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Parry - Orchestral Works

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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  • Orchestra: Royal Scottish National Orchestra
  • Conductor: Andrew Penny
  • Composer: Hubert Parry
  • Audio CD (17 Sept. 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000001497
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,026 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x998a342c) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9962d5f4) out of 5 stars Spirited and animated Symphonic Variations 2 Nov. 1998
By DiggaFromDover - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Being an American, this CD constituted my first exposure to the music of Charles Hubert Parry. Since then I have acquired and enjoyed much more of the work of the almost forgotten victorian master. This CD remains a favorite. For those unfamiliar with Parry, he was a contemporary of Wagner and Brahms, impressed by both. His music was most popular before the first world war, but - at least the symphonic music - lay almost forgotten after his death in 1918. Very "english" in style, he wrote 5 symphonies, a wonderful piano concerto and innumerable works for chorus, including "Jerusalem" and "I was glad." The renditions of the second symphony and "overture for an unwritten tragedy" are good, but the reading of the "Symphonic Variations" stands out. Given a deliberately light touch, it rollicks, not plods. The hornpipe-like main theme is agreeably varied until, in the last bars of the piece, it inverts to a well known nautical theme, which I will not reveal. Buy it to find out. Incidentally, there exists a fine series of reading of the Parry Symphonies on Chandos, but the "Symphonic Variations" as recorded there is much more deliberate, measured and leaden.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9962d648) out of 5 stars Das Land Ohne Musik 16 Oct. 2007
By Joseph Barbarie - Published on
Format: Audio CD
"Das Land ohne Musik," was Mendelssohn's grim verdict on English musical culture ("the land without music"). He was right, at the time. Aside from Purcell -- who predates Vivaldi, in any event -- those musicians most closely associated with England, i.e., Handel, Haydn, Clementi, Cramer, Salomon, Pleyel, were emigres, usually from Austria or Germany.

However, the latter part of the 19th century saw the flowering of native English composers. While modern taste seems to have given the laurels to the mincing Sir Arthur Sullivan (and his pale "Savoy Operas") or the lush Gothic Romanticism of Elgar, the truth is these two were but tips of a decently-sized iceberg. Names like Parry, Stanford, Sterndale Bennett, and Attwood have become footnotes in musical encyclopedias. There may now be a bit of revival (courtesy of adventurous labels like Naxos, or Hyperion, whose approach tends towards chauvinism in favor of British composers).

Parry's symphonic talent is on full display in this Naxos offering, particularly his knack for writing punchy little cells with strong accents which are particularly ripe for symphonic argument. In addition, their compactness allows for transmogrification back and forth between melody and accompaniment. While the technique goes back to Haydn, Beethoven is recognized as its avatar. The main themes of Symphony No. 2's scherzo and of the "Overture to an Unwritten Tragedy" are examples of this.

There is something Schumannesque, as well, in Parry's orchestral sound, in its richness and brightness. At times, as well, Parry's massive slabs of brass and strings have a Nordic or Russian bulk to them, like Sibelius or Tschaikovsky.

The playing on this disc is probably not the best (I detected some sour horn-intonation here and there) but this is a small price to pay for such a welcome recovery from that lost or overlooked portion of symphonic literature.

This is strongly recommended for fans of symphonic music of the old, better stamp (i.e., Beethoven, Sibelius).
HASH(0x9962da80) out of 5 stars Fine introduction to the music of Hubert Parry 29 Aug. 2012
By Paul F. Brooks - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These comments are for the Naxos CD of music composed by the Englishman Hubert Parry (1848-1918) consisting of "The Overture to an Unwritten Tragedy", Symphony No.2 and Symphonic Variations in E. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Andrew Penny made these recording in Glasgow, Scotland during August and September 1995.

My introduction to this composer was throught listening to the on-line classical music programs on KUSC in Los Angeles. I am at the computer several hours each day so I listen to KUSC at I work. When I hear something that the appeals to me I look at the play list and make a notation. So much of the on-line rotations are from the standard repertoire, which is wonderful, but I believe that I need to expand my musical horizons occasionally. I purchased this disk through Amazon and greatly enjoed the music. I intend to increase my collection of Baron Parry compositions in the future.

I cannot recommend this music based upon formal musical education or comparisons with other versions of identical pieces of music by different orchestras. I can only say I enjoyed listening to Parry's musical compositions and suggest that you may like them too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9962da68) out of 5 stars Good Interpretation 31 May 2011
By Hegelian - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Penny offers a well-thought out interpretation of these works with more a bit more pizzaz and sparkle than Bamert on Chandos. Unfortunately, the Scottish orchestra does not play with the finess of the London Philharmonic, so the Chandos disc remains a first choice. Still, fans of these wonderful works (especially the symphony) will enjoy hearing another take on them.
0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9962df30) out of 5 stars Fine symphony 13 Jan. 2003
By LeDuc de Acatlpolko - Published on
Format: Audio CD
After listening this compilation of Parry's works I discovered that he was truly capable of creating "music", the kind of thing that sounds as if had been born along with time.
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