
more happened; however, he enjoyed the joke that having 
been accepted and having never been dismissed, he re- 
mained a member of the army even in old age. 

His real contribution to the war effort was to uphold 
music and maintain a sane and balanced outlook. From 
1 9 14-18 Walker kept the Balliol Concerts in being with 
the help of musical cadets and local talent. Drawing mainly 
on hisown resources he provided music on Sunday evenings, 
soldiers forming the bulk of his audiences. At many con- 
certs German music was banned; but Walker often played 
his own piano version of the wonderful epilogue of Richard 



64 MUSIC 1887-I9OO 

Strauss's Don Quixote, both at Balliol and at girls' schools, 
and he included a Reger Memorial at one concert making a 
short speech on the death of the great composer in Germany 
and playing some of his music. The soldiers applauded 
warmly. This Balliol Concert may perhaps have been the 
only token of respect paid to Reger's musicianship in Eng- 
land in 191 6. 

As soon as Walker had gained his doctorate (Nov. 1898) 
Stainer put down his name as one of the teachers for the 
University, but for years this was purely formal. Later he 
was, of course, one of the regular tutors. At one time he 
had a good many piano pupils but his heart was more in his 
harmony teaching. There he tried to carry out Stanford's 
ideal of doing strict exercises and free composition side 
by side, allowing an unusual degree of freedom in the 
free, but rigorously avoiding the mixing of styles. He 
was glad to accept Parratt's decision that he was to handle 
the subject of harmony liberally, for he had little use for 
prolonged drill in rigid counterpoint. 

The teaching of harmony slowly increased and genera- 
tions of young musicians in their impressionable years came 
under Walker's unobtrusive influence. It was not so much 
that they shared his enthusiasm but that they came to adopt 
his approach to music. He had so high a sense of artistic 
integrity and professional standard because he was more 
of an artist than a craftsman and he certainly made known 
to many what a sensitive musician can do with music. Some 
pupils remembered 'the alert mind and nimble wit' and his 
self-forgetting interest in their problems. Others recalled 
how he would dash to any other room in the house and 



the university: teacher and examiner 6$ 

would return almost at once with a book that contained 
some passage illuminating the discussion. He tried hard 
to move the burdened plodder away from conscientious 
struggles, into habits of grasping essentials and living on 
the enjoyment of a personal outlook to each work of art. He 
himself was rapid in discovering the most beautiful and tel- 
ling pages in a work, and he would be frankly surprised to 
find a pupil ploughing stolidly ahead from page one, before 
taking the bearings of the composition or book. He taught 
many to make intelligent use of an index, to let the habit of 
glancing at the general character of a composition or book 
precede the reading of it. He always caused pupils to take 
note of the words before plunging into the music of a song; 
he would warn against wasting too much time on com- 
pleteness especially in editions of minor men ('for most of 
us life is too short for them'), and would deprecate the un- 
critical catalogue outlook that merely accumulates facts. 
His idea was to make his pupils self-reliant in discovering 
what sounded well. 

The character and influence of his teaching have been 
described by several of his pupils. Dr. Thomas Armstrong 
in the Musical Times for March 1 949 wrote : 

Walker's influence as a teacher was largely dependent upon his 
work as an artist. He had been brought up in a time of strict prin- 
ciples, and was by nature a sceptic, who submitted all the accepted 
rules to a highly critical examination. His experience as a practical 
musician had given him immense respect for the classical tradition, 
as a living art, with its own contemporary masters and obligations. 
Modern practices with him had to be tested with respect to classical 
tradition, classical principles had to be interpreted in the light of 

B.1056 F 



66 music i 8 8 7-1 900 

modern achievements. Any 'rule' had to show its credentials before 
gaining admittance. Walker was admittedly a better teacher for the 
gifted man than for the dull one. 

Walker never bluffed, and was deeply musical, and this made him 
specially effective with the sensitive, sceptical, or rebellious type of 
young man. There were not a few of this kind who found, like 
Philip Heseltine, a sympathetic understanding in Walker which 
they did not find elsewhere. And it was to Walker that many of 
them returned again and again in after years to renew old enthusiasms 
and to seek fresh guidance. 

A more intimate sketch is given in a letter from Professor 
W. K. Stanton: 

I got to know Ernest Walker in my first fortnight in Oxford. He 
had heard of me through a mutual friend, and took early oppor- 
tunity of asking me to his house. I confess that, as a raw stripling, 
I was not a little alarmed at the prospect of 'the a deux' — but he soon 
dispelled my fears by his welcome and friendly greeting. At that time, 
Oxford did not recognize those poor creatures who wished to read 
music seriously; consequently the University arranged no instruc- 
tion for musical degrees: but, later on, provision was made, and I 
became Walker's pupil. 

To be taught by him was a privilege. I remember so well his 
insistence on standards: his impeccable taste: his anger at anything 
shoddy: his sense of fun. There was always a kindly toleration for 
our inexperience: a gentleness in his criticism of our excursions 
(probably very hazardous) into what was then up-to-date harmonic 
fashion, but which is now long obsolete. 

Above all I remember his unfailing kindness to young under- 
graduates like myself: and his eager discussion of interesting points 
about the music we had heard at concerts. I met him one day, the 
day after a recital by Harold Bauer, and asked him what he had 
thought of the performance. He was obviously very much impressed 
by Bauer's sensitive pedalling — and said, 'My dear Stanton, the tone 



the university: teacher and examiner 67 

he gets with his feet' ! His excitement was expressed both visibly and 
audibly. 

But Walker's interest did not end when the young undergraduate 
proceeded to a degree and departed from Oxford. On the contrary, 
it never flagged, and in my case the friendship formed in 1909 con- 
tinued till his death. He was a fine teacher, one of the most sensitive 
musicians I have known, and a real friend. 

Before examinations Walker would invite pupils to a 
race in copying music; he himself could cover ground very 
quickly and he emphasized the advantage of speed for ex- 
aminations. He remembered how he did not manage to get 
his own answers completely copied in his B.Mus. examina- 
tion before Parry, who was examining, put out a large hand 
and confiscated the unfinished paper. 

With pupils who were not essentially musical Walker 
was very patient and kind, but he might find it difficult to 
see what it was that befogged them; he was almost too 
generous in considering some of their blunders a mere 'slip 
of the pen'. 

A list of Walker's pupils would be a very long one, includ- 
ing in fact all who read for musical degrees in the years 
when he was teaching. Perhaps the most famous was 
William Walton, but in his undergraduate days at Christ 
Church he was rather unapproachable, almost resenting 
help and neither Allen nor Walker nor anyone else guessed 
to what lengths he would go. A few other names may be 
chosen almost at random: Adrian Boult, Thomas Arm- 
strong, Reginald Jacques, William Harris, H. G. Ley, 
William McKie, Frank Howes, Victor Hely-Hutchinson, 
Trevor Harvey, Sydney Watson, Sidney Newman. 



68 music i 8 87-1 900 

Two of his private pupils were Graham Peel and Ernest 
Frankel. With Peel an intimate friendship was formed; he 
was a shy, attractive undergraduate at University College, 
very gentle, tall and fair, with lots of polish of manner. 

All Peel's earlier songs were shown to Walker and the 
half pedalling in 'Bredon Hill' was his suggestion. Peel's 
songs and settings, particularly his 'Twa Sisters of Bin- 
norie' were often sung at Balliol by Campbell Mclnnes, 
and Walker enjoyed the piano accompaniment that allowed 
his soft harp effect, a quick arpeggio ending in clenching 
the fist. He also remembered many happy visits to the home 
that Mclnnes and Peel shared. 

Walker had a warm regard for Ernest Frankel, who 
besides reading for Modern Greats found time for serious 
music and became president of the Oxford University 
Musical Club. After leaving Trinity College he came from 
London to 28 St. Margaret's Road about once a fortnight 
for composition lessons and discussions. These talks re- 
mained confined to music but none the less a great friend- 
ship was formed; Frankel developed a considerable 
technique in miniature work, and, at Walker's suggestion, 
the Oxford University Press published one of his settings 
of Elizabethan lyrics — delicate, sensitive musically and 
harmonically, under the influence of Delius. His death 
(when killed at the head of his men in Africa) was a very 
great blow to Walker. Mrs. Frankel wrote of her son : 'He 
was very grateful to you and always looked so happy when 
he spoke of you.' 

Besides his teaching Walker acted again and again as 
examiner for the musical degrees. To this work he gave the 



the university: teacher and examiner 69 

same meticulous care and attention as he did to all his other 
work, and his insistence sometimes caused some irritation 
to his fellow examiners, especially to Parry. 

I only met Sir Hubert once, when I sat next to him at 
a small party; he came in after we had begun dinner 
descending upon us like a whirlwind. He had been de- 
tained, examining students, and he blustered out 'it was 
a dreadful thing to do, examining all day, and Ernest 
Walker was there, insisting that enough time must be given 
to each candidate. Every one of them should be asked for a 
scale first, to settle in nerves and so on — he is quite right 
about it,' Parry added, with a smile, 'but heavens the fag for 
the examiner.' 

Years later I discovered that Walker was generally known 
for avoiding the scamping of fag; he was consistently true 
to his own standard, and struggled as much as possible 
against mechanical marking and mass work. In an examina- 
tion he would always collect the rough notes as well as the 
papers in case they might cast light on the candidates' ideas. 

Many University examiners were content to take prob- 
lems from some out-of-the-way published work hoping the 
candidate would not recognize them. But Walker countered 
this way of doing things wherever he could and in his own 
setting of advanced contrapuntal and harmonic problems 
he invariably composed all details himself; he realized that 
the candidate would be hampered if he knew the work and 
tried to avoid following it; and supposing he should fill in 
the original solution, how was an examiner to mark that? 

Something may be said here about Walker's examining 
work outside the University. As has been seen, Farmer 



70 music 1887-1900 

had introduced him to examining and inspection in girls' 
schools. After Farmer's death in 1901, the Girls' Public 
Day School Trust formed a Music Advisory Board to carry 
on the work of inspection. The Clergy Daughters' School 
at Casterton continued under Walker the annual inspection 
Farmer had begun. Often, after examining from 9 to 12.30, 
Walker would play to the girls for half an hour before lunch, 
increasing their opportunities of hearing and knowing good 
music. One headmistress wrote to the Council about 
Walker's unforgettable kindness to the children. Another 
headmistress told of her dread of the music examination for 
a highly strung girl, and how Walker had chatted for ten 
minutes till all nervous strain had been forgotten and the 
honours that were deserved were gained. 

It used to be said that Walker knew more about the 
girls' schools of the country than any man living. In an 
Oxford 'Locals' paper that he was correcting he found to 
his delight the pleasing remark 'Haydn thought Beethoven 
a gruesome pupil because he was always asking why' — but 
(as a fact) he himself welcomed a pupil's why. His plan 
of teaching pupils together added zest to discussion 
and he would group them in twos and threes, or take them 
alone, as he thought best for them, completely prodigal 
of his own time. 

He also examined for the University of Birmingham and 
elsewhere. When Donald Tovey became Reid Professor of 
Music at Edinburgh in 19 14 he wrote to ask Walker to 
assist him as external examiner for the musical degrees: 

It would be the greatest possible help and relief to me if you could 
do this; I don't like the plan by which the professor does it all him- 



the university: teacher and examiner 71 

self and examines his own pupils and you are the only man I can 
think of who has the necessary independence of English Musical 
Vested Interests. 

In a later letter Tovey sketches what he wishes to do : 

There are features I wish to get rid of sooner or later; they may 
be all classed as superfluous turnstiles. The Rhetoric and English 
Literature paper is a poor affair, and I hope I should be ploughed in 
Acoustics and Focal Physiology on both of which subjects I am dis- 
coursing quite glibly. Also the Preliminary (which doesn't concern 
us here) exacts two modern languages in all cases — which seems to 
me to discourage that desirable character the musician who is 
interested in 'classics' of which there are cases! 

The result was acceptance and many happy visits to Edin- 
burgh. Walker discovered the manuscript of the Lyke 
Wake Dirge, haphazardly left among music on the shelves 
at the Toveys' house in Royal Terrace. He saw in it one 
of Toveys' masterpieces and insisted on having it sent to 
the Oxford University Press. His enthusiasm infected my 
family and led to its first hearing at our house when Donald 
was in Oxford for his Romanes Lecture. 

Soon after Sir Hugh Allen went to the Royal College of 
Music as Director, he invited Walker to be the external 
examiner for the annual pianoforte competition. By this 
time Walker had developed a considerable technique in 
arriving at a verdict, marking under definite headings, for 
pedalling, for touch, for accuracy, for rhythm, and so on, 
and last, but not least, for general impression. It was always 
intelligent sensitive playing that he chose for distinction ; 
mere brilliance, however flashing, had little chance with 
him. And there were, in consequence, surprises in the 



72 MUSIC 1887-I9OO 

awards. Sir Hugh, as a rule, agreed with Walker's verdict, 
and characteristically applauded an examiner 'who took a 
great deal of trouble and did not care a damn for what others 
might say!' After Sir Hugh's resignation when Sir George 
Dyson offered the awarding of the big prizes, Walker re- 
fused reappointment. He dreaded he might be too tired, 
after a long day of listening to candidates playing, to read 
through the manuscripts and scores which were included in 
the competition for the Leverhulme Prize. Weighing the 
relative merits of a solo flute or a conductor against the 
claims of a thesis or composition seemed to Walker too 
much to ask of any examiner. There was no one to check 
decisions, and great fatigue induced a yearning for sleep. 

Years later Walker often surprised and delighted per- 
formers at the Oxford Ladies Musical Concerts and similar 
events, by calling to mind details of the occasion when they 
gained the Hopkins or Chappell, or Blumenthal or Challen 
prizes, or the Clementi Exhibition or Leverhulme Scholar- 
ship. He might remember what compositions had been 
played and other details, and the artists would enjoy having 
their reminiscences refreshed. 

Examining thus played a large part in Walker's life and 
took up much of his time. It involved drudgery of course, 
but the genuine interest which he took in the individual 
candidates — especially when the examination included 
interviews and not merely paper work — often converted it 
into pleasure. 



4. Oxford and Elsewhere 
1900-1925 

These twenty-five years were perhaps the high-water 
mark of Ernest Walker's career. He was now a Doctor 
of Music and had an ever-growing fame as pianist, 
composer, and writer on musical subjects. Balliol after 
Farmer's death had appointed him as Organist and Director 
of Music, and he was raising the standard and the reputa- 
tion of the Sunday Concerts. They were years full of work 
and responsibility and of genuine happiness for himself. 

One significant change took place very soon in his domes- 
tic habits. In 1 90 1 his father died and it was an obvious duty 
then to found a home for his mother. The lodgings in 1 5 
Ship Street were given up and the lease of a house was 
bought. The isolation of the Anerley home became a thing 
of the past; 28 St. Margaret's Road provided scope for 
Mrs. Walker's occupations and a place where Ernest lived 
his own life as far as work and interests were concerned. 

He had great respect for the personality of others and no 
wish to interfere in a sphere that was not his. He and his 
mother had few interests in common but his amiability 
made the household a happy one. The quiet understanding 
that had existed between father and son had been more 
intimate and complete. Mrs. Walker enjoyed giving tea- 
parties and oyster-patty lunches to undergraduates; her 
taste dictated the arrangement of the house and its furnish- 
ing, and with great optimism she dismissed her companions 



74 OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO-I925 

and maids and found new ones. Shortly before her death in 
1 9 1 o she welcomed a niece from New Zealand, Ida Cooper, 
who shared the home for some time. Many friends will re- 
call Walker's study at the back of the house, the big Bech- 
stein Grand, the tidy writing-table in the window that 
looked out on the garden, the shelves with double rows of 
books, the arm-chair, and the welcoming gesture beckoning 
a caller to a seat. Often on the hearth-rug, sometimes oust- 
ing him from his own easy chair, Nigger and Peter would 
lie asleep, paw in paw, merged into one indistinguishable 
mass of sleek black cat-fur. Life that had always been most 
vivid for Ernest in things of the spirit became even more 
completely centred upon them. A quiet routine was con- 
genial and he exercised self-discipline in undertaking no 
more than he could manage without a sense of being 
driven. 

