19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2001
Sir Hubert Parry's music, as presented here, does not sound especially 'English'. Not for him the nostalgic and elegiac qualities of the English pastoral school. Rather, this music is firmly rooted in the European romantic tradition, the obvious models being Mendelssohn and Dvorak. Yet, this is in no way derivative music. Parry is his own man. Not only is this immensely assured and fluent writing, but Parry has an uncanny talent of finding the right tune at the right moment. Felicitous melodies abound in all three works performed here, making this a disc one returns to with much pleasure; there is never a dull moment.
Andrew Penny directs the RSNO in an excellent performance, being content to let the music speak for its own and not falling into the trap of trying to make it sound more than it is. If Naxos did not already have a Dvorak symphony cycle, I'd say Penny would the the man for the job. The sound is not spectacular, but warm and full; which is just fine - this is not music that needs to leap out of the speakers to grip you by the throat. To get a taste, sample the last couple of minutes of the Symphonic Variations, a worthy and exhilarating conclusion to a very fine disc.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2009
Parry is best known for his 'Blest Pair of Sirens', and 'I Was Glad' choral & orchestral works. The thing is that he wrote so much more, of which he and British Music should be proud. His symphonies are amongst some of his most amazing output. Agreed they are heavily influenced by Brahms, but none the worse for that.
The 2nd Symphony "Cambridge" is probably the most approachable of his symphonic output, and here in the Naxos recording, the Royal Scottish National give a truly musical performance under the excellent baton of Andrew Penny. His insite into British Music of the 19th & 20th centuries deserves to be better known.
This coupling with the Overture to an Unwritten Tragedy, and the Symphonic Variations, makes this a 'must have' disc!