Hubert Parry, Manchester Cathedral Choir, Christopher Stokes - Songs Of Farewell

Published Wednesday 19th August 2009
Hubert Parry, Manchester Cathedral Choir, Christopher Stokes - Songs Of Farewell
Hubert Parry, Manchester Cathedral Choir, Christopher Stokes  - Songs Of Farewell

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Naxos 8572104

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918) composed some of the most masterful and moving choral music of the Victorian and Edwardian eras although his innate conservatism places him as a 19th century composer rather than a 20th century one. We open with his magnificent coronation anthem for Edward VII, "I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me" with the Manchester Cathedral Choir and organist Jeffrey Makinson giving us a rousing start. Parry's "Magnificat" and "Nunc Dimittis", both from his "Great Service" of 1881, represent the Anglican choral tradition at its best. We then have a sequence of six "Songs Of Farewell", most of which use secular texts from poets such as Henry Vaughan and John Donne although my favourite is Thomas Campion's "Never Weather-Beaten Sail". All are sung a cappella which gives us a good opportunity to hear how well the choir sing and also how well it has been recorded by Producer Timothy Noon and Engineer Lance Andrews. Next we return to the sacred with the epic "Hear My Words, Ye People" with texts taken from several Old Testament books and a superb performance by the baritone Mark Rowlinson. We conclude with the well known hymn tune "Dear Lord, Here In Thy House Of Prayer" returned to its original context from the oratorio 'Judith' where it appears as "Long Since In Egypt's Plenteous Land" and then we conclude with Parry's greatest contribution to the choral repertoire, his famous setting of Blake's "Jerusalem". If you enjoy traditional English choral music this CD is well worth investigating and at the usual Naxos price it is an absolute bargain.

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