To fulfil his daily duties as organist of Balliol he worked 
out the exact time for the morning walk to play at the eight 
o'clock Chapel service. Arrangements for the weekly Sun- 
day evening concerts were made with all his care for detail, 
the timing, the correct printing of programmes, the artists' 
travel and reception. The Balliol Concerts had acquired 
their reputation for distinction and meant much not only 
for the college and the University, but for the artists who 
played and for music-lovers in Oxford and beyond it. 
There must have been hardiness in Ernest Walker as well 
as wise management of health for, in thirty-eight years of 
service for Balliol, he only cancelled his own co-operation 
at one Sunday concert. On that occasion he asked me to 
accompany Erna Schulz's violin. 



OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO-I925 75 

After Jowett's death there was no longer the impressive 
sight of the Master's procession at the beginning of a con- 
cert. Caird, who succeeded Jowett, was not himself musical, 
but his keen intellectual intuition enabled him to value 
music as one approach to truth and he would say that with- 
out understanding it, he could realize what was happening 
when great music was performed. Strachan-Davidson, who 
followed Caird in 1 905, also realized the importance of the 
concerts and not infrequently came himself, especially if 
there were some work by Mozart or Haydn on the pro- 
gramme and he could follow the tune of a 'pleasing jig'. 
His death in 1916 was a great loss not only to Walker 
personally but to his work. Neither A. L. Smith nor his 
family cared for music and they hardly ever appeared at the 
concerts. The majority of the Senior Common Room were 
keen supporters and would troop in just before the concert 
began and occupy the seats reserved for them in the front. 
The Hall meanwhile was packed with undergraduates from 
all over the University and other guests, and often even 
the window-sills were used as impromptu seats. Walker's 
direction had raised the Balliol Concerts to the position of 
one of the great events of the week. 

The Musical Society was well supported financially by 
members of the college and some generous gifts from out- 
side, and this gave Walker the chance of engaging many of 
the famous artists whom he had come across at concerts in 
London and elsewhere, many of them feeling that — even if 
the fees were slender — an appearance at Balliol was a privi- 
lege. He was also always ready to give a chance to a young 
artist starting on his career, and many afterwards famous 



j6 OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO— I925 

made their debut at Balliol. It would be tedious to attempt 
to name those who took part in the concerts during Walker's 
regime, but the mention of even a few introduces one at 
once to a wide world of music. Among singers there were 
Plunket Greene, David Bispham, Gervase Elwes, Camp- 
bell Mclnncs, Steuart Wilson, Marie Fillunger, and 
Dorothy Silk; pianists included Fanny Davies, Leonard 
Borwick, and Donald Tovey; and instrumentalists Robert 
Hausmann, Adolf Busch, Marie Soldat, Adila and Jelly 
d'Aranyi, Alfred Gibson, and Lionel Tertis. 

One outstanding concert, though it strictly belongs to 
an earlier period, must be mentioned here. On 8 March 
1896 Joseph Joachim played at Balliol. Once before at a 
Sheldonian Concert Ernest had accompanied him in Tar- 
tini's Devil's Trill ; now Ernest was on the crest of his form. 
The review spoke of 'Joachim's incomparable verve and 
insight which seemed contagious to his fellow-performers, 
especially was this true of Mr. Walker'. But more valued 
were the words reported by his nephew Harold, which 
Ernest wrote on a slip of paper. In answer to someone's 
remark that he had never heard him play the G major 
Brahms more beautifully, old Joachim had said, 'Yes, but 
then look how the piano part was played'. In 1948 this 
slip dropped out of an old letter I myself was reading to 
Dr. Walker; Joachim had written to him in appreciation 
of the sonata performance and ended his note 'and your 
accompaniment of the Hungarian Dances could not have 
been more perfect, as I felt I could do just as I liked'. 
Walker's face glowed with pleasure and modest pride as he 
recalled this concert more than fifty years later. 



OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO-I925 77 

The affairs of the Musical Society were administered by 
an undergraduate committee with a don as Chairman. Dur- 
ing the whole of Walker's time the Chairman was A. W. 
Pickard-Cambridge; among the many successive secre- 
taries was William Temple. The committee were respon- 
sible for finance and general arrangements, and often at its 
meetings the members would make suggestions as to artists 
and music, but it was an understood thing that the final 
choice rested entirely with the Director. An inspection of 
the programmes of the twenty-five years would show how 
incomparably well he performed his task. 

So within the scope of what the Society could afford his 
judgement was unhampered. It was difficult to get artists 
to give time for special study for Balliol Concerts, and the 
choice of items for the programmes had to be restricted, in 
most cases, to their existing repertoire. Still a wide range 
of composers was drawn upon. By his own performance 
Walker secured the first public hearing in England of 
Brahms op. 117 and the E flat Rhapsody, op. 119, and 
Scriabine's pianoforte solos and some Debussy. His ren- 
dering of La Cathedrale engloutie soon after its publication 
was remembered for its sensitive pianism and imaginative- 
ness. 

Walker enjoyed occasionally stealing, by twenty-four 
hours, a friendly march on the Monday 'Pops'. The Press 
gave credit to London as the Balliol Invitation Concerts 
usually admitted no reporters, but those in the know were 
aware that Balliol had in fact got in first. Artists felt stimu- 
lated to offer out-of-the-way works: the Cesar Franck 
Violin Sonata was played when hardly anyone knew it; 



78 OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO— I925 

Bispham and Agnes Nicholls sang newly published Strauss, 

and Gervase Elwes introduced Josef Marx songs. Marie 

Fillunger sang the whole cantata of Bach 'Ich bin ver- 
ts o 

gniigt', as likely as not a first performance in England; 
Walker's rendering of the C sharp minor Prelude of Rach- 
maninov, as well as Reger's 'Aus meinem Tagebuch' must 
have been among the first. Not infrequently he gave a per- 
formance of some new work, especially if it were by a 
member of the college. 

It was a tradition that the concert should end with a hymn 
or chorale, sung by the audience. Walker would himself 
have wished to abandon it, but he found that feeling for its 
retention was strong and added on the programme the name 
of the composer of the tune, thus bringing it into line with 
the rest of the music performed. 

Besides the professional artists there were in those years 
Balliol undergraduates of exceptional musical talent whom 
Walker asked from time to time to take part in the con- 
certs. Many of them afterwards became known as per- 
formers, composers, or writers. Two stand out above the 
rest. F. S. Kelly was an Australian who had been educated 
at Eton and came up to Balliol in 1 8 9 9 as the second Nettle- 
ship Scholar in Music. He was a great oarsman, rowed 
in the University boat and for Leander in the Grand Chal- 
lenge Cup, and held the unique record of winning the Dia- 
mond Sculls three times. But music had the first place in his 
interest and he soon made his mark both as a pianist and a 
composer; his last published composition was an elegy for 
string orchestra dedicated to Rupert Brooke and composed 
in the trenches at Gallipoli. He was killed in France in 1 9 1 6. 



OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO-I925 79 

Walker had not only a great liking for him, but a strong 
belief in his promise for the future. 

Of far more importance for Ernest Walker was the ad- 
vent in 1 894 of the first Nettleship Scholar, Donald Francis 
Tovey, who was to be his close friend till his death. The 
Scholarship had been founded as a memorial to Nettleship 
by his friends, with a view to giving a musician the oppor- 
tunity of a University education; the Scholar was required 
to read for Honours in a Final Honour School. Tovey read 
for Greats and, like Walker himself, had a natural aptitude 
for philosophy. Just as Walker fell under the influence of 
Nettleship, so did Tovey under that of Edward Caird, the 
Master. Tovey's education had been private — his father 
was a former Eton master — and he was already a proficient 
pianist and had composed. Walker lost no time in making 
the new scholar's acquaintance. Tovey was lodged over the 
lecture room, on the first floor, in the corner of the front 
quad at Balliol. When Ernest climbed the stairs to pay his 
first call on the new Nettleship Scholar he had no idea what 
a happy surprise was in store for him; neither Parratt nor 
Farmer had proclaimed Tovey's gifts, and here was an 
undergraduate, steeped in the music that Ernest loved best, 
a ripe musician who had nothing in common with other 
undergraduates except his age. An artists' friendship that 
lasted a lifetime was then begun. Walker has given a living 
picture of Tovey in an obituary article written for the 
Monthly Musical Record and reprinted as a preface to the 
posthumous publication of Tovey's essays — an admirable 
description, giving a true and concise portrait of the man. 
Besides talk and music at Balliol there were visits to 



8o OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO— I925 

Northlands, Tovey's home near Egham, when Tovey 
offered Walker a volume of the Bach-Gesellschaft as a bed- 
side book. Once at Balliol when Tovey missed roll-call, 
Walker went up at about ten o'clock to see what had hap- 
pened. He found him fast asleep with his bed strewn 
with Bach-Geselhchaft volumes. Work achieved and work 
planned formed the main substance of their talk and Walker 
was much interested in a treatise on Aesthetics that Tovey 
never finished and in compositions that remained frag- 
ments. The two friends had a high regard for and close 
knowledge of each other's works. Tovey dedicated his 
Balliol Dances for pianoforte duet to Ernest Walker and 
F. S. Kelly, inscribing Ernest's copy 'with Balliolesque ad- 
miration and affection'. But with Tovey's elusiveness and 
Walker's reserve there remained an element of aloofness. 

A letter written to Walker by Tovey on the death of 
Walker's father in 1901 shows both his feeling and his 
shyness: 

I hope you will let me offer you my deep sympathy; such as can 
come from one who has not as yet had any experience so great 
and sad. 

I know, however, what my own father is to me, and believe that 
the more one is alive to such a loss the sooner the time will come 
when memory of what one has possessed and been influenced by, 
will prove a greater comfort than it ever was a grief: at least, if there 
is anything human and good in what people call time's remedies. 

You would not like me to try and say more than is within my 
depth, so I will go no further now. 

I wish Nettleship were alive to write to you. However you still 
have, more than most men, friends who have some of his power 
and sympathy; and you will have more help from them and from 



OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO— I925 8l 

your own resources in supporting this than often falls to people at 
such times. 

You must take this for a great deal more than its words are worth, 
or you will do me an injustice. It doesn't represent my sympathy, 
but I can't say the real things simply. 

Another letter in 1902 asking for a testimonial illus- 
trates Tovey's rather tortuous sense of humour: 

Dear Walker, 

Like the microcephalous (don't know how to spell it) kangaroo 
up a gum-tree that I am, I forgot to mention before that I should 
immensely value (as you well know without my mentioning it but 
might draw the wrong inference from my not so doing) your moral 
and material support in the shape of a testimonial from you as repre- 
senting the musical authority both of your musicianship intrinsically 
and of our College, in the matter of this London Professorship for 
which I, with no prospect of the getting thereof but simply and 
solely with a view of bringing myself before the Powers that Be as one 
that seeks things of the kind and would like that fact known in case 
something ever at any future period however remote might turn up, 
am standing. 

(This would make a beautiful sentence translated into German 
with all the verbs at the end in ascending order of importance.) 

If you could be an angel and give me a word (at Englefield 
Green) that I could send to the people so that they got it on Friday 
morning I should be ever grateful. 

I am ever yours, 
D. F. T. 

P.S. Please remember me very kindly to Mrs. Walker. 

An article on the Art of Playing Beethoven on the Harmonium 
will follow shortly. 

Walker replied with a brief testimonial, which shows his 
sense of Tovey's high achievement: 

B.1056 G 



82 OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO-I925 

Apart from his very remarkable gifts as pianist and as composer, 
he possesses an all-round knowledge of music which is not only of 
immense range but also of the most exceptional depth and critical 
thoroughness; and he has further a great power of lucid and enthusi- 
astic exposition. I find it in fact difficult to express in adequate words 
my opinion of his musical attainments. 

Ernest Walker, 

M.A. D.Mus. Oxon. 
Director of Music, 
Balliol College, Oxford. 

Towards the end of 1 9 1 2 a crisis occurred in Walker's 
life, which led to a change in his relation to the college. As 
has been seen in the diaries there had been a general 
broadening of religious ideas verging towards a pure spiri- 
tual theism. And later on, by imperceptible stages further 
mental development led to a settled outlook of philo- 
sophical, agnostic humanism. Nevertheless, he had not 
thought hitherto that there was any inconsistency in the 
performance of the duties of organist at the Chapel services 
by one who held his views. He regarded his duties as purely 
musical: 'I could not instruct choir-boys to repeat confes- 
sions and creeds decently and in order ; still less could I con- 
sent to any fetters on word or action. But as it is, I have none 
but musical functions : and no constraint, direct or indirect, 
has ever been laid upon me.' But now the wife of a friend of 
his went so far as to accuse him of dishonesty. Walker's 
conscience was much disturbed, and he wrote to J. A. 
Smith, then Waynflete Professor of Philosophy and Fellow 
of Magdalen, to ask his advice. Smith entered with sym- 
pathy into the doubts and scruples that were worrying 



OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO-I925 83 

Walker. In a characteristic letter he gives a considered 
opinion: 

As I understand, no conditions of any profession of belief are 
attached to your holding the position of organist, nor can your 
opinions in any way affect the proper fulfilment of your duties. 
That being so, I think no obligation rests upon you to make an 
unasked disclosure of them, or indeed to do otherwise than to decline 
to enter upon discussion of them unless it was made an express 
condition. The matter is thus in my view one solely for your own 
decision and it is a question as you say of what your conscience will 
stand. I think it would be different if you engaged in any overt 
propaganda, but that is not the case. 

Saying he did not think that there could be any objection 
to his continuing and that the friends whose opinion should 
be respected would share this view, he adds : 

Whichever way you decide I should think equally consistent 
with honour and honesty. . . . More than a conscientious decision 
no one has any right to ask for, and that I know you have made. 
I see no reason why you should alter it. I should almost go further. 
You are happily able to make your choice without the intrusion of 
pecuniary interests or family responsibilities. Others may not be so 
fortunately placed. To decide otherwise might, in spite of the sacrifice, 
involve a certain flavour of self-indulgence and so unfairly add to the 
burden upon the consciences of others. It is perhaps easier for me now 
to put these considerations before you just because I myself have in 
late years moved away from old ground to a position where I feel 
less repugnance to conformity and co-operation with those who are 
more conservative than myself. I am no longer so irritated or 
alienated by differences, so to speak, of dialect, and certainly I feel 
much less inclined to criticize conventional or antiquated forms. It 
is not that I can personally make much use of them but that I am 



84 OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO— I925 

more tolerant of differences of expression. Thus to myself the ques- 
tion of compromise is no longer so pressing and I am not so ready as 
of old to suspect dishonesty in others. 

That is enough about myself. I have said so much because in a 
certain way I feel I may give slightly more weight to my opinion. 

Ernest Walker's answer to J. A. Smith's argument could 
be found in his essay on 'Free Thought and the Musician' : 
'We need not be over-pedantically anxious to clear our lips 
of convenient and now conventionally meaningless forms of 
speech. But the proviso is that we must (and it is not always 
so very easy) make perfectly sure that these forms of speech 
really do not mean anything to anybody.' 

Walker decided that he could not continue in an ambigu- 
ous position and in January 1 9 1 3 he wrote to the Master, 
Strachan-Davidson, resigning the organistship: 'my only 
reason being that I have come to the conclusion that my 
religious opinions are not compatible with the discharge of 
the Chapel duties'. He at the same time expressed the hope 
that he might retain the direction of the concerts. The Col- 
lege accepted his resignation with great regret. The Master 
wrote : 

I associate myself heartily with the Fellows in regretting the 
loosening in any way of the ties which connect you with the College 
and its music — but if it must be so, it must. Meanwhile I hope that 
you will hold fast to the care of the Sunday concerts and the general 
supervision of musical studies in this College with the title of 
'Director of Music'. . . . We all feel that the College owes you 
much for all the care you have bestowed on its interests in this 
matter, both before and after Farmer's death, and hope that you may 
long continue to help us. 



OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO— I925 85 

An undergraduate, N. F. Smith, took over the duty of play- 
ing in Chapel, and since that time the College has always 
appointed an undergraduate organist. The resignation had 
been a great wrench to Walker and involved some financial 
loss, but he was helped by the understanding sympathy of 
the Master and Fellows, especially of the chaplain, the Rev. 
H. H. Gibbon. 

After the first war the Musical Society decided to pay 
full fees for the sake of the artists and because it was felt 
to be unfair to those who promoted concerts in the town to 
ask the artists to perform for a lesser sum at Balliol. 

