Outlook 23
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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CD Choice
Parry – Choral and Organ Music (The Westminster Abbey Collection. Hyperion Records CDA68089) I wonder how much of Parry’s music you know? I suspect the answer is – much more than you might at first think! There’s ‘Jerusalem’ of course, and ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’ – both included on this splendid anthology of choral and organ music by a composer much revered by both Elgar and Vaughan Williams. ‘He is our leader’, said Elgar of him in 1905. ‘Amidst all the outpourings of modern English Music, the work of Parry remains supreme’, wrote Vaughan Williams. ‘Dear Lord and Father’, originally from Parry’s oratorio ‘Judith’, was later adapted for use in Repton School’s hymn book before its inclusion in the hymn books we use today. It is refreshing to hear it here in a hymn/anthem version by H A Chambers that includes some restoration of earlier versions. The recording, featuring the peerless Westminster Abbey Choir directed by Organist and Choirmaster James O’Donnell, includes a stirring version of ‘I Was Glad’, arranged for organ and brass (superb playing from Onyx Brass), ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’, the Coronation Te Deum, the Evensong canticles known as ‘The Great Service’, ‘Hear My Words’ and the Fantasia and Fugue in G for organ – a great place to start exploring Parry’s exceptional organ music. Parry’s upbringing in the Church of England is clearly evident here, but there is much else to discover in Parry’s music and this CD will surely inspire further listening journeys and explorations. Andrew Clarke