Parry: Prometheus Unbound; Blest Pair of Sirens

Parry: Prometheus Unbound; Blest Pair of Sirens

CHSA 5317 (Chandos Records, SACD)

FIRST RELEASE (8 September 2023)

Playing time: 70'48"
Tracks: 19
Booklet pages: 44
℗ 2023 Chandos Records Ltd
© 2023 Chandos Records Ltd
Main country of recording: United Kingdom
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Parry: Prometheus Unbound; Blest Pair of Sirens published on 11 September 2023

Sarah Fox, soprano (tracks 1-18)
Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano (tracks 1-18)
David Butt Philip, tenor (tracks 1-18)
Neal Davies, bass-baritone (tracks 1-18)
Crouch End Festival Chorus
David Temple, musical director
London Mozart Players
Simon Blendis, leader
James Orford, organ
William Vann, conductor

Hubert Parry (1848-1918):

Scenes from Shelley's 'Prometheus Unbound' (1880) (first recording)
1-11 Part I. Introduction
12-18 Part II

19 Blest Pair of Sirens (1887)

Hubert Parry, regarded by many (including Elgar) as the finest English composer since Purcell, and as the father of the modern English tradition, is best known for his hymn Jerusalem. His anthem I was glad, written for the coronation of Edward VII, in 1902, has been used also at the coronations of George V, Elizabeth II, and Charles III (who is a proclaimed fan of Parry's music). Inspired initially by the German romantics Mendelssohn and Schumann, Parry quickly became a devotee of Brahms and Wagner, whose influences can be heard in much of his output. But, from his earliest works, his own individual voice can be heard very clearly. Commissioned for the Three Choirs Festival, in Gloucester in 1880, his Scenes from Shelley's Prometheus Unbound is just such an early work. The first performance received a mixed reception, but despite numerous repeat performances, in Cambridge, Oxford and London, all with rave reviews, the piece sank into obscurity. Vernon Handley gave a performance for BBC Radio 3 in 1980, to mark the centenary of the first performance, but this is the first chance for modern audiences to hear this outstanding work.

Recorded 9-10 September 2022 at the Church of St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London NW11, UK.