This decision was far-reaching. In earlier days great 
artists had played for the privilege and a pittance ; a less per- 
sonal approach to them was adopted now. But Walker 
agreed that the decision was right. 

The war over, the concerts resumed their old character 
and vigour, and Walker threw himself into their revival 
with all his old enthusiasm. In May 1925 after twenty-five 
years' service as Director of Music and thirty-eight since he 
first took part in the college concerts, Walker felt that he 
wished to devote himself more to his work as a composer 
and writer, and wrote to the Master, then A. D. Lindsay, 
to resign his official position : 

I shall hope always to retain my personal connexion with Balliol, 
and shall always be glad, if it should be wished, to take part in its 
music: but I should like to return to the irresponsibilities of the 
earliest of my thirty-eight years of College life. 

Walker wrote personal letters to all artists who had 
helped in his concerts. Their answers were among the 



86 OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO— I925 

letters and reviews I read to him in his old age, when we 
substituted reminiscences for backgammon in the last half- 
hour before bedtime. These replies reflect 'dismay' and 
'concern'. A few quotations from them will show the estima- 
tion in which he was held. Myra Hess condoled 'with Balliol 
and all artists who have performed there under your care. 
You always made it so enjoyable.' 
Cedric Glover wrote: 

Norman Smith was with me when I heard of your resignation, 
we were both quite stunned and had always thought of you as there 
for ever. I am afraid it will be a sad blow for the College music, your 
position was so emphatically a personal matter — had it not been for 
your friends and connections with the outside world there could 
have been no Balliol concerts. 

One of his oldest friends Cecilia Gates said : 

Thank you for writing yourself and not letting me hear this in a 
roundabout way. I don't think I would have believed it. I am sad 
about it — remembering away back so many years to good old John 
Farmer's time, with his pride in you and chaff over ' Walkerisms' 
and the 'Gabri' evenings and your viola variations and other count- 
less lovely times. For all these warm thanks and gratitude. 

From Dorothea Webb: 

I felt we had never had a more perfect ensemble. It made me feel 
completely at my ease. Thank you also for the careful rehearsing; 
every little detail you noted and remembered. 

Norah Dawnay looked upon her singing at Balliol as 'the 
pleasantest in her life'. 

Walker drew up a synopsis of his programmes, and had 
it bound for the College Library. 



OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO-I925 87 

The Master and Fellows presented him with a small re- 
plica of the silver tankard given to the college by Kyrle, the 
philanthropist, known as the Man of Ross. It bears a Latin 
inscription: 

Ernesto Walker 

Per XXXVIII annos 

Musicae artis apud Balliolenses 

duci et fautori 

d. d. 

Magister et Socii 

MCMXXV 

It was probably the most prized of all his possessions. 

A year later he was elected Honorary Fellow. This dis- 
tinction 'thrust upon the most modest of men gave general 
satisfaction'. A deep debt of gratitude for his Balliol Con- 
certs was felt far beyond the wide circle of acquaintances ; 
three from among many letters show that his friends were 
gratified. From a colleague in Balliol: 

I feel I must just write you a line to say that it is a great joy to 
me to think that you will have this new link of connection to the 
College, which owes you so much. For myself I like to think that 
our friendship over all these years has got — though it did not need 
it — a new bond. 

Hadow, now Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield, wrote: 

All heartiest congratulations. I am delighted not only to see an 
old friend honoured, but to see Oxford Music and English Music 
honoured in his person. Of all distinctions I think that an Honorary 
Fellowship is the pleasantest — others mean recognition of work, 
but this means friendship in addition. May you have many years in 
which to enjoy it. 



88 OXFORD AND ELSEWHERE, I9OO-I925 

And J. A. Smith: 

I am delighted to sec the news in today's Times that Balliol has 
added you to the list of its Hon. Fellows. No one in that list has 
better deserved his election. It will be a source of pleasure to your 
numerous friends here and elsewhere that your long service to the 
College and to the University and to Music have been recognized 
by those among whom your work has chiefly been done. 

And so at the age of fifty-five Ernest Walker had re- 
signed; it was the close of a chapter. 

Yet at the time of life when many lyrical poets cease to 
feel inspiration, Ernest Walker was to develop a new and 
more intensely personal style. 



5. Later Years 



Ernest Walker lived for over twenty years after his 
resignation from the Directorship at Balliol. He was 
often in college and might be found writing letters in 
the Senior Common Room in the morning or talking to a 
friend in the quad. The direction of the concerts passed first 
to Dr. W. H. Harris, and afterwards, when he became 
Organist at St. George's, Windsor, to Dr. Dykes Bower 
and then to Dr. Thomas Armstrong, now Organist of 
Christ Church. Walker no longer took part in the con- 
certs, except that he appeared at the thousandth concert in 
May 1 936, when four of his Helicon songs were sung and 
he played the Bach C major Concerto with Victor Hely- 
Hutchinson. 

Much of his other work in the University went on. He 
taught and examined as before, and was still a prominent 
member of the Board of Studies and later of the newly con- 
stituted Board of the Faculty of Music. On Walker's resig- 
nation from the latter Board in March 1946, Mr. Platnauer, 
its Chairman, wrote about 'the particular value and charac- 
ter of your work long recognized in places far from Oxford 
as well as in the University itself. The Board is aware, too, 
that this work was done to a large extent without any reward 
other than your knowledge of the progress of the students 
who profited from it.' 

That his devotion to his pupils and his care for their sub- 
sequent careers was undiminished is shown by a letter 
written as late as March 1 946 to a former pupil who asked 



90 LATER YEARS 

for suggestions as to illustrations for a lecture on French 
music and particularly on Berlioz and Debussy. Walker's 
reply shows his care for detail and his infinite capacity for 
taking pains for others. A few sentences may be quoted: 

The 'Scene aux Champs' is miles the finest thing in the Fantas- 
tique, but perhaps, for what I understand is a somewhat miscel- 
laneous audience, it is long and somewhat stiffish. What about the 
Waltz ? or is there perhaps a Toscanini record of the 'Queen Mab' 
Scherzo from Romeo and Juliet} That is something like! About 
Debussy Uapres midi certainly: it is the only chance of showing his 
jewelled scoring. 

About the piano pieces — I should suggest 'Les Collines d'Ana- 
capri' rather than the somewhat vague West Wind thing; and I 
should certainly substitute the magnificent 'Cathedrale engloutie' 
for the 'Voiles' unless you use it as an example for a composer's 
collapse. 

Outside Oxford Walker to some extent pulled in his 
horns. Work for the Girls' Public Day School Trust had 
been given up in 1924; he now no longer sought engage- 
ments in London or elsewhere and he chose sparingly 
among much examining that was offered. The Royal Col- 
lege of Music he retained and he gave much time to writ- 
ing and composition. 

The friendship with my family began in 1900 when my 
sister went to college. She was drawn into musical activities 
by Rosamund Gotch and Mary Venables, and Ernest 
Walker sent tickets for Balliol Concerts. Before long we 
timed our visits to Oxford to fit in with special Balliol pro- 
grammes ; by 1 9 1 1 a great friendship had been established 
with my father and mother, and Ernest was adopted, as 



LATER YEARS 91 

Marie Soldat and Donald Tovey and others had been, on 
terms of a quasi-member of the family: someone for whom 
our home was always open and whose interests could com- 
mand our co-operation whenever we could be of use. Our 
move from Cambridge Gate to Gunfield, Norham Gar- 
dens, Oxford in 191 6 closed down one of his London 
quarters, but Balliol rehearsals and hospitality for Balliol 
artists frequently came our way, and our music room con- 
tinued to be the setting of many of Ernest Walker's and 
Donald Tovey's activities. Our house was the scene of 
much music-making, not a little of it memorable. 

The first manuscript performance of the Organ Pre- 
ludes, 'hot from the furnace' was given by Dr. Dykes 
Bower in New College Chapel as the climax to a 'Gunfield 
Choir' outing. The occasion was homely but the music was 
played with insight, sympathy, and mastery, and Walker, 
much gratified, had the pleasure of discussing technical 
details with the exponent. 

During his stay at Christ Church Professor Albert Ein- 
stein came to us now and again to play string quartets with 
Marie Soldat, Margaret Reid, and Arthur Williams, or 
sonatas with Walker or me. Once he asked for our 'Schwei- 
tzer' performance and laughingly called out 'Black Schu- 
mann' where 'Strange Lands and People' is quoted from 
Schumann's Childhood Scenes, in the duet that Walker 
composed to greet me on my return from Lambarene, 
where I had been at Dr. Schweitzer's hospital as a nurse. 
Performances of Ernest Walker's African Fantasia Duet 
were undertaken for the benefit of Schweitzer's hospital, 
occasions when Gabon crafts and my film of Lambarene 



9- LATER YEARS 

were shown. We established a tradition of an 'African 
party' given each year for Lady Margaret Hall freshers, 
in whom Walker always became interested. Schweitzer 
himselt came to one of these parties and took pleasure in 
identifying the negro tunes and adopting, as he said, all our 
young guests 'as temporary nieces'. But the Fantasia and 
film recitals became too frequent when Women's Insti- 
tutes also wanted them. To enable me to fulfil engagements 
without his own co-operation for the bass of the duet, 
Walker composed a piano solo Fantasietta on the same 
tunes. It was a pleasant surprise to him and us in 1 948 that 
West African students had been delighted to hear their 
own tunes interwoven with Western music at a Denman 
College course. Mrs. Doherty from Nigeria and others, 
and later Mrs. Williams from Freetown, Sierra Leone 
showed special interest. 

It was Ernest Walker's playing of Parry's Shulebrede 
Priory Pieces that prompted my mother to ask for piano 
pieces about us, and the outcome was 'Three Dedications' 
and 'Four Miniatures' and several piano duets, and the 
'Easter Piece'; among them distinguished masterpieces 
and intimate lyrics, some only a page long but alive with 
fullness of thought and musical meaning. 

The death of my mother in 1933 checked festivities then 
planned and came as a shock. Ernest Walker recorded his 
impressions of her in the Oxford Magazine: 

Last Saturday should have seen the formal opening, by the Chan- 
cellor of the University, of the Deneke Building of Lady Margaret 
Hall; the ceremony was naturally cancelled owing to Mrs. Deneke's 
sudden death. The building was called after her, and for many years 



LATER YEARS 93 

she had had, both directly and through her two daughters, very 
intimate links with the college. The annual Philip Maurice Deneke 
Lecture (founded in memory of her husband from the proceeds of 
their younger daughter's work) will, however, be given in the new 
hall on the evening of Tuesday next by Professor Einstein. 

Born in Westphalia eighty-six years ago, Mrs. Deneke had had 
her home in England for nearly sixty, and in Oxford for seventeen 
years. In the prayer written for the funeral service, mention was 
made of her as one greatly endowed 'earnestly to follow after things 
beautiful and true', and thanks were given 'for her life among us, 
her strong purpose and courage, and her gracious gift of friendship'. 
She was indeed a notable personality; even casual acquaintances 
could not but be impressed by the blend of dignity and charm, seri- 
ousness and humour, and all of them somehow quite unlike anyone 
else's. She held to the old things, but did not let the new pass by un- 
heeded; an ardent lover of poetry (especially Goethe and Words- 
worth), of flowers, and, perhaps, most ardently of all, of music — 
with which her contacts had always been very intimate — she 
retained unimpaired to the end all her vivid interests and eager 
alertness, and also her gifts of subtly delicate manual craftsmanship. 
She touched life finely at many points, and those who were given 
the privilege of her friendship will feel that something very fragrant 
has become a memory. 

After my mother's death my sister and I maintained with 
Dr. Walker the tradition of weekly meetings in term and 
regular migrations, three times a year, to the seaside cottage 
we had established in Southwold. It was near Hedenham, 
the Toveys' country house, and the frequent visits, and the 
music and reading that grew out of them, lent a sunset glow 
to a long friendship. 

In 1939 when the prospect of billetees and protection 
in air raids presented anxious responsibilities, Walker was 



94 LATER YEARS 

glad to join our household at Gunfield, and he entered into 
whatever was going on. He arranged Sixpenny Concerts 
with us to offer artists engagements, and he planned and 
wrote letters and played. He also offered help with the 
telephone (till then his bug-bear) and he lightened the work 
of household accounts as he had done in Southwold. He 
placed his scholarship at the disposal of others : large parcels 
of Mr. Fox-Strangways's translations would arrive, and 
Walker would spend hours with volumes of songs spread 
about him. He returned the manuscripts so fully dotted with 
suggestions that Mr. Fox-Strangways gratefully offered to 
publish his name as the co-translator. Walker discouraged 
that, but he was gratified that 'Kein Haus, Keine Heimath' 
(set by Brahms), which he had returned three times with 
freshemendations,wasintheendoneofthebesttranslations. 

Then Mr. Hubert Foss brought about half a dozen suit- 
cases full of Donald Tovey's papers and Walker devoted 
hours with him, and many more alone, to sorting them for 
posthumous publication by the Oxford University Press. 

In 1 943 Dr. and Mrs. Percy Scholes settled temporarily 
in Oxford where they continued their work on the Mirror of 
Music. Discussions of music and other matters had long 
years before been reflected in the pages of Dr. Scholes's 
paper the Music Student, and parcels of the typescript of 
the Oxford Companion to Music had found their way from 
Switzerland to Southwold as well as to 28 St. Margaret's 
Road. Now frequent friendly meetings and stimulating talk 
were much enjoyed. File by file the Mirror of Music was 
read and afterwards, at Dr. Walker's request, the two pub- 
lished volumes were left permanently for light readingon the 



LATER YEARS 95 

round table by his arm-chair. Dr. Scholes's interest in the 
reprint of Ernest Walker's essays, 1 946, was invigorating. 

Our Friday Club for undergraduates was an effort to let 
the gap be felt less that was caused by the closing of the 
Oxford University Musical Club and Union. There was tea 
and technical talk and young composers felt 'encouraged by 
Walker's praise and humbled by his complete lack of con- 
descension'. The Club led to friendship with Geoffrey 
Bush, Bruce Montgomery, Christopher Longuet-Higgins, 
and many others. Later, concerts for soldiers in our music 
room, notably eighty given for the University Leave 
Courses, offered opportunities for touch with local talent 
and with soldiers. There was little that Walker did not try 
to do for the musical men who were off to the front; letters 
at Christmas 1948 showed how very many had valued his 
sympathy. 

Whenever possible we had an hour of quiet music for our 
own enjoyment. By persisting we finished all Bach's Can- 
tatas, playing on two pianos when we possessed a second 
copy and mingling hands on one keyboard for the others. 
Walker called to mind with pleasure other private music- 
making. He had joined informal performances of Bach 
Cantatas and other music with a group of friends that Mrs. 
Lane Poole and Miss Mabel Price called together. Ernest 
Walker and H. P. Allen accompanied at two pianos from 
Bach-Gesellschaft scores. Much ground was covered in a 
very enjoyable manner and the sessions always ended with 
the singing of 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' which at that 
time was hardly ever heard, and for which Robert Bridges 
had translated the text. 



g6 LATER YEARS 

Between A.R.P. duties and amateur farm work I snatched 
many happy hours with Ernest Walker and Paul Benecke, 
playing all Haydn's Quartets, and many others, on two 
pianos, Walker leading with the first violin and viola from 
the score; the 'cello and second violin, from parts, were put 
in on the second piano. Now and again friends dropped in 
to take a hand and share our fun ; especially Kitty and Philip 
Taylor, Tom Armstrong and Ken Andrews, and John 
Hough. 

For the last twenty months of his life illness cut Walker 
off from playing. His courage was stoic, he never once 
uttered a complaint; he knew we missed his playing but 
nothing was said. He silenced the proffered sympathy of an 
old pupil, answering that life had been happy for him: he 
had no regrets, health had been good, and he had enjoyed 
many great friendships. He went on listening to music with 
unchanged zest; the broadcast of a new composition by a 
pupil or friend always found entry in his diary. On occa- 
sions both his wireless sets were tuned to allow quick transit 
from one orchestral concert to another, and he tried, score 
in hand, to follow minutiae of differing versions, and on 
one evening wedged in a string quartet 'just to hear the 
lovely Adagio again'. For a time he kept up the tradition of 
reading aloud to us; his mind and memory remained un- 
impaired. Old friends, artists, pupils, colleagues, com- 
posers dropped in to see him and gave him music or news 
or technical talk, and he let nothing fail that was done to 
give him pleasure. 

