Leonore Piano Trio / Rachel Roberts

Parry: Piano Trio No. 2; Piano Quartet

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AllMusic Review by James Manheim

Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918) is remembered mostly for big choral works redolent of the late Victorian era. Recordings of his chamber music are rare; the Allmusic.com database lists only one other recording of the Piano Trio No. 2 in B minor recorded here. Both this, and the Piano Quartet in A flat major are mature, serious works of Parry, written for a chamber music series held in a London enthusiast's home, and are both well worth rediscovery. The models of Brahms and Schumann are not far away, and annotator Jeremy Dibble suggests that Parry might well have familiarized himself with Brahms' chamber music at this very series. There is a freedom of form and a general level of passion that exempts the music from any charge of being derivative. Sample the Andante third movement of the Piano Quartet, with its darkly dramatic outburst in the middle; it is unlike anything in the more intricately balanced music of Brahms. The two opening movements have slow introductions with links to the main movements that follow and seem most attractively to unfold those connections as they proceed. These are rather intricate works that were not even terribly well-received in Parry's own day, but the Leonore Piano Trio along with violist Rachel Roberts is to be commended for reviving these in full-blooded, even intense performances. The only complaint here is the sound; the over resonant church acoustic is wrong for music intended for a chamber music fan's living room. One of Hyperion's usual chamber music haunts would have served the music better.

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