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Choir of New College Oxford

Recordings

Parry: Songs of Farewell and other choral works

Novum NCR1394
RELEASE DATE: 28 September 2018

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2018 marks the centenary of Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918). We hope you will please consider our new release for review. As is well known, Parry was a dominant force in British music making. Yet recent scholarship has demonstrated how his music 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 evidence suggests Parry vacillated between two strikingly different versions of the section ‘serene in changeless prime’ until shortly before publication.