On Sunday evening, 20 February 1 949, the Balliol Con- 
cert party before their performance played to him his varia- 




CO 



°3 




cc 

CO 







ERNEST WALKER 
Drawing by Sir Muirkead Bone, 1946 



LATER YEARS 97 

tions for left-hand piano, clarinet, and string trio composed 
at Paul Wittgenstein's suggestion, 1933. Ernest was with 
us at our eight o'clock breakfast the next morning — he had 
not had breakfast in bed since 1892 — and after lunch he 
was dozing by the dining-room fire. Our grey cat, his 
valued friend, was rubbing against his chair, purring and 
demanding her usual petting; but she was asking in vain. 
Unexpectedly, in gentleness, he had been called to face the 
incommensurable things that he had struggled so hard to 
understand. In him the light of truth had not lacked the 
warmth of desire and now he had entered the next scene. 

The flag at half-mast at Balliol told many the news, and 
we who had cared for him struggled with our own deep 
sense of loss and an awed gratitude for the fitting end. In 
The Times we read Dr. Thomas Wood's letter: 

He was, perhaps, most like himself in the golden days of 1914, 
when all musical Oxford crowded Balliol Hall on Sunday nights for 
the concerts he directed there, and when he played on Tuesdays 
inimitably at the Musical Club. Then his beard was brown and his 
shoulders broad; he lived in St. Margaret's Road in a house that was 
neat to the point of primness where he could be called on at any 
time by any young man who wanted help in any matter that had to 
do with music. Beethoven to Brahms — that was his field; no-one 
we had ever met in those days knew it as well as he; and we found 
him so much at ease with the lives of the great composers that we 
felt (though we were very young then and he seemed old) that he 
must have been friends with all of them in turn. To examine with 
him in the Schools, twenty years later, was again to admire his 
range of knowledge; to listen as he came to an opinion was to learn 
what clear thinking can be. Though a kindliness that was innate 
fought hard with this. He was quite incapable of hurting anybody's 

B.1056 H 



98 LATER YEARS 

feelings; and his anxiety on the one hand to let down lightly and his 
instinct for precision on the other would bring about a battle that 
was settled — as often as not — by one of those cascading shouts of 
laughter that were the delight of all who knew him. It meant an 
armistice had been signed. But if shoddy workmanship were in 
question, or wrong values — never an armistice then. 

Of his own work and achievements he would say little. He was 
content that they should speak for themselves, as he was content 
that Oxford should be his world. And yet, when his friends went 
to visit him (as they always did) with news of the big world and with 
tales from the ends of it, he would question them eagerly, and 
astonish them by his knowledge of affairs as he had astonished them, 
years back, by his knowledge of music. 

This alertness, this youth of mind, he kept to the end. Then the 
beard had gone white, and illness had made him a frail little figure 
(lovingly cared for) sitting in quiet. But it was still Ernest Walker. 
He was sui generis., but he was Oxford as well in his passion for 
beauty and truth. 

Mr. Frank Howes spoke of Walker's influence being 'in 
the nature of a highly concentrated essence which from a 
quiet corner in Oxford pervaded wide areas of our musical 
life'. 

Professor Westrup bore testimony to disinterested work 
as being 'more than is ever likely to be fully known or 
appreciated'. 

Dr. Albert Schweitzer wrote from Giinsbach, 'Now the 
dear, gentle, kind, distinguished Dr. Walker has left this 
life. Seeing him impressed me deeply each time. He be- 
longed to the quiet, mysterious world which is closed to us 
men of common clay. How good that he fell asleep gently. 
But what a loss for you !' 



6. The Musician 

Of so many-sided a musician as Ernest Walker it is 
| not easy to form a comprehensive judgement, and 
perhaps the fairest estimate can be reached by 
considering separately the various fields in which he worked. 
Walker would never have claimed to be an organist. 
Indeed it has been seen that in early Balliol days he felt 
some difficulties in the management of the pedals. Yet 
many Balliol men remember the beauty of his playing of 
psalms and hymns and the varied charm of the voluntaries 
which often caused men to linger in the Chapel after the con- 
clusion of the service. None of my family had heard Walker 
play for a service, but on the occasions of training the Lady 
Margaret Hall Choir for my father's funeral service, and 
later my mother's too, he offered help, and I realized his 
intense love for the beauty of the psalms and his originality 
and power in supporting them musically. The counter- 
point he improvised around the chant put life into the 
whole choir. His Organ Preludes too testify to his full 
understanding of the capacities and characteristics of the 
instrument. 

Much has been said already of Walker's reputation as a 
pianist and in particular as an accompanist, whether to 
voice or instrument. Here it is perhaps sufficient to add that 
his thorough musicianship, his careful study, and his 
natural sensitiveness made him equally at home through 
the whole range of music from Byrd to Bartok. But some- 
thing must be said of his keen interest in the problems of the 



I OO THE MUSICIAN 

technique of piano playing. The use of the pedal was the 
subject of much inquiry and experiment, and after a recital 
given in Oxford by Harold Bauer in 191 1, the two musi- 
cians met and discussed harmonics and experimented on 
Walker's piano. In a letter he wrote: 

The astonishing tiling was Bauer's series of secondary harmonics 
— playing some harmonies and silently pressing down others that 
would sound if their generators had been struck. Bauer played 
Schumann's Carnaval and showed that in 'Reconnaissance' he could 
take the repeated note with thumb and index finger while holding 
on to the tune, and in the silent chord at the end of 'Paganini' he 
struck the top note, almost inaudibly, to make it ring out after he 
had pressed down the other notes noiselessly. 

In writing to arrange their meeting (18 February 1 9 1 1) 
Harold Bauer mentioned his surmise that Walker had writ- 
ten the article on 'The Value of the Indistinct' in The Times 
which he found so well expressed and so valuable that he 
sent for a number of copies to distribute among his pupils. 
Problems of this type had great attraction for Walker; he 
himself had made much use of silent touch and kindred 
effects and he experimented freely with 'definitely acous- 
tical composition adventurings in unusual sound effects', 
and in the last bar of Ravel's 'La Vallee des Cloches' he 
found that 'an exquisitely ghostlike E major "harmonic" 
chord is very unexpectedly, but quite clearly evocable'. 
Walker said that lest he should be discouraged from con- 
tinuing his practice of pressing down this chord silently, 
he had cautiously refrained from confessing it to Ravel 
when he met him on the occasion of his honorary doc- 
torate in Oxford. 



THE MUSICIAN IOI 

Nor were his inquiries always on this high level. A piece 
of original research that he delighted in was his discovery 
that Domenico Scarlatti's cat was either a kitten or an under- 
fed narrow-chested animal. His own corpulent Nigger and 
Peter could not walk along the keyboard striking two black 
notes in succession — whereas our kittens could easily paw 
the E flat to F sharp that occur in the theme of Scarlatti's 
Cat's Fugue. Now and again he would gently pick up one 
of our kittens ; if it was in the mood (there was never any 
compelling), he would entertain the kitten, himself, and us 
by demonstrating his Scarlatti theory at the piano. 

Walker's lasting appeal to those who did not know or 
hear him must be as a composer and a writer on musical sub- 
jects. His writings will be dealt with in the next chapter. 
Composition, as has been seen in the early diaries, was one 
of his activities from the first and it was continued right 
down to 1938. The majority of his work was vocal, or 
chamber music, but he occasionally made an excursion into 
orchestral music. Dr. Ivor Keys in the criticism quoted 
below, wishes that there had been more in this line, and it 
is interesting to find the same wish expressed in a letter 
from Donald Tovey written in 1 93 1 after a performance of 
Walker's Variations at Edinburgh : 

I meant to write long ago about your Variations which went very 
well in Edinburgh and made a decided impression, quiet though they 
are. 

What I chiefly want to say is that I most decidedly wish you would 
zvrite more for orchestra. I'm beginning to consider myself fairly 
experienced as a judge of orchestration, and I don't think I can be 



102 THE M USICIAN 

mistaken in seeing decisive evidence that you have natural gifts 
therein which have survived a starvation that would have killed 
anything killable. 

Your orchestration is emphatically the genuine article. Do try some- 
thing on a larger scale — preferably not with three-ply wind because 
I can't afford extras except when the moon is Reckitt's blue — but 
symphonic or overturish. I am quite certain that the handling of 
this medium will be a stimulus to your invention and that you have 
no reason to fear that it will fail. It would seem impertinent to say 
this to you if I didn't know that you have written very little for 
orchestra and that you are conscious of not having much practical 
experience. Just rely on your excellently accurate imagination and 
kick up a jolly row with your next large work. 

The Variations weren't easy, and the quality of tone was con- 
spicuously beautiful all through — also the balance. 

In speaking of his own methods of composition Walker 
once said that among his father's books there was a small 
old edition of Shelley containing some poems that are not 
included as a rule in the collected works. In these usually 
unpublished lyrics there were spaces in brackets for lines 
that the poet had intended to add later, and where a rhyme 
or adjective had not leapt to mind, a dash indicated a space 
for it. Walker owned that this book influenced him much; 
it seemed to cast a light on the curious manner in which the 
creative and mechanical were closely allied. He added: 

The more contrapuntal the work the less I can use the piano as 
a stimulus. The Horn Quintet and the Rhapsody and Fugue were 
entirely paper work. 

He would use the piano fairly freely in the early stages 
of a composition, often humming to himself till ideas 
would begin to crystallize and loose ends would knot them- 



THE MUSICIAN IO3 

selves by a process beyond explanation. The actual work 
was done in white heat and Walker could never recapture 
that mood or alter a finished work. 

More definite views as to a composer's methods were 
explained by him in 1930. A questionary propounded on 
the basis of some pages in Mr. Frank Howes's book The 
Borderland of Music and Psychology was sent to twenty-three 
composers. Their answers were published and Walker was 
invited by the Monthly Musical Record to contribute to the 
symposium and to comment on it. The three questions 
were (1) What is inspiration? (2) How is it maintained 
through a long work? (3) Of what is the composer chiefly 
aware in the process of composition — the idea or the emo- 
tion he is trying to express, or the solution of the purely 
musical problems involved ? Parts of Walker's article speak 
of his own methods of work. 

(1) Believing neither in spontaneous generation nor in angelic 
messages, I seem necessarily to fall back on this: that inspiration 
'occurs' whenever something that arrests attention is thrown up out 
of the ever-seething mass of a composer's musical memories. How 
much it is worth — there is the rub, of course. But the problem seems 
no more, and no less, difficult than that of explaining any other 
manifestation of personality. And when I say 'memories' I do not 
mean that every composer is a plagiarist (though indeed the ingeni- 
ous Germans who live laborious days over Quellen-forschung seem 
well on their way to think so); all I mean is that not even the most 
ardent revolutionary can escape from the past that has made him. 
And about the 'inspiration v. hard work' problem, it seems to me 
that the composer must, from moment to moment, be his own sole 
judge; he alone can decide whether what has arrested his attention 
is, as it stands, adequate or not for its specific purpose. If he decides 



104 THE MUSICIAN 

to omit the hard work, he decides at his peril, of course; but it is at 
his peril that every creator decides everything. 

(2) Here one has inevitably to be personal. I can only say for 
myself that for any composition, up to a quarter of an hour or so 
in uninterrupted duration, I prefer to have it complete in essentials, 
either in my head or in a kind of shorthand scrawl in a note-book, 
before I sit down to pen and ink and music paper and the settlement 
of details. And it is perhaps a corollary of this particular method 
that, when once I have finished doing what I can over a piece of 
work, I find it impossible at a later date to go back and revise. 

(3) I said that I believed all that exists to be rightly examinable 
by philosophy; but mysticism (in the best sense of an often misused 
word) is a part of philosophy, and it is in that corner that the prob- 
lems of artistic inspiration, as of human personality in general, seem 
to lie. In the meantime, every good metaphysician must hold that the 
search is more important than the solution; and all a composer can 
do is to try to ensure that what is thrown up out of the seething mass 
in his own brain is something hot, and something alive. 

Dr. Ivor Keys has been good enough to contribute a 
detailed and technical criticism of Walker's work as a com- 
poser, which is printed as an appendix. 



j. Writings, Interests, 
Characteristics 

The great bulk of Walker's writing was naturally on 
musical subjects. The main portion of it is contained 
in three books. In 1902 he was invited by Mr. 
Wakeling Dry to write Beethoven for the Masters of 
Music Series. The proposition was on so small a scale that 
the treatment of Beethoven's music had to be compressed. 
Nevertheless, the last chapter (about one-third of the whole 
book) gave some opportunity for personal outlook. The 
Press spoke of 'reverence for the stateliness, the calm beauty 
and strength of Beethoven' as an outstanding feature 'of 
a capital little book that is neither academic nor purely 
popular. Dr. Walker has in fact pulled off a complete suc- 
cess. It is written by a musician who not only knows his 
Beethoven and loves him, but has evidently nine-tenths of 
his music at his fingers' ends.' 

Two years later, the Oxford University Press gave him 
a commission to write a History of Music in England. He 
asked to be allowed three years and during that time read 
a great deal at the British Museum, at Bodley, and in the 
Library at Christ Church. He referred to no work in the 
History that he had not read, and he verified every refer- 
ence. The finished manuscript was delivered to the printer 
two months ahead of the time stipulated. The publi- 
cation created a considerable stir and there were many 
discussions in the Press. The review in the Literary 



106 WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS 

Supplement of The Times, 2 January 1908 may be taken 
as typical : 

At last there is a book worthy of the subject. The author is 
known, though not too widely, as a composer of originality and a 
musician of excellent all-round capacity and taste; in his former 
writings about music he has shown considerable literary skill, 
although he has seemed to err on the side of too vigorous denuncia- 
tion of the accepted objects of the ordinary Englishman's worship. 
In this book he wields the rapier rather than the hammer. . . . 

On the Madrigalean era he is at his best, and he brings to life for 
us the conditions in which music was performed at the time. ... In 
this brilliant chapter the writer gets at the very heart of the form, 
yet in the elaborate and detailed explanations there is no trace of 
pedantry. 

In some ways the chapter on 'Handel in England' is the best in 
the book. Dr. Walker is none of your iconoclasts who think it right 
to decry everything that Handel wrote; his position is well summed 
up in the words: 'No other composer can ever attempt to rival 
Handel in his power of intensely irritating those who have the 
strongest and sanest admiration of his genius; no one, it is true, is 
always at his best, but the pity is that Handel is so often at his 
worst. . . .' Dr. Walker writes so well and wisely, so thoroughly 
yet so concisely that the book deserves most hearty welcome. The 
whole outlook of the book is individual and appreciative, a scholarly 
work written more for musicians than for antiquarians and 
eminently readable. 

A reprint was required in 1 924, but it had to be made by 
a photographic process and Walker regretted that many 
modifications that seventeen years of experience suggested 
to him could not be introduced. One correction Walker 
would gladly have made. 

Among the manuscripts of Samuel Wesley acquired by 



WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS IO7 

the British Museum there were copies of pieces by Byrd 
with nothing to indicate they were not Wesley's own. 
Grove's Dictionary included them in the list of Wesley's 
works; Walker had the insight to recognize their Eliza- 
bethan style and to comment on it, but he was trapped into 
accepting them as Wesley's compositions and criticized 
them accordingly. A letter from H. B. Collins, of the Ora- 
tory Church, Birmingham, first pointed out the slip to him. 
It was unlucky that this letter came just too late to allow 
correction in the second edition. The Oxford Press would 
no doubt have reprinted that page. 

Shortly after finishing the History of Music, in 1908 
Walker was asked by Ernest Newman to write a volume 
for The New Library of Music. He reluctantly refused : 

Shorter literary engagements like analytical programmes, revising 
articles in dictionaries and periodicals and so on, I would indeed be 
grateful to have more of: one can see the end of them at starting, 
and they have no drawbacks of any kind. But to have a lengthy book 
hanging over one's head for an indefinite but anyhow considerable 
period is to me somehow, I confess, a sheer physical torture that, on 
grounds which are virtually those of health, I feel bound to fight 
shy of unless either I have an urgent desire to express some (to my 
mind!) salutary doctrine or else the 'bread and butter' inducement is 
of a substantial nature. I am continually, like Io with her gadfly, 
feeling impelled to add to my already large stock of probably unsale- 
able compositions, and I somehow grudge giving my leisure hours 
to other things. 

