Neeme Järvi / BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Hubert Parry: Orchestral & Choral Works

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This release of music by Hubert Parry, perhaps the Voice of British Empire, comes complete with its very own booklet note by the Prince of Wales. Most of the music, except for the two big choral songs Jerusalem (one of Parry's standards) and England, has never been recorded before, but a British concertgoer in 1920 would probably have known most of it. It's massive stuff, all quite competently handled by the prolific Neeme Järvi conducting the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, with strong contributions from soprano Amanda Roocroft. Will the album earn Parry new fans? It's possible. The early set of incidental music for The Birds of Aristophanes (1883) is a light, radiant work entirely appropriate to, even if not quite as uproarious as, its subject. And the somber The Glories of Our Blood and State, another early work, is not nearly as jingoistic as it sounds, and in fact it carries overtones of the Brahms German Requiem. The Te Deum, for better or worse, is imbued with the full pomp and circumstance of a royal coronation (it was written for that of King George V), and the Magnificat that closes the album builds on Bach and on Mendelssohn's enthusiasm for him, the presence of which in British musical life during Parry's time is hard to re-create in a modern context. Parry may or may not be your cup of Darjeeling, but the music here is the equal of his better-known works. British music lovers should check it out, especially with strong engineering from Chandos technical staff, working in an unidentified hall.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Te Deum
1 2:12
2 1:49
3 2:42
4 5:17
5 5:13
6 3:38
The Birds of Aristophanes
7 2:48
8 2:30
9 3:26
10 2:33
11 3:21
12 4:51
13 2:42
The Glories of Our Blood and State
14 2:36
15 1:40
16 4:08
17 6:15
18 4:15
19 4:44
20 2:19
21 2:46
22 3:18
blue highlight denotes track pick