Parry Te Deum

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COMPOSERS: Hubert Parry
LABELS: Chandos Chaccone
ALBUM TITLE: Parry Te Deum
WORKS: Te Deum; England; The Birds of Aristophanes; Jerusalem; The Glories of Our Blood and State; Magnificat
PERFORMER: Amanda Roocroft (soprano); BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales/Neeme Järvi


This is breast-swelling stuff: the gloriously refulgent opening of Parry’s Te Deum, written to conclude King George V’s coronation in 1911, and brimming with pride and confidence, is a thing of pure sonic splendour. It makes you wonder whether even Elgar is the equal of the older composer at his patriotic, ceremonial finest.

There’s tenderness and delicacy in Parry’s setting too, a sweetly melodic violin enjoying a short solo outing, and rapt choral meditations at ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’. Järvi’s expansively pulsing performance (astonishingly, the work’s premiere recording) is irresistible. So too, of course, is Jerusalem, heard here in Parry’s own orchestration (not Elgar’s), and with the first verse sung by a soloist, the vibrant Amanda Roocroft.

Also receiving its CD premiere is the breezy six-movement suite The Birds of Aristophanes, written for the Cambridge Greek Play of 1883. The flowing Lento sostenuto entr’acte, though sporting Wagnerian influence, is attractively fresh and merits regular outings. I can imagine perkier woodwind pointing in the charming Waltz, but overall the BBC National Orchestra of Wales gives warmly sympathetic renditions of music which was probably completely unfamiliar to them before the recording sessions. The Chandos sound is excellent.


Terry Blain