Walker's third book is a collection of essays reprinted in 
1946, from The Times, the Literary Supplement, the Man- 
chester Guardian, and other publications. He was severely 



I08 WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS 

self-critical and chose to have a small volume. The first 
essay which gave its title to the book Free Thought and the 
Musician will be mentioned later. Of the essays on musical 
topics Dr. Armstrong wrote in the Musical Times of March 
I 949 : 'these articles are like Walker's talk and give a vivid 
impression. One sees the quick eager response, the slightly 
academic humour, the strong opinion backed with know- 
ledge, experience, and memory. One notes the firmness 
where any matter of principle is involved, the generous 
admiration of other artists, the intolerance of humbug or 
pretension, however eminent the pretender.' Walker's 
style is moulded on the power and strength of biblical lan- 
guage and the rhythm of his sentences recalls his close inti- 
macy with the Old and New Testaments. He was scrupu- 
lous in the choice of words and punctuation. And he had 
great variety. Always an inward vivacity is at work whether 
in closely packed analytical notes, or in compressed esti- 
mates, or in more expansive writing. His memory for detail 
is supported by imaginative experience and often opens up 
a wide vista of unusual features perceived. Then, too, he 
has a mastery in brief portraiture; he says much in very 
little and is wholly devoid of guff. His essays and reviews, 
mostly written for some immediate occasion, may well sub- 
sist by their intrinsic value and lasting interest for the 
quality of his criticism is creative. 

The collection reprinted in 1946 can be regarded as an 
illustration of the many essays and reviews which Walker 
wrote for periodicals and magazines. He also contributed 
articles to Grove's Dictionary of Music, of which the most 
important are Oratorio, Debussy, and Degrees in Music. 



WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS IO9 

Walker often responded to calls for analytical notes for 
concerts. There are programmes for Lawson's Classical 
Concerts, 1899, and Acott's series, as well as the B.B.C. 
Toscanini events (1938) and Oxford Musical Festivals, 
Kruse's Popular Concerts and Weingartner Festivals, the 
Classical Chamber Music Society, the 'Proms' and many 
others. Even in the restricted space of concert notes his 
humour and judgement may be seen and he hits many a 
nail on the head neatly. As a specimen of Walker's analy- 
tical notes may be taken his introduction to Elgar's The 
Kingdom written for the Leeds Festival in 1 907. After ex- 
plaining that this work was part of a large conception of the 
composer's, the first two sections of which were embodied 
in the earlier oratorio The Apostles, Walker continued: 

The Kingdom is entirely taken up with the third portion of the 
scheme — the establishment of the early Church, in Jerusalem, on 
the spot intimately connected with its now invisible Founder. The 
salient features consequently are the works of fellowship of those 
who had personally known their Lord, and the outpouring of the 
promised gift of Pentecost; the whole atmosphere is one of young 
energy, illuminated from time to time by gleams of the formerly 
constant supernatural element, no longer primarily mystical, but 
rather the human energy of men who are putting their hands to the 
plain work that lies before them. And the music of The Kingdom, 
essentially (in its main outlines at any rate) more diatonic and direct 
than that of The Apostles, expresses the composer's ideas quite 
apart from his words: it is broader and more symmetrical in struc- 
ture, and moves, not in a dim and only half-realized light, but in the 
full sunshine of day, the brightness of which is not clouded, but 
rather explained and justified, by the occasional glimpses of a further 
world, now better understood than before. 



IIO WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS 

The writing of these notes was preceded by an amusing 
visit to Elgar, which Walker liked to relate. He had written 
to ask if there were any points which Elgar would wish 
emphasized and received an answer which, after some very 
technical details, invited him to come over and stay a night. 
Walker arrived in time for lunch, and in the afternoon the 
composer with Lady Elgar and their daughter took him a 
motor drive along the banks of the Wye. For tea they were 
back in the drawing-room, where rows of Elgar's works 
bound in white vellum, were prominent on the book- 
shelves, and presented an air of 'pomp and circumstance'. 
And on the staircase this was emphasized by enormous 
laurel wreaths that had been presented at German concerts, 
with golden letters on big coloured ribbons. A fresh-air 
saunter round the garden between tea and dinner was wel- 
come and Elgar explained, with nervous gestures, his 
experiments on Luther Burbank lines ; the netted twigs and 
the strange fruit he had cultivated: a hybrid between an 
apple and a pear. 

He spoke of his experiments in chemistry which the day 
before had caused an explosion; he had picked up some- 
thing that was on fire and had thrown it into the water-butt 
which, in protest, burst, setting free a big stream down the 
drive. After dinner Walker was taken to the study, a room 
that held a valuable heraldic library, works on chemistry, 
and no sign of music except one upright piano: Elgar said 
if he had been able to live a completely independent life he 
would have liked to be an M.P. Innocently Walker asked 
for which party: 'Conservative, of course' Elgar snapped 
out. Again a silence and again Walker tried to get conversa- 



WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS III 

tion on to The Kingdom, but Elgar went to the piano and 
played from his own 'Wand of Youth', stopping now and 
again to say he would like to incorporate this or that musical 
idea in a bigger work. He also said he often worked at 
orchestral colour preparing his palette with effects of sound 
and combination of sound, independent of any composi- 
tion, merely so as to have experiments ready at command 
if ever wanted. 

At last towards the end of the evening Elgar spoke about 
his great cycle of oratorios, of which The Kingdom was one, 
and on this late conversation much of Walker's notes was 
based. 

The essay on 'Free Thought and the Musician' must be 
considered separately, for it is an expression of Walker's 
deepest convictions: 'The great work of all the creators in 
the whole field of spirit has its roots far deeper than any 
spatial or temporal happenings, down in the mysticism, or 
whatever we like to call it by which we chiefly live.' It has 
been seen earlier how he veered away into agnosticism and 
then into atheistic rationalism, always retaining a sense of 
mysticism, closely connected with his love of nature. This 
led, as has been recounted, to his resignation from the post 
of Organist at Balliol. He now became more actively con- 
nected with the Rationalist movement, and when his 
mother's death in 1910 closed all personal claims, Walker 
began to reflect what good he might do posthumously by 
leaving his money to a cause he had at heart. He had 
thought of endowing a lectureship on Rationalism at one 
of the universities, but was discouraged by one of the 
leaders of the movement, who held that what was needed 



112 WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS 

was a more popular appeal. Later he made a will in favour 
of Somerville College, though he regretted that it offered 
'optional religious observances', but when in 1932 the Col- 
lege built a chapel for undenominational services, he reluc- 
tantly revoked his will, holding that 'undenominationalism 
is only one among other Christian denominations, and a 
rather specially illogical one'. Towards the end of his life in 
1945 an old pupil asked him to be godfather to her child. 
Walker refused saying 'the office of godparent is to my 
mind an exceedingly serious religious duty, and I am not 
fitted for it'. In the essay itself Walker makes a reasoned 
plea for the freedom of the musician who cannot hold 
orthodox religious views, but with his usual scrupulous 
understanding of those who differ from him. 

Walker was primarily and to the depths of his nature a 
musician, and other occupations made little appeal to him. 
But chess attracted him, as it has many other musicians. 
Even in his schooldays he played and some little grey note- 
books with many reported games bear witness to his con- 
suming interest. A typical entry may be chosen at random 
from the diaries : 'P. had two games with me, one Q.P. open- 
ing (I played black) the other a Centre-counter (white). 
Won both rather easily.' Walker never joined the Oxford 
University Chess Club but he was asked whether he 
might be available to play for the Club against Cambridge. 
Then he declined on account of work. Later on, about 
1902, he took up chess more seriously. He did original 
research in the Max Lange opening and for a few years he 
met Professor Vinogradoff, E. I. Carlyle, and J. A. J. 
Drewitt regularly at the Vinogradoffs' house, or at Lin- 



q A4U««. £<uA*r, 6*(*b. 1<k. . -2ft 



E#hM 




tU, (tAMA *b**£6) *£ +* ** fi UsuW tot& 

A musical conundrum sent to Trevor Harvey on a postcard, 
referring to B.B.C. performances of England's Helicon and 

Say, Dainty Dames 



Balliol College flIMistcal Society 



A Concert in Memory of 

ERNEST WALKER 
(1870—1949) 

HON. FELLOW OP BALLIOL COLLEGE 
DIRECTOR OF THE BALLIOL COLLEGE CONCERTS 

Balliol College Hall 
Monday, May 23rd, 194$, al 9.0 p.m. 

DOORS OPEN AT 8.45 P.M. 



Cavatine, Adagio molto csprcssivo Beethoven 

from Quartet in B flat, op. 130 



Fantasia in D for String Quartet, op. 32 (1908) - Ernest Walker 



Quartet in F, op. 135 - - - Beethoven 



Allegretto 
Vivace 
Lento assai 
Grave — Allegro 



Quartet in D (K. 575) - Mozart 



Allegretto 

Andante 

Menuetto. Allegretto 

Allegro 



THE BUSCH QUARTET 

Adolf Busch Bruno Straumann 

Hugo Gottesmann Herman Busch 

Programme of first Memorial Concert, 1 949 



WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS I 1 3 

coin College. They each of them played two games at a 
time. Walker also joined the City Club and won games for 
them against Reading, Swindon, Cambridge, and Oxford 
University. In a tournament when Blackburn took on 
twenty-four players Walker drew his game. On another 
occasion he saw Blackburn playing blindfold against eight 
players. In conversation afterwards Blackburn seemed 
quite unconscious of the astonishing feat he had performed 
and said quite simply he could not understand how anyone 
could play music by heart. Walker once witnessed the 
rather dreadful sight of a big tournament in the Examina- 
tion Schools. Most of the players were at the end of their 
nerves and Atkins, the champion, was drinking one glass 
of milk after the other, while another player kept his eyes 
fixed on his little girl's photo with the words written on it 
'Please play well Daddy'. About 1906 Ernest Walker was 
playing for the Oxford City Club against Smith, the 
amateur champion of England. The game went on for four 
hours on end and reached a position which was a forced 
draw. Walker was so tired that he missed the move and lost 
the game. Afterwards he found himself playing the game 
over in his sleep and, on his doctor's advice, he gave up 
serious playing. 

He was never proficient at outdoor games, but from his 
undergraduate days he played lawn tennis — unscientific- 
ally but with great enjoyment. Years later we played with 
him on sea-side holidays — he was always winning by cut- 
ting and placing; our supposedly swift strokes had no 
chance against him. 

Cricket held a higher place; even in old age play in the 

B.1056 I 



114 WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS 

Parks attracted him. As a small boy he had accompanied his 
father, also keenly interested, to Crystal Palace matches and 
to Lords. His own school efforts reached a top score of four, 
but they acquired for him a quick eye for finer points in the 
game. Although excellent at dancing he was never keen. 

His love or walking and the country never deserted 
him and in later years holidays — rarely longer than a fort- 
night — were spent visiting friends or enjoying the untram- 
melled freedom of travelling alone. His passion for nature 
and his interest in the details of architecture or art could 
absorb him completely. Naturally retiring he was inclined 
in conversation to leave initiative to others; he often came 
upon companionship and good talk on his journeys, but 
solitariness never bored him. Sometimes professional en- 
gagements presented a setting which he enjoyed. One 
exquisite Elizabethan house, of mellow red brick, gave 
opportunities for a visit to Salisbury Cathedral and walks 
in the New Forest; and there was a terraced garden near 
Bath with a grey sixteenth-century house that clung to the 
sloping side of a hill. Here the then fashionable C Sharp 
minor Prelude of Rachmaninov was in frequent request, 
but the more vivid memory was the adventure of stroking 
a bat, that clung to a ledge near the front door, fast asleep 
in the sunshine; and lying down to rest during a lonely 
walk, Ernest was entranced to see a weasel come out of her 
hole with several baby weasels and gambol about quite near 
his feet ; another time a family in Surrey caused him to share 
their intimacy with wild red squirrels. 

Once when Walker visited the Glebe Farm at Spelsbury, 
the owners asked him to name a calf just born — an Old 



WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS I 1 5 

Testament name was obligatory. He was determined to do 
as well as he could and begged time for reflection. Back at 
Gunfield, he consulted his well-worn school Bible and 
turned up the 27th chapter of Numbers to search the list 
of daughters of Zelophehad. He had an idea that might be 
fruitful: he chose Milcah. Social entertainments, if not too 
frequent, had attraction for him; in a letter to me he speaks 
of 'a sardine-like squash, and I rather proud of my skill in 
bringing, without disaster, simultaneous cups of coffee to 
your sister and Miss Skipworth. But it is not disagreeable 
to have such opportunities of two-or-three minutes' talk 
with folk one otherwise seldom comes across.' 

There were some fashionable engagements that Walker 
remembered with amusement; an At Home where the late 
King of Sweden satin the front row conversing ceaselessly, 
and Walker's tactics to startle him into silence — alternate 
fortissimo and pianissimo bars — proved unavailing. Also 
an evening when the programme of music was dwarfed by 
a sumptuous banquet. Brandy from the time of Napoleon 
was served (all alcohol had evaporated), and Chateau Mar- 
got in precious bowls, with an environment of giant roses 
and stunted trees in Chinese vases. 

But mostly he enjoyed being with his musical friends 
such as Rosamund Gotch, Mary Venables, Sylvia Farnell, 
or the Prices. Some happy holidays were spent in Scotland 
with the family of Dr. A. J. Carlyle; there were duets, 
chess, and talks on the classics with the family Lewis. He 
had a tender-hearted generosity in playing to those whom 
years or illness cut off from concerts, and he set aside regular 
dates for Miss Molyneux and Miss Sarah Acland. His old 



Il6 WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS 

friends, the Dennistons and Miss Una Goodwin intro- 
duced him to the pleasures of broadcast concerts. Much of 
his spare time in term was spent with us; and vacations in 
our Southwold cottage had fostered a sense of companion- 
ship that held good after our return to Oxford. So he all 
but belonged to our Oxford household before Gunfleld 
became his permanent home in 1939. It had been impos- 
sible to live with him for years without becoming increas- 
ingly aware that beneath his composure there was ardour in 
restraint. He was remote from self-assertion and it needed 
probing to discover his opinions but we grew hesitant about 
disregarding them, for little escaped his notice and his 
judgements were just and his standards fine. Those who 
knew his gentleness and quietude realized above all the 
purity of his spirit and the serenity of a conscience at peace. 
He was inclined to believe the best of everyone and was 
readier to excuse human mistakes than error in scholarship. 
Donald Tovey described him as a 'spiritual disinfectant' for 
sayings that were harsh or ugly did not get far with him; 
by a remark, usually humorous, he would disclose fresh 
aspects. 

His puritan outlook made orderliness and punctuality 
part of his being, but he wasted no comment on them. 
Editors could rely on an article of the right length at the 
promised time. Library books were returned punctually, 
bills and taxes were paid by return of post, and a meal was 
respected at its own hour. With a touch of austerity he 
habitually copied into each new cheque book details that 
might save his executors trouble. His word was his bond 
and quite effortlessly he realized the point of view of others. 



WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS I I 7 

In politics he was a Liberal and only on two occasions did 
he show indignation. He was relentless about the miners' 
selfishness in the General Strike and complete in his con- 
demnation of the gangster methods of suffragettes, perhaps 
the more so since he was a steady supporter of 'Votes for 
Women' from early days. There was great moral courage 
and, afraid of no one, he often championed minority views, 
opposing blood sports and cruelty in any form. 

On hearing his own compositions Walker would feel 
astonished that it was he who had written them; he would 
seem so completely outside them. Writing informally in 
a letter he says : 

Went to Cathedral yesterday evening to hear 'Lord Thou hast 
been our refuge': they do it every now and then there (only on Sun- 
day evenings, so as to have full strength) but I have not heard it 
myself under Dr. Harris before. A fine dignified performance: Louis 
Smith as soloist extremely good. I suppose it is the most emotional 
thing I have written (it rather curls me up myself): no doubt that 
is why Walford Davies is so tremendously keen about it. Anyhow 
it (the first six and the ninth verses of Psalm 90 — some of the rest 
isn't at all as fine) has always struck me as terrifically great poetry 
with its conception of spiritual refuge in the thought of unchange- 
ableness, even though the Unchangeable obviously doesn't care a 
brass farthing for us. And what English those old people could 
write! 'Again thou sayest: come again ye children of men' — with 
the repetition of 'again' — superb! 

