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HUBERT PARRY  

(1848 - 1918)

An English composer and teacher of relative insignificance in the former capacity, Hubert Parry exercised a strong influence over the music of his time in England, occupying positions both at Oxford and at the newly established Royal College of Music. Some of his compositions have remained popular in England, although much of what he wrote is now generally neglected.

Parry came from a family of some distinction. He was the second son, and third surviving child of Thomas Gambier Parry by his first wife. His father’s maternal great-uncle was Lord Gambier, Admiral of the Fleet, whose name he had taken, while Thomas Parry himself inherited a fortune from his own father, a director in the East India Company. Hubert Parry was educated at Eton, where he was able to distinguish himself in music, not so much in the desultory musical atmosphere that then obtained at the College, but through association with George Elvey at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and from Elvey he was at least able to have sound enough technical instruction and compose music for the choir. While at school he took the Oxford Bachelor of Music degree. At Oxford he made the most of the musical opportunities offered, continuing, as at school, to compose music, particularly songs and sacred music and to enjoy informal musical gatherings, although his university studies were in law and history. During this period he was able to study, in a long vacation, with Henry Hugo Pierson in Stuttgart.

Parry enjoyed an association with the Herbert family, notably with his school-friend George Herbert, 13th Earl of Pembroke. His marriage to Herbert’s sister Maude, an alliance that won the disapproval of his mother-in-law, Lady Herbert, had various consequences. In the first place Parry was obliged to earn a living and this he attempted, with his father’s help. His wife’s variable state of health was to cause continuing worry and difficulties that seemed to impede his musical interests, which remained dominant. Above all, in London he made acquaintance of the pianist and Wagnerian Edward Dannreuther, who became his friend, teacher and adviser.

In 1877, after a winter spent impatiently in Cannes for his wife’s health, Parry gave up his position at the bank. In addition to the income settled on his wife by her family, he had been making a living from his contribution of articles for Grove’s new dictionary of music and musicians. In 1880 Dannreuther played Parry’s Piano Concerto in F sharp major, a choice of key that did not endear him to the orchestra, at the Crystal Palace and success here was followed by a cantata based on Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound for the Gloucester Festival, where it was performed in 1882. At the end of the same year he was invited by Grove to join the new Royal College of Music as Professor of Musical History and shortly afterwards was offered an Honorary Doctorate in Music at Cambridge, where Prometheus Unbound had been performed in 1881 under Stanford. His First Symphony, for which Richter had eventually found no time in his London concert season, was given with some success in Birmingham.

Church Music

Anthems and service-settings by Parry for the Anglican liturgy remain a part of cathedral repertoire, as do a number of well known hymn-tunes.

Choral and Vocal Music

Parry’s setting of Milton’s Blest Pair of Sirens remains a staple item in amateur choral repertoire in England, while part-songs and solo songs also retain an occasional and deserved place in vocal repertoire.

Orchestral Music

Parry’s five symphonies are seldom heard, but the English Suite and Lady Radnor’s Suite, both for string orchestra, make a useful addition to English string orchestra repertoire.

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
Complete National Anthems of the World Marco Polo 8.201001

View by Role: Classical Composer | Lyricist
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ABIDE WITH ME AND OTHER FAVOURITE HYMNS Naxos
8.557578
Choral - Sacred
BEST OF BRITISH Naxos
8.570573-74
Choral - Sacred
BEST OF LONDON Naxos
8.572098-99
Choral - Sacred
BRIDE'S GUIDE TO WEDDING MUSIC (A) Naxos
8.557246-47
Choral - Sacred
Choral Concert: Vasari Singers - PARRY, H. / STANFORD, C.V. / STAINER, J. / NAYLOR, E.W. / WALTON, W. / HOLST, G. / FINZI, G. (Great British Anthems) Naxos
8.572504
Choral - Sacred
Choral Music - BAINTON, E. / THOMPSON, R. / MOZART, W.A. / CASALS, P. / MENDELSSOHN, Felix / PARRY, H. / DURUFLE, M. (Voices of Ascension Chorus) Delos
DE3300
Choral - Sacred
CHORAL WEDDING (A) - A Selection of Favourite Choral Anthems and Hymns for Church Weddings Naxos
8.578196-97
Choral - Sacred
ELEGIE - Classical Favourites for Relaxing and Dreaming Naxos
8.556612
Orchestral
English Organ Music, Vol. 2 Naxos
8.550773
Instrumental
English String Festival Naxos
8.550331
Orchestral
FERRIER, Kathleen: Songs of the British Isles (1949-1952) Naxos Historical
8.111081
Vocal
GREENSLEEVES - English Pastoral Music Naxos
8.557535
Orchestral
HEAR MY PRAYER - CHORAL MUSIC OF THE ENGLISH ROMANTICS Cedille
CDR90000-036
Choral - Secular
LISTEN, LEARN AND GROW, Vol. 2: Lullabies Naxos Educational
8.554790
Orchestral
LYTTE LAERE OG LEGE - VUGGEVISER (Listen, Learn and Play - Lullabies) Naxos
8.570712
Orchestral
Music of Worship and Praise Naxos
8.554578
Choral - Sacred
NATIONAL ANTHEMS OF THE WORLD (COMPLETE) (2005 Edition), Vol. 6: Nagorno-Karabakh - Puerto Rico Marco Polo
8.225324
Orchestral
PARRY, H.: Choral Masterpieces - Songs of Farewell / I Was Glad / Jerusalem (Manchester Cathedral Choir, Stokes) Naxos
8.572104
Choral - Sacred, Choral - Secular, Choral - Sacred
PARRY: Symphony No. 2 / Symphonic Variations in E Minor Naxos
8.553469
Orchestral
Psalms for the Soul Naxos
8.554823
Choral - Sacred
PSALMS FOR THE SPIRIT Naxos
8.557781
Choral - Sacred
Rule Britannia: Last Night of the Proms Naxos
8.553981
Choral - Sacred
Songs of Praise Naxos
8.553876
Choral - Sacred
STORY OF BRITISH CLASSICAL MUSIC (THE) Naxos Educational
8.558193-94
Choral - Sacred
SVEN GORAN ERIKSSONS - Klassiska Favoriter Naxos
8.503135
Choral - Sacred
THANKSGIVING - A Classic Thanksgiving: Songs of Praise Naxos
8.555294
Choral - Sacred, Orchestral
THREE ELIZABETHS (THE): A Musical Celebration of Britain through the Centuries Naxos
8.557032-33
Choral - Sacred
Vocal Recital: Breedt, Michelle - ELGAR, E. / ARNE, T.A. / HORDER, M. / QUILTER, R. / COATES, E. / HARRISON, J. (Shakespeare Inspired) TwoPianists
TP1039077
Vocal
Role: Lyricist 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 




 
 
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