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Choir of New College Oxford


Parry: Songs of Farewell and other choral works

Release Date: 25/09/2018

Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918) was a dominant force in British music-making in the four decades between the premiere of Prometheus Unbound in 1879 and his death in October 1918. His music, with that of his contemporary Charles Villiers Stanford, brought his native land into the European musical mainstream, through its assimilation of continental—specifically German—models.

This disc situates Parry’s music in its European context. Parry was a social and political liberal, and crucially—like all the leading British musicians of his time—his horizons extended beyond the island of his birth. His late set of six motets, Songs of Farewell, are among his greatest achievements in any musical genre, demonstrating his capacity for deeply affecting introspection. In this recording, they are prefaced by another sextet: the pithy Sechs Sprüche by Mendelssohn, which make clear the debt Parry owed to his continental forebears and contemporaries.

Moreover, this recording presents, for the first time, an early version of ‘There is an old belief’, edited by Robert Quinney from the autograph manuscripts in Oxford’s Bodleian Library and a printed proof copy. The compositional history of the motet is unclear, but the evidence suggests Parry vacillated between two strikingly different versions of the section ‘serene in changeless prime’ until shortly before publication.

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1 Parry: hear my words, ye people 14.27
2 Mendelssohn: Sechs Spruche, i. Weihnachten 01.32
3 Mendelssohn: Sechs Spruche, ii. Am Neujahrstage 02.31
4 Mendelssohn: Sechs Spruche, iii. Am Himmelfahrtstage 01.37
5 Mendelssohn: Sechs Spruche, iv. In der Passionszeit 01.28
6 Mendelssohn: Sechs Spruche, v. Im Advent 01.40
7 Mendelssohn: Sechs Spruche, vi. Am Karfreitag 01.50
8 Parry: Songs of Farewell, i. My soul, there is a country 04.05
9 Parry: Songs of Farewell, ii. I know my soul hath power 02.19
10 Parry: Songs of Farewell, iii. Never weather-beaten sail 03.31
11 Parry: Songs of Farewell, iv. There is an old belief 04.33
12 Parry: Songs of Farewell, v. At the round earth's imagined corners 07.45
13 Parry: Songs of Farewell, vi. Lord, let me know mine end 10.36
14 Parry: There is an old belief (early version) 05.01
15 Parry: Toccata and Fugue 'The Wander', i. Toccata 06.47
16 Parry: Toccata and Fugue 'The Wanderer', ii. Fugue 09.01