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday: seeing that 
is past as a watch in the night. 

As soon as thou scatterest them they are even as a sleep : and fade 
away suddenly like the grass. 

In the morning it is green, and groweth up; but in the evening it 
is cut down, dried up and withered. 



1 1 8 WRITINGS, INTERESTS, CHARACTERISTICS 

For when thou art angry all our days are gone: we bring our 
years to an end, as it were a tale that is told. 

The words 'integrity' and 'sensitiveness' have often been 
applied to Walker both as a musician and as a man. The 
integrity w r hich led him to choose the best music and be 
always true to his ideal was reflected in his life and in 
particular in his unswerving loyalty to his convictions. The 
sensitiveness which seemed to make him know by instinct 
the meaning and intentions of a composer, showed itself not 
in any sensitiveness for himself or for his own claims, but in 
a quick recognition of the feelings of others. The words 
inscribed on Nettleship's memorial in Balliol Chapel were 
implanted in his mind and were often on his lips. His own 
life seemed to echo them : 

He loved great things and thought little of himself; desiring 
neither fame nor influence, he won the devotion of men and was a 
power in their lives; and seeking no disciples he taught to many the 
greatness of the world and of man's mind. 



Ernest Walker as Composer 

By IVOR KEYS 

Such periodic appraisals of Walker's music as were 
made in his lifetime were almost unanimously approv- 
ing, yet for various reasons it is still little known as a 
whole. An examination of some of these reasons throws 
interesting light both on the man and on his music. 

In the first place he was of a retiring disposition. Al- 
though in his aesthetic judgements he could be outspoken 
in condemnation and praise (a reviewer of his article on 
'Oratorio' in Grove called him 'an autocrat in carpet slip- 
pers'), he was in his music, except in moments of passion, 
quiet and fastidious. He was not a pusher of himself and 
addressed his music to him that had ears. 

His style sprang from the German classics. Some writers, 
knowing that the recent English Renaissance has gone 
farthest on the impetus of folk-music and modalism, have 
been inclined for this reason to discount the value of 
Walker's work. Such criticism is confused; indeed recent 
trends, even if Walker had not followed them, would not 
have made his music either good or bad. But in point of fact 
he was not uninfluenced ; for whilst his earlier work, such as 
the five songs from 'England's Helicon', is couched in dia- 
tonic language, about the middle of his career in 19 14 he 
took to new harmonic paths, and such works as the two 
Epitaphs in op. 30 or the 'cello sonata could not even by the 
most casual hearer be labelled Brahmsian. 



I 20 ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 

Much of the music is occasional, even private, composed 
for diverse combinations and circumstances. Walker had a 
craftsman's skill and pride. Time and again one sees the 
bold, even reckless, flight of fancy made coherent by arti- 
fice of counterpoint and harmony: and when the flight is 
short, the craftsmanship will seize on musical initials of 
friends, one-handed piano techniques, choirs of uncertain 
powers, five-finger exercises — and in the process make 
music. He had a great love of musical puzzles of all kinds 
and delighted in the abysses of harmony momentarily 
glimpsed, as often in Bach and late Beethoven, through 
some contrapuntal necessity. 

The bulk of his work is small. Suffice it to say that there 
were many things to which he unstintingly gave his mind, 
especially his teaching of undergraduates. Teachers will 
know the constant study and ever deepening criticism of 
style — one's own included — which this work involves. 
There is evidence that Walker asked to be excused tasks 
well within his power in order to give more time to composi- 
tion. But he must have thought that teaching could not thus 
be set aside. Whether this meant partial suicide as a com- 
poser we shall not know. 

To his earlier period belong the works which are still the 
best known. They include the songs 'Corinna's going a- 
maying' and 'Bluebells from the clearings', the three-part 
songs 'Sister, awake' and 'Say, dainty dames' and the well- 
loved 'Five Songs from England's Helicon' for four voices 
and pianoforte. It is significant that these are all vocal 
works. Indeed, the Fantasia for string quartet excepted, 
the instrumental works of the period are burdened by the 



ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 121 

weight of their structures and lack the spontaneity of the 
songs. Colles's appreciation of his songs is as valid to-day as 
when he wrote in the third edition of Grove: 'He exhibits 
a vein of intimate feeling for the implications of English 
poetry and an instinct for apt musical expression which 
place him high among the song-writers of his generation.' 

One means of learning his craft was by setting German 
words. Outstanding is Uhland's 'Friihlingsruhe', op. i , the 
repose of its cadence hovering between genius and crudity. 
The best songs in op. 12 are Christina Rossetti's 'Dream 
Land', marked 'sempre pianissimo', and 'Some asked me 
where the rubies grew', an exact reproduction in music of 
Herrick's artful simplicity. Even the stodgy song of this 
group, Thomas Moore's 'Anacreontic Ode', derives its 
character from the words. 

The songs in two and three parts, some of them written 
for school use and some for the Misses Eyre, whose pure 
matched voices delighted audiences of the time, show the 
same qualities as the solo songs. Musical sensitivity charac- 
terizes them, however humble the occasion or slight the 
probability of a wider hearing. In op. 7 craftsmanship and 
integrity are lavished on pieces which for all Walker knew 
would never go outside the schoolroom. The innocent fresh- 
ness of Blake's 'The Echoing Green' can only be caught by 
a rapt performance: and a harassed schoolmistress will 
need to dedicate herself anew each time she sets her fingers 
to the limpid triplets evoked by 'the bells' cheerful sound'. 
Dedication is indeed always demanded, and painstaking 
effort to capture precisely the atmosphere required. Walker 
sometimes goes to almost humorous lengths of Italian in 



122 ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 

directions, asking the choir of the Clergy Daughters' School 
at Castcrton to perform Shelley's 'Song of Proserpine' 
'larghetto tranquillo ed un poco maestoso'. Of these en- 
semble pieces some depend on felicities of harmony and 
accompaniment, and some tend to relapse into thirds and 
sixths, a licence that trainers of youthful choirs will readily 
forgive for its sweet sound. The majority, however, could 
hardly be bettered, and 'Say, dainty dames' from op. 17 may 
well be technically the best thing Walker ever did, contain- 
ing as it does featherweight counterpoint and buoyant and 
brilliant 'Fa-la' refrains which are a delight to sing and 
hear. 

The other important vocal works of this earlier period 
are 'Five Songs from England's Helicon', op. 10, the 
'Hymn to Dionysus', op. 13, the 'Ode to a Nightingale', 
op. 14, and the three songs, op. 27. 'Helicon' is as original 
and fresh as ever, except perhaps the third song, 'Love the 
only price of Love', which seems to have gone too far in 
matching the pompousness of the words, while the accom- 
paniment suffers in comparison with its brilliant neigh- 
bours. Opp. 13 and 14 are both written for choir and 
orchestra: the orchestral writing, especially of the latter, is 
so obviously sure in obtaining beautiful and characteristic 
sounds that one can only deplore the absence of more 
orchestral music, for apart from the small-scale accompani- 
ment of op. 38, and the 'Norfolk' Variations there is nothing 
else of importance. The 'Hymn to Dionysus' is a setting of 
a chorus from the Bacchae of Euripides. Gilbert Murray's 
flowing stanzas are set to music mainly tranquil ; the melo- 
dies are distinguished if not outstandingly individual, and 



ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER I23 

there are characteristic enharmonic modulations. This work 
is typical in its measured grace and lack of rhetoric ; Walker 
is a quiet, fastidious Bacchanal. 

The 'Ode to a Nightingale' is remarkable for the 
clarinet's song of full-throated ease and for the way the 
balance of the poem is maintained through the transitions 
between solo and chorus. An example of this kind of skill 
is seen where the chorus sing Tn faery lands forlorn'; 'for- 
lorn' takes up the soloist like a sigh. Only an impeccable 
judgement could have handled this poem without degrad- 
ing it. The harmony is tender with a lovely chain of modula- 
tions as the white hawthorn, fast-fading violets, and coming 
musk-rose unfold one after another. The unaccompanied, 
four-part op. 24, 'The splendour falls', contains one of the 
composer's most poignant cadences. 

Two of the songs in op. 27 call for mention as they show 
a marked increase in the subtlety of the melodic declama- 
tion. They are Tn the spring twilight' and 'Snowdrops'. 
Both poems are by Sydney Dobell; they are not perhaps 
great as poetry but they have musical repetitions and sym- 
metry which Walker found stimulating. The latter song has 
a characteristic melody consisting almost entirely of notes 
of equal length, and deriving its shape and its rhythms from 
the words, independent of metrical bar-rhythms. 

The two fine anthems op. 16, T will lift up mine eyes' 
and 'Lord, Thou hast been our refuge', were originally 
scored for men's voices and organ, but Walker also set the 
second for mixed choir at the suggestion of Henry Ley. Its 
solemnity is striking; especially fine is the series of dark 
modulations beneath the central bass solo and the long 



124 ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 

silence before the hist chord. Walker in revising the anthem 
for a reprint was determined not to modify this, and in any 
c.ise he was never fond of afterthoughts. 

The instrumental music of this earlier period is not as 
interesting as the vocal music. There are presages of a more 
adventurous style but the composer is preoccupied with the 
problems of construction. These few works are reminiscent 
of Brahms both in methods of development and in instru- 
mental style; two works, however, must be excluded from 
this generalization : they are the Fantasia for string quartet, 
op. 32, and the Violin Sonata, op. 44. In both cases the 
number is misleading ; the former was written in 1 905 and 
published in 1923, and the latter dated 19 10 was not 
published until 1930. The Fantasia is a work of charming, 
youthful grace. It opens with an Adagio, distinguished by 
the shapeliness of its lines and the subtlety of its spacing; 
this gives way to a Vivace, a shadow-play through which 
harmonics gleam; in the coda the material of the Adagio 
returns in reverse order with enhancement of feeling. 

The violin sonata has some features which lift it well 
above the other early sonatas, notably the two fine bursts of 
passion, one in the peroration of the first movement and the 
other in the middle section of the slow movement. The 
variations which form the last movement have a lovely 
theme; it is the first sixteen bars of the Prelude in E flat for 
piano published as op. 37. This piano piece in fact dates 
back to 1 904 when it appears in manuscript as the first and 
best of a suite called 'The Days of the Week'. 

The year 19 14 saw a sudden increase in harmonic 
subtlety. There are plenty of harmonic adventures before 



ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 12$ 

this date, but they are usually placed at strategic moments 
against a diatonic background, adding a sudden romantic 
depth, a la Haydn, to a coda, or momentarily entering a new 
world in the last stanza of a strophic song. But from 1 9 14 
the range of harmony becomes suddenly wider, scaffolding 
is dispensed with, and the style becomes more terse, allusive, 
and even enigmatic — the imagination is harder at work. 

The most important work of this period and perhaps the 
pinnacle of Walker's achievement as a composer, is the 
Sonata in F minor for 'cello and piano, op. 41, but hardly 
less important for the history of his development are the 
two Epitaphs in op. 30. 

In the 'cello sonata inhibitions have been swept aside by 
a torrent of passion which is almost unique in Walker's 
music. The old harmonic landmarks are submerged for 
long periods at a time, and now no part of a composition is 
necessarily stable in its key. In particular there is nothing 
in his work like the tempestuous development in the first 
movement. A pianist who thinks this over-stated should try 
sight-reading the first movement at the proper speed ; he will 
discover the abrupt transitions of harmony soon enough, 
and be made to recognize here a new style that contradicts 
generalizations based on earlier works. There is nothing 
finer in the chamber music than this first movement and it 
is matched by a deeply calm Adagio. The last movement 
strikes a perfect balance between weight and levity. 

At first glance the two Epitaphs for three unaccompanied 
voices are simple homophonic pieces. It is doubtful, how- 
ever, whether they have received many good performances, 
for they suddenly and without the help of accompaniment 



12 6 ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 

plunge into enharmonic progressions dangerous to less 
than the highest skill. The composer is in fact beginning 
to treat chords as colourful entities in their own right. It 
was not tor nothing that he steeped himself in Debussy. 

The torrent of the 'cello sonata having both deepened 
and broadened the channel of Walker's thought, a new ease 
and adventure is found in the best of his subsequent work. 
There is little on a large scale, but a series of exquisitely 
turned miniatures whose subtlety of harmony reminds one 
of Faure's later style. Indeed it may be legitimate to press 
the analogy a little closer. Both composers were born in a 
classical tradition of music, and as they wrote, upheld the 
standards of a culture that was dying round them. Both 
prized logic and clarity and enjoyed solving the age-old 
problem of crystallizing the outpourings of a wayward 
imagination. 

The vocal works of this later period are short, with the 
exception of the motet 'One generation passeth away'. 
There are only two solo songs, op. 38, both to poems by 
Sydney Dobell — 'Summer Rain' and 'Sleep Song' — set for 
soprano and small orchestra on the occasion of the Oxford 
Festival of 1926 and dedicated to Dorothy Silk and Sir 
Adrian Boult. They are chiefly interesting for their sensi- 
tive orchestral colouring. Of the choral music two of op. 36 
are specially interesting ; the first, a unison setting of Robert 
Greene's 'Sweet Obscurity', is another example of the 
supple melodic line in equal notes, and the second, Jon- 
son's 'Hymn to Diana', makes distinguished play of gentle 
fifths over the piano's pedal-points. The unaccompanied 
four-part songs show Walker's fluid rhythm: 'Orpheus' 



ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 127 

and its haunting lilt and the late 'Sunset and evening star', 
op. 55, which moves through rich harmonies to a surprising 
last chord. 'Full fathom five', op. 34, for six unaccom- 
panied sopranos, and anthems and a service written for 
Lady Margaret Hall are notable additions to works for 
female voices. A six-part choir matches the 'mellow touch 
of music' in Herrick's 'Soft Music', op. 48. The rich fabric 
is woven with masterly ease and the tranquil harmonies 
culminate in a wonderful cadence which does 'rather sigh 
than sound'. 

But the climax of the choral music is the unaccompanied 
motet 'One generation passeth away'. It springs from a 
private grief but it uses terms of universal power. It re- 
sembles the Brahms 'Ernste Gesange' in its consistently 
passionate pessimism, though in its harmony it is worlds 
away. It is most difficult of intonation. 

The same impassioned sadness informs the unaccom- 
panied 'Dirge in Woods' (Meredith), the last work, written 
in 1938. It is interesting to note that Walker had a setting 
of this poem in mind much earlier. In a 19 15 examination 
paper for D.Mus. there is an unfinished piece in passionate 
style written on two staves and set for orchestration and 
completion. On the paper is a note — 'This is the sketch for 
a possible opening of a choral setting of "Dirge in Woods".' 
In this last work there is sure mastery, showing the digni- 
fied fortitude of a mind which saw unbowed the heavens 
falling. 

And we drop like the fruits of the tree 
Even we 
Even so. 



128 ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 

Of the later instrumental works the most substantial are 
the Fantasia-Variations on a Norfolk Folk-song, op. 45, and 
the Rhapsody and Fugue, op. 57, both written for piano 
duet (of all publicity-shunning mediums!). The Fantasia- 
Variations were arranged by the composer for orchestra 
with typical economy (double woodwind, two horns, a 
single trumpet, tympani, and strings) and in this version 
have achieved marked success. The tune used is 'Lovely 
Joan', collected at Acle by Vaughan Williams, and used by 
him on several occasions. Readers of Walker's essays will 
remember that he strongly resisted the prevailing tide of 
'folkery' as far as art-music was concerned. He here pays 
some lip-service to modality and even shows that he is 
proficient at writing parallel common chords; but the per- 
suasive charm of this quiet, even unobtrusive piece rests 
mainly in the subtle interplay of romantic harmonies; they 
culminate in an adagio section in three flats, but ambiguous 
in its tonality and built round a motto phrase which en- 
shrines the name of the dedicatee. There is a sunset end in 
E major quite contrary to the pure Dorian of the tune; for 
Walker his own musical thought came first, and here it is 
especially beautiful. 

