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Parry, H.: Symphonies (Complete)

Parry, H.: Symphonies (Complete)

September 1, 1992
4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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  • Sample this album
    Title by Artist
    0:00 / 0:00
1
12:32
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2
10:56
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3
9:34
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4
9:45
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5
14:04
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Disc 2
1
11:50
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2
7:24
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3
8:09
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4
10:32
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5
7:49
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6
10:05
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7
5:29
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8
11:07
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Disc 3
1
16:13
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2
8:37
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3
7:32
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4
9:26
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5
7:04
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6
5:58
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7
4:46
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8
9:03
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Format: Audio CD
Don't miss these magnificent and sadly neglected symphonies in excellent performances and good sound. There are a few other recordings (the 2nd on Naxos, for example, and an old record of the 5th by Boult), but these either hold their own or beat out all competition. These works radiate a joy in being alive and are unmistakably English. If you love English music, you will love them.
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Format: Audio CD
Charles Parry - the 'English Brahms' - had the misfortune to be contemporary with Elgar and is known, even in the UK, for little more than his beautiful setting of William Blake's poem, 'Jerusalem', the UK's alternative National Anthem. He's far too easily dismissed as Victorian / Edwardian conservative. Born into a wealthy family he was a life-long radical, socialist and atheist. His music is well worth exploring, particularly the fabulous Fourth Symphony which is a dark, majestic piece, contemporary with Brahms' Fourth and sharing the same key and world view. The first movement of the Fourth is as fine as any by Elgar and contains, in the coda, Parry's most troubled writing. It took a Finn - Matthias Bamert - to bring these fine symphonies to a wider audience, but work still remains to be done.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
i was previously only familiar with the 2nd symphony (cambridge) and a piano concerto, so i wanted to explore this composer more fully. the symphony being my favorite musical form, i couldn't resist this set. i am glad i purchased it! i love the playing, and the sound is beautiful! overall, i like parry's symphonies a lot. i've only run through them once, so far, but the 3rd (english) is an immediate stand out.
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There is a reason why most of the world hasn't heard of Sir Charles Hubert Parry. The mediocrity of his music. To me, this sounds like a composer who has not much to say that the great British composers of the time have not. Parry's symphonies seem to me to be a reworking of this British symphonic legacy, with the result of vanilla and generalities. The music is forgettable. An hour after hearing it, I cannot recall any melody, and I come away with no deep musical experience. It certainly has the late romantic English sound, and it is pleasant enough, but there is no unique, memorable voice.

I agree with reviewer JR Trtek. Too much of the same. These five symphonies are actually just one symphony in 20 movements.

This box set reflects a hunger we have for there to be some unknown British composer, anyone, which we might discover and get that fresh excited feeling of a new find. I've tried and tried again to appreciate this one, but alas, I cannot will it into something profound or worthwhile. This is only for the specialist who wants to collect everything that is late romantic British. For the rest of us, maybe a $5 used offering from Amazon's affiliated sellers would be worth it.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't enjoy raining on the parade of the previous reviewers, but I have to say that I've never been able to get into the symphonies of Charles Hubert H. Parry. Certainly the motivation is there: Orchestral music by a lesser-known British composer, something I'm always on the lookout for. The problem, I think, is that I don't find they have a whole lot of personality. Each is pleasant in its own way, but ultimately I feel like I'm facing a crowd of charming but rather boring cousins that all sound pretty much the same. This symphonic collection is extracted from a series of discs originally released separately and with accompanying symphonic poems. These are the editions I owned, and in the end I opted to retain just one, which as I write is still obtainable: The Symphony No. 2 "The Cambridge" paired with Parry's Symphonic Variations. This symphony is to me the most distinctive of the lot, vigorous yet retaining elements of that passive charm that run through Parry's music. Its disc partner, the Symphonic Variations, is a nice work lasting about a quarter hour, having a somewhat flexible late Victorian backbone and sounding in its closing minute at least somewhat like a Korngold film score. My suggestion is to get that one disc; do that and in a sense you've got much of Parry's orchestral expression covered. The only thing missing is his Elegy for Brahms, written the same year as the Variations; it's a thoughtful and moving tribute to Parry's recently deceased fellow composer.
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