The Rhapsody and Fugue is a piano duet, big music full 
of kaleidoscopic changes of colour and harmony. It is 
treated as an entirely different medium from the piano solo ; 
there is a minimum of doubling and the part-writing is 
always lively without making the texture tediously thick. 
The Rhapsody is full of romantic fancy with Faurean har- 
monic surprises, and the Fugue is a vigorous piece of 
sonorous rhetoric. 



ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 129 

A third extended work is 'Variations on a theme of 
Joachim' for violin and piano, op. 40. It is a difficult work 
to assess. At first glance some parts, particularly the first 
variation 1 and the extremely difficult fifth variation with the 
triple-stopping, seem merely formal, and a superficial per- 
formance will but confirm this impression. But when the 
underlying meaning of the work is realized (its technical 
difficulty makes this far from easy), it is found deeply satis- 
fying. Its many incidental felicities, and the beauty of 
Joachim's theme, will not be in dispute. 

The later piano music is all on a small scale; much of it 
is composed on friends' initials and motto themes but from 
this apparently unpromising material are derived minia- 
tures which become more significant with intimacy. Special 
mention should be made of the first of the Dedications, op. 
42, the best example of this genre and a piece of surprising 
depth and power. 

The three Fughettas, op. 49, are astonishing works. 
There is here a deliberate choice, such as made by some 
eighteenth-century composers, of angular themes of shift- 
ing tonality. This form of art is always a stimulus to a com- 
poser's technique. The second fughetta is especially sombre 
and deep and hints at harmonic abysses like those in Bach's 
three-part invention in F minor; the third is a 'sempre 
pianissimo' of great subtlety requiring a very considerable 
technique. 

If the organ were more discerningly played and listened 

1 It was the composer's wish that in those phrases where the triplets are 
wholly above the sustained E, the E should be stopped on the A string, not 
open. In the fifth variation he wished the chords to be played with alternate 
bows, not successive down-bows. 

B.1056 K 



I30 ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 

to, there would be little doubt that the Preludes on the Lady 
Margaret I hill I lymnTunes would have won wider recogni- 
tion. The tunes themselves are notable for their flexible 
lines of equal notes, their leaping contours and their chaste, 
yet often unexpected, harmony. The Preludes are outstand- 
ing amongst twentieth-century organ music in combining 
exceptional musical worth with successful writing in a diffi- 
cult medium. The majority of the preludes are quietly 
introspective, but two of them, 'Norham' and 'Windy 
Peak', move with splendid elan. The harmony is through- 
out in Walker's most original and powerful vein. 

Most of Walker's unpublished work is chamber music 
in large forms. Three works are outstanding and need 
publication. They are the Variations for viola and piano 
(1908), the remarkably fine Variations for one-handed 
pianist, clarinet, and string trio (1933), an d a breathlessly 
vivacious setting for high voice and piano of Henley's 'The 
Wind on the Wold' (1 902). 

Walker was also concerned with arrangements and edit- 
ing. An idealist venture of Joseph Williams at the begin- 
ning of the century was the issue of volumes of selected 
arias from the church cantatas of Bach and the operas of 
Handel. Walker was the editor and set an impeccable 
standard. His sense of musical style made his task far 
harder than a less knowledgeable editor might have found 
it, for he was impelled to go to immense pains in ensuring 
that every significant detail had its logical place. Unfor- 
tunately the public did not respond and Walker's industry 



ERNEST WALKER AS COMPOSER 1 3 I 

in this direction was not used again. There are two interest- 
ing items from the short list of arrangements for piano, one 
a setting of a delightful song, 'The Brooklet', by Edward 
Loder (who is highly praised in the History of Music in 
England), and the other an arrangement, which benefits 
from the change of medium, of the Allegro Assai from 
Mendelssohn's String Quartet in F minor, op. 80. In the 
essay on Mendelssohn in Free Thought and the Musician 
Walker refers to this scherzo as 'Half a dozen seldom- 
heard pages, not at all effective for their medium: but 
startling in their dark power and passion, and perhaps 
the first heralding of a man greater than the great youth 
we know.' 



Works by Ernest Walker 

PUBLISHED WORKS 

Note. The date of publication is given: where this differs considerably from the 
date of composition the latter is also given. 

Opus Description Publisher 

i Six Songs, medium voice and Pianoforte Joseph Williams 

a. Full fathom five (Shakespeare) i%<)z 

b. It was a lover and his lass (Shakespeare) 

c. When icicles hang by the wall (Shakespeare) 

d. Friihlingsglaube (Uhland) \ 

„..,.. , ,_.,, , I English translation 

e. Fruhhngsruhe (Uhland) } ,° ., 

. . by the composer 

f. Fruhlingsfeier (Uhland) J 

2 Six Two-part Songs, SS (or SA) and Pianoforte do. 

a. To Daffodils (Herrick) 

b. To Blossoms (Herrick) 

c. Under the greenwood tree (Shakespeare) 

d. Come unto these yellow sands (Shakespeare) 

e. Lo, here the gentle lark (Shakespeare) 

f. Music, when soft voices die (Shelley) 

3 Six Songs, voice and Pianoforte do. 1893 

a. Orpheus with his lute (Shakespeare) 

b. Phillis the fair (Burns) 

c . What does little birdie say (Tennyson) 

d. Die blauen Friihlingsaugen \ 

( Heine ) English transla- 

e. Es liegt der heisse Sommer \ tion by the 

(Heine) I composer 

/. Geheimnis (Karl Candidus) / 

4 Variations on a Norwegian air, for Pianoforte do. 1894 

Dedicated to Fanny Davies 

5 Romance and Capriccio, for Pianoforte do. 1895 

6 Ballade for Violin and Pianoforte do. 1896 



WORKS BY ERNEST WALKER 


l 33 


Opus Description 


Publisher 


7 Six Two-part Songs, SS (or SA) and Pianoforte 
(Words from Blake's Songs of Innocence) 

a. The Shepherd 

b. The Echoing Green 


Joseph Williams 
1897 


c . A Cradle Song 

d. Night 




e. Nurse's Song 




f. Laughing Song 




8 Sonata in A minor for Violin and Pianoforte 
Dedicated to Cecilia Gates 


do. 1898 
(composed 1895) 


9 Romance in B flat for Viola (or Clarinet) and Piano- 
forte 


do. 1898 


io Five Songs, words from 'England's Helicon' (1600) for 
4 solo voices (SATB) and Pianoforte (with Ger- 
man translation by Alexander Kastner) 


do. 1900 



II) 



II 



12 



Dedicated to A. Foxton- Ferguson 

a. The Shepherd's Consort (out of M. Morley's 

Madrigals) 

b. Damelus' song to his Diaphenia (H. C.) 

c . Love the only price of love (Ignoto) 

d. Wodenfride's song in praise of Amargana 

(W. H.) 

e . A sweet Pastoral (N. Breton) 

No. 



1. Ballade for 'Cello and Pianoforte 
Dedicated to W. E. Whitehouse 



do. 1900 



No. 



2. Adagio in E flat for 'Cello (or French Horn) 
and Pianoforte 
Dedicated to Paul Ludivig 

Six Songs, low voice and Pianoforte 

a. Dream Land (Christina Rossetti) 

Dedicated to Muriel Foster 

b. Wenn einstmals mir das Alter naht (Olga von 

Gerstfeldt) (trans, by the composer) 
Dedicated to Olga <von Gerstfeldt 

c. The splendour falls on castle walls (Tennyson) 

d. Some asked me where the rubies grew (Herrick) 

e. Night-Piece (Herrick) 

f. Anacreontic Ode (Fill me, boy, as deep a 

draught — Thomas Moore) 



Acott & Williams 
undated 



134 WORKS BY ERNEST WALKER 

Opus Description 

13 Hymn to Dionysus for Chorus (SATB) and Orch. 

(Words from a chorus in Euripides' Bacchae, trans. 
Gilbert Murray) 
Dedicated to H. P. Alien 

14 Ode to a Nightingale (Keats) for Baritone solo, SATB 

chorus, and orchestra with concertante Clarinet 



J 5 



Publisher 

Novello, vocal 
score, 1906 



do. 1908 



Anacreontic Ode for Baritone and Pianoforte 
(I care not for the idle state — Thomas Moore) 



16 Two Anthems for male voices and organ 

Dedicated to Walter Parratt 

a. I will lift up mine eyes 
also issued for SSA 

b. Lord, Thou hast been our Refuge 
also for SATB 

17 Six Three-part Songs, for SSA and Pianoforte 

1 . Sister awake ! (Anon., From an Elizabethan song- 

book) 1 90 1 

2. Hark, hark, the lark (Shakespeare) (unac- 

companied) 1903 
Dedicated to Ruth, Margery, and Phyllis Eyre 

3. Roses, their sharp spines being gone (Fletcher) 

1903 

Dedicated to the Singing Class at the Clergy 
Daughters' School, Casterton 

4. Song of Proserpine (Shelley) 1905 

5. Say, dainty dames (Weelkes' Ballets and Mad- 

rigals, 1598) 1907 
Dedicated to Ruth, Margery, and Phyllis Eyre 

6. Urchins and Elves (Ravenscroft) 1908 

18 Song with Pianoforte: Corinna's going a-maying 

(Herri ck) 

Dedicated to Plunket Greene 

19 Two Songs with Pianoforte 

1. Stars of the summer night (Longfellow) 
Dedicated to Francis Harford 

2. The Three Fishers (Kingsley) 



Joseph Williams 
1890 

Paxton, 1899 

Revised and re-issued 
by Novello, 1947 



Joseph Williams 



Boosey, 1902 



Willcocks, Berners 
St., 1903 



WORKS BY ERNEST WALKER 



135 



Publisher 



Opus Description 

20 Minuet and Trio for two Violins and Pianoforte Vincent Music Co., 

Dedicated to the Violin Class, Sydenham High Berners St., 1903 
School for Girls 



21 Song with Pianoforte: Bluebells from the Clearings 

(W. E. Henley) 

(Charles Phillips Competition Prize) 

22 Intermezzo for Strings (two Clarinets ad lib.) and 

Pianoforte 

Dedicated to the Orchestra of the Sydenham High 
School for Girls 

23 Prelude and Fugue in D, for Organ 

Dedicated to Basil Hamxood 

24 Four-part Song (SATB unaccompanied) 

The splendour falls on castle walls (Tennyson) 

25 Three-part Song for SSA and Pianoforte 

The World's Wanderers (Shelley) 

26 Four-part Song, for TTBB unaccompanied 

Liberty (Shelley) 

27 Three Songs with Pianoforte 

1. Hey Nonny No! (Elizabethan MS.) 

2. In the spring twilight (Sydney Dobell) 

3. Snowdrops (Sydney Dobell) 

28 Song with Pianoforte 

Come into the garden, Maud (Tennyson) 

29 Sonata in C for Viola and Pianoforte 

30 Three Part-songs for SSA unaccompanied 

1. To Music (Herrick) 19 12 

2. Epitaph upon a Virgin (Herrick) 1914 

3. Upon a child that died (Herrick) 19 14 

31 Song for SSA and Pianoforte 

In Pride of May (words from an Elizabethan song- 
book) 



Elkin, 1904 



Vincent, 1906 



Stainer 8c Bell 
1908 

do. 



do. 



do. 



do. 1909 



do. 1911 



Schott, 19 12 
(composed 1897) 

Joseph Williams 



Curwen, 19 14 



I36 WORKS BY ERNEST WALKER 

Opus Description 

32 Fantasia for String Quartet in D 



33 Part-song for SATB unaccompanied 

Orpheus with his lute (Shakespeare) 

34 Song for six soprano voices, unaccompanied 

Full fathom five (Shakespeare) 

35 Incidental music for Euripides' Rhesus. 

In Greek. Male voices, unison and two-part 

36 Five Songs 

1. Sweet Obscurity (Robert Greene) for unison 

voices and Pianoforte 

2. Hymn to Diana (Ben Jonson) for three voices and 

Pianoforte 

3. A Hawk's up, for a Hunt's up (Ravenscroft) for 

two voices and Pianoforte 

4. Sleep (Beaumont and Fletcher) for two voices 

and Pianoforte 

5. To an Autumn Rose (Mary Scott) for two voices 

and Pianoforte 

37 Prelude in E flat for Pianoforte 

(Used for Variations in op. 44) 
Dedicated to I.M.C. 

38 Songs with small orchestra (or Pianoforte) 

Dedicated to Dorothy Silk and Adrian Boult 

1. Summer Rain (Dobell) 

2. Sleep Song (Dobell) 

39 Six Duettinos for Pianoforte duet 

40 Variations on a Theme of Joachim for Violin and 

Pianoforte 

Dedicated to Jelly d'Aranyi 

41 Sonata in F minor for 'Cello and Pianoforte 



42 Three Dedications for Pianoforte 

Dedicated to Mrs. C. S. Deneke, H. C. Deneke, and 
M. Deneke 



Publisher 

Fischer, New 

York, 1923 

Novello, 1947 

(composed 1905) 

Stainer & Bell 
1922 

do. 

Oxford University 
Dramatic Society 
1923 

O.U.P. 1924 



O.U.P. 1925 
(composed 1904) 

O.U.P. 1926 



do. 

O.U.P. 1927 
(composed 19 18) 



O.U.P. 1928 
(composed 19 14) 

O.U.P. 1929 



WORKS BY ERNEST WALKER 

Opus Description 

43 Easter Piece for Pianoforte 



44 



Dedicated to Margaret Denehe 

Sonata in E flat for Violin and Pianoforte 
Dedicated to Gabriele Wietrcnjoetz. 



45 Fantasia-Variations on a Norfolk Folk-song ('Lovely 

Joan') 
For Pianoforte duet, and also scored for orchestra 
by the composer. 
Dedicated to Margaret Deneke 

46 Four Miniatures for Pianoforte 

Dedicated to Mrs. C. S. Denehe, for her and hers 

1. Ground 

2. Scherzetto (for a small dog) 

3. Canon 

4. Ostinato 

47 Study for the left hand (Pianoforte) 

48 Song for SSATBB unaccompanied 

Soft Music (Herrick) 

49 Three Fughettas, for Pianoforte 

50 Ten Preludes for Organ on the Lady Margaret Hall 

Hymn Tunes. (For details see op. 51) 

51 The Lady Margaret Hall Hymn Tunes 

Dedicated to H. C. and M. Deneke 

1. Buckau — for Herbert's 'Discipline' (Throw away 

Thy rod) 

2. Norham — for Herbert's 'Praise' (King of Glory, 

King of Peace) 

3. Water Meadow — for C. Rossetti's 'A Better 

Resurrection' (I have no wit, no words, no 
tears) 

4. Cambridge Gate — for Blake's 'To Mercy, Pity, 

Peace and Love' 

5. Warwick Haven — for Francis Quarles's 'Thou 

art my life' 

6. Overstrand — for Fletcher's 'Drop, drop, slow 

tears' 

7. Windy Peak — for Vaughan's 'Nativity' (Awake, 

glad heart) 



137 
Publisher 
Augener, 1929 

O.U.P. 1930 
(composed 19 10) 

O.U.P. 1930 



O.U.P. 1931 



Augener, 1931 
(composed 1901) 

O.U.P. 1931 



O.U.P. 1932 
Novello, 1932 

do. 



138 WORKS BY ERNEST WALKER 

Opus Description 

S. Lctmathe — for Vaughan's 'Peace' (My soul, there 
is a country) 

9. Gunfield — for Vaughan's 'Cheerfulness' (Lord, 
with what courage and delight) 

10. Denmark Hill — for Sidney's 'O Lord, in me 
there lieth nought' 

52 Motet for SSA unaccompanied 

The earth is the Lord's (also arranged for TBB) 
Dedicated to the Choirmaster and Choir of Lady 
Margaret Hall, Oxford 

53 West African Fantasia for Pianoforte duet 

54 Christmas Piece for Pianoforte 

Dedicated to C. S. D., H. C. D., and M. D. 

55 Choral Song, for SATB unaccompanied 

Sunset and evening star (Tennyson) 

56 Motet for SATB unaccompanied 

One generation passeth away (Ecclesiastes) 

57 Rhapsody and Fugue for Pianoforte duet 



58 Motet for SSA (unaccompanied or with ad lib. Piano- 

forte or Organ part) 

Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness 
(Isaiah) 

Dedicated to the Choirmaster and Choir of Lady 
Margaret Hall, Oxford 

59 Londonderry Air, arranged for Violin and Pianoforte 

60 A Waltz Suite for two Pianofortes 

61 Prelude for the left hand (Pianoforte) 

62 Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in D for Female Voices 

and Organ. (Mainly unison but some solos and 
some three-part writing) 

Dedicated to the Choirmaster and Choir of Lady 
Margaret Hall, Oxford 

63 West African Fantasietta for Pianoforte solo 



Publisher 
Novello, 1932 



Novello, 1933 

O.U.P. 1933 
Augener, 1933 



O.U.P. 1934 
(composed 1932) 

O.U.P. 1934 



O.U.P. 1934 
(composed 1932) 

Stainer & Bell 
1934 



O.U.P. 1935 
do. 
Augener, 1935 
O.U.P. 1935 



Augener, 1935 



WORKS BY ERNEST WALKER 1 39 

Opus Description Publisher 

64 Canon for two equal voices and Pianoforte Stainer & Bell 

'Ring out, wild bells' (Tennyson) *937 
Dedicated to the Gunfield Choir 

6$ Dirge in Woods (Meredith) for SATB unaccompanied O.U.P. 1939 



r 



Published without Opus Number: 

Six two-part Solfeggi with Pianoforte accompaniment Joseph Williams 

1894 

EDITIONS AND ARRANGEMENTS 

Ten Selected Arias from the Church Cantatas of J. S. Bach Joseph Williams 

undated 

Ten Selected Arias from the Operas of Handel do. 

Song: 'Muses, bring your garlands hither' from Purcell's 

'Elegy on the Death of Mr. John Playford' O.U.P. 'Old 

Master' Series 
1927 

'The Brooklet' (song by Edward Loder) arr. for Pianoforte Augener, 1937 
solo 

Londonderry Air (see op. 59) 

Edition of Three Posthumous Pieces for Pianoforte by Novello, 1947 
Mendelssohn 

1. Tm Kahn' 

2. Song without words 

3. Canon 

Allegro assai from Mendelssohn's String Quartet in F do. 

minor, arr. for Pianoforte 

UNPUBLISHED WORKS 
1892 Lyrics for Strings 
1892 Rhapsody in G minor for Pianoforte 

1892 Psalm 130, 'De Profundis' for Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orchestra. 

1893 Madrigal for five voices, 'Brown is my love' 

1894 'From the Upland and the Sea' (William Morris) for Baritone, Pianoforte, 

and String Quartet 
Song, 'A Message' (G. H. F. Cookson) 
Song, 'Le Tsigane dans la lune' (Jean Lahor) 



I4O WORKS BY ERNEST WALKER 

1595 Album Leaf for Pianoforte, No. 1 
Song, 'Why so pale and wan ?' (Suckling) 

1596 Trio in C minor for Pianoforte, Violin, and 'Cello 

1597 Mazurka for Pianoforte 

Concert Overture in F minor for Orchestra 

Stabat Mater for four solo voices, eight-part Chorus, and Orchestra 

1S9S Album Leaf for Pianoforte, No. 2 
Intermezzo in Tenths for Pianoforte 
Three songs (words by Olga von Gerstfeldt) 

1S99 Quartet in D for Pianoforte and Strings 

1900 Quintet in B flat minor for Horn and Strings 

Newport School Song (words by L. W. P. Lewis) 

1902 Song, 'The Wind on the Wold' (W. E. Henley) I* **^ 
Three War Songs from Tennyson's 'The Princess' 
Two duets for Soprano and Baritone with Pianoforte 

1 . My dearest love, since thou wilt go (Herrick) 

2. You that wont to my pipe's sound (words from an Elizabethan 

song-book) 

1903 Song, 'Camilla fair' (words from an Elizabethan song-book) 

1904 Duets for Contralto and Tenor (words by Heine) 

Seven short pieces for Pianoforte ('The days of the week') 

(No. 1 published as op. 37) 
Romance and Caprice for Violin and Pianoforte 
Cadenzas to Mozart's Pianoforte Concerto in D minor, K. 466 

1905 Quintet in A for Pianoforte and Strings 

1907 Variations on an original theme, for Viola and Pianoforte 

1909 Song 'To Althea' (Lovelace) 

For the album of the Lovelace Club, Worcester College, Oxford 

1910 Quartet in C minor for Piano and Strings 

Choral Lyric: 'Neptune's Empire' (Campion) for Chorus and Orchestra 

191 1 Ground for Strings (for Mrs. Molyneux and the Oxford High School 

for Girls Orchestra) 

19 1 3 Variations on an original theme for Pianoforte (left hand), Clarinet, 
Violin, Viola, and 'Cello (for Paul Wittgenstein) 

19 1 5 Cadenzas to Beethoven's Pianoforte concerto in C minor 

1935 Cadenzas to Mozart's Pianoforte Concerti 

1. B flat K. 456 

2. C major K. 467 

3. A major K. 488 

1937 Song with Pianoforte accompaniment from Schiller's 'Wilhelm Tell' 



Index 



Abbott, Evelyn, 15. 
Acland, Sarah, 115. 
Allen, Sir H. P., 60-2, 71, 72, 95. 
Anderson, F. M., 17, 50. 
Andrews, Dr. H. K., 96. 
Anerley, 4, 5, 8, 22, 49, 73. 
d'Aranyi, Adila, 76. 
d'Aranyi, Jelly, 76. 
Armstrong, Dr. Thomas, 65, 67, 89, 
96, 108. 

Bailey, Cyril, v, 87. 
Bauer, Harold, 11, 66, 100. 
Beatrice, Princess, 57, 58. 
Beaumont, Captain, 10. 
Benecke, P. V. M., 47, 96. 
Bennett, Sir W. Sterndale, 46. 
Benson, A. C, 45. 
Bernhardt, Sarah, 52. 
Bispham, David, 76. 
Borwick, Leonard, 76. 
Boult, Sir Adrian, 67, 126. 
Bowdon, 2. 

Bower, Dr. J. Dykes, 89, 91. 
Bradley, Andrew, 33. 
Busch, Dr. Adolf, 76. 
Bush, Dr. Geoffrey, 95. 
Butler, Dr. Montagu, 41, 43. 

Caird, Dr. Edward, 75, 79. 

Carlyle, Dr. A. J., 115. 

Carlyle, E. I., 112. 

Carter, Reginald, 54. 

Casals, Pau, 56-9. 

Cellier, Charles, 8. 

Colles, Dr. H. C, 121. 

Collins, H. B., 107. 

Connaught, Duke of, 57, 58. 

Cooper, Caroline (see Caroline 

Walker). 
Cooper, Mrs. and Emily, 2. 
Cooper, Ida, 74. 
Crystal Palace, 6, 9, 10, 12, 114. 



Darbishire, F., 41. 
Davies, Fanny, 76. 
Davies, Sir Walford, 117. 
Dawnay, The Hon. Norah, 86. 
Deneke family, 90, 92, 93, 99. 
Denniston, J. and M., 116. 
Dodd, Francis, v. 
Dohnanyi, 55. 
Drewitt, J. A. J., 112. 
Dry, Wakeling, 105. 
Dyson, Sir George, 72. 

Einstein, Albert, 91. 
Elgar, Sir Edward, 109-11. 
Elwes, Gervase, 56, 76, 78. 
Eyre, The Misses, 121. 

Farmer, Gabriel, 29, 42, 86. 
Farmer, John, 29, 33, 38, 40-44, 47, 

50, 55, 70, 73> 79' 8 4> 86. 
Farmer, Mary (Mrs. Burnet), 29, 42, 

50, 51, 52, 55. 
Farnell, Sylvia, 115. 
Fillunger, Marie, 56, 76, 78. 
Florence, Evangeline, 51. 
Foss, Hubert, 94. 
Fox-Strangways, A. H., 94. 
Foxton-Ferguson, Arthur, 49. 
Frankel, Ernest, 68. 
Free Thought and the Musician, 108, 

in. 

Gaisford, Dean, 40. 

Gates, Cecilia, 86. 

Gibbon, Rev. H. H., 85. 

Gibson, Alfred, 50, 76. 

Girls' Public Day School Trust, 54, 

70, 90. 
Glover, Cedric, 86. 
Goodwin, Una, 116. 
Gordon, C. J. M., 17, 18, 29. 
Gore, Charles, Bishop, 23, 24. 
Gotch, Rosamund, 90, 115. 



1 4 2 



INDEX 



Greene, Plunket, 56, 76. 

Grove, Sir George, 119. 
Guniield, 91, 94, 115, 116. 
Guntuld Choir (L.M.H. domestic 
staff), 91. 

Hadow, Sir \V. II., 47, 48, 55, 87. 
Hardie, W. R., 15, 16. 
Harris, Dr. W. H., 67, 89, 117. 
Il.uvev, Franklin, 47. 
Harvey, Trevor, 67, and on illustra- 
tion facing page 112. 
H.irwood, Dr. Basil, 43. 
Hausmann, Robert, 76. 
Hely-Hutchinson, Dr. Victor, 67, 89. 
Heseltine, Philip, 66. 
Hess, Alice, v. 
Hess, Dame Myra, 86. 
Hockley, G. W., 17, 22, 23. 
Hoist, Gustav, 56. 
Hough, W. J., 96. 
Howes, Frank, 67, 98, 103. 

Uiffe, Dr. Frederick, 44, 45. 

Jackson, F. H., 42. 
Jacques, Dr. Reginald, 67. 
Joachim, Harold, 41, 47, 76. 
Joachim, Joseph, 55, 76. 
Jowett, Benjamin, 15, 16, 29, 30, 31-3, 
37,40, 41, 43, 74, 75. 

Kelly, F. S., 78, 80. 

Keys, Dr. Ivor, v, 101, 104, 119. 

Lady Margaret Hall Choir, 99, 127. 

Ley, Dr. H. G., 67, 123. 

Lindsay, A. D. (Lord Lindsay of 

Birker), 85, 87. 
Lewis, the family, 115. 
Lloyd, Dr. Charles, 45, 46. 
Lomas, John, 47. 

Longuet-Higgins, Christopher, 95. 
'Lulu', 4. 

Mclnnes, Campbell, 68,76. 
Mackie, Dr. William, 67. 



Mahler, Gustav, 52, 54. 
Malvern, 31, 32. 
Manns, August, 12. 
Marchant, Sir Stanley, 63. 
May, Florence, 55. 
Mee, Dr. J. H., 48, 49. 
Merk, F. H., 8. 
Molyneux, Miss Bel, 115. 
Montgomery, Bruce, 95. 
Music, History of, in England, 1, 
105-7. 

Nettleship, R. L., 15, 16, 33-7, 50, 

118. 
Nettleship, Mrs., 34, 36-8. 
Newman, Ernest, 107. 
Newman, Dr. Sidney, 67. 
Nicholls, Agnes, 78. 
'Nigger', 74, 10 1. 

Osborne, 56, 57. 
Ouseley, Professor, 10, 49. 
Oxford 

position of music in, 1. 

neighbourhood of, 27. 

musicians 1887-1900, 47. 

University Musical Club, 47-9, 60, 
68, 97. 

University Musical Union, 49. 

Public Classical and Public Sub- 
scription Concerts, 47, 60. 

Magazine, 54. 

Ladies' Musical Society, 72. 

Palmer, E. J., Bishop, 17, 29, 32, 52. 
Papillon, Rev. T. A., 7. 
Paravicini, Francis de, 15. 
Parratt, Sir Walter, 64, 79. 
Parry, Sir Hubert, 67, 69, 92. 
Pater, Walter, 20, 21. 
Pauer, Ernst, 9, 10. 
Peel, Graham, 68. 
Pelham-Clinton, Lord Edward, 57, 

58. 
Penalvern School, 6. 
Perroud, 30, 31. 



INDEX 



H3 



'Peter', 74, 10 1. 
Phillips, Charles, 56. 
Pickard-Cambridge, Sir A. W., 77. 
Platnauer, Maurice, 89. 
Poole, Mrs. Lane, 95. 
Price, Mabel, 95, 115. 

Ravel, Maurice, v, 100. 
Reid, Margaret, 91. 
Rhesus of Euripides, 15. 
Richards, Rev. Dr. G. C, 14. 
Richter, Alfred, 10. 
Richter, Friedrich, 10. 
Roberts, Dr. J. Varley, 46, 47. 
Rorke, J. B. M., 11-13. 
Royal College of Music, 9, 71, 90. 

St. Margaret's Road, Oxford, 68, 73, 

94' 97- 
Scholes, Dr. Percy, 94, 95. 

Scholes, Mrs., 94. 

Schulz, Erna, 74. 

Schweitzer, Dr. Albert, 91, 92, 98. 

Silk, Dorothy, 76, 126. 

Simey, George, 41. 

Skipworth, Margaret, 115. 

Smith, A. L., 75. 

Smith, Professor J. A., 82-4, 88. 

Smith, Louis, 117. 

Smith, N. F., 85. 

Soldat, Marie, 76, 91. 

South Norwood College, 6. 

Southwold, 93, 94, 116. 

Spelsbury, 114. 

Spooner, Rev. W. A., 16. 

Stainer, Sir John, 10, 49, 64. 

Stanford, Sir Charles, 64. 

Stanton, Professor W. K., 66, 67. 

Strachan-Davidson, J. L., 16, 35, 75, 

84, 85. 

Sweden, the late King of, 115. 

Switzerland, 29, 94. 

Taylor, James and family, 46. 
Taylor, Kitty and Philip, 96. 
Temple, William, Archbishop, 77. 



Tertis, Lionel, 76. 

Tovey, Sir Donald Francis, 49, 54, 

55' 59' 7°> 7*> 7 6 > 79" 82 > 9*> 93» 
94, 101, 116. 

Venables, Mary, 45, 90, 115. 
Victoria, Queen, 57, 58. 
VinogradofF, Professor Paul, 112. 

Walker, Caroline {ne'e Cooper), 2, 3, 

43> 73' 74' 81. 
Walker, Edward, 2, 3, 36, 73, 80. 
Walker, Ernest 

aspects of music combined in him, 1. 

birth, Bombay, 2. 

parents, 4, 5. 

early interests, 6. 

at private schools, 6, 7. 

music teachers, 8-10. 

earliest musical memories, 11-13. 

Balliol undergraduate, 14. 

academic record, 14—16. 

assistant organist to Farmer, 16. 

early diaries, 17, 18. 

books read, 19. 

religious views, 18, 21-6. 

essay on Erasmus, 16, 26, 27, 33. 

love of Nature, 27-9. 

early songs, 29. 

relation to Jowett, 29-33. 
to Nettleship, 33—7. 
to Warrack, 38-9. 
to Farmer, 41-4. 

early diaries on musical experiences, 

5°-4- 
beginnings in musical criticism, 54, 

55- 
accompanist, 55. 

President Oxford University Musi- 
cal Club, Librarian, 60. 

work for music in the University, 
61. 

relation to H. P. Allen, 62. 

Choragus, 62. 

in war, 1914-18, 63. 

as teacher, 64-8. 



i 4 4 



INDEX 



Walker, Ernest (cont.) 
as examiner, 68-72. 
Organist and Director of Music at 

Balliol, 73 seq. 
first performances in England of 

some works of Brahms, Scriabine, 

Debussy, 77. 
friendship with F. S. Kelly and 

D. F. Tovey, 78, 79. 
resignation of Directorship of 

Music at Balliol, 85. 
Board of Studies and Faculty of 

Music, 61, 89. 
last days, 96, 97. 
interest in pianoforte harmonics, 

100. 
methods of composition, 102-4. 
Beethoven, 105; History of Music in 

England, 105-7. 
musical essays, 107, 108. 



Walker, Ernest (cont.) 

analytical notes, 109. 

Free Thought and the Musician, 108, 
in. 

interest in chess, 112, 113. 

characteristics, 1 14-18. 
Walton, William, 67. 
Warrack, Charles, 15, 33, 38, 39. 
Watson, Dr. Sydney, 67. 
Webb, Dorothea, 86. 
Westrup, Professor J. A., 98. 
Williams, Arthur, 91. 
Williams, Joseph, 55. 
Williams, Dr. R. Vaughan, 128. 
Wilson, Sir Steuart, 76. 
Wittgenstein, Paul, 97. 
Wood, Dr. Thomas, 97, 98. 

Yorke, Philip, 58. 
Young, Dalhousie, 41. 



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