Parry: Scenes from Shelley’s ‘Prometheus Unbound’; Blest Pair of Sirens
Friday, November 10, 2023
A lesser known work brought back to life
The reassessment and rehabilitation of C.H.H. Parry goes on apace. This premiere recording of his early cantata, Scenes from Shelley’s ‘Prometheus Unbound’, commissioned for the 1880 Gloucester Three Choirs Festival, brings back a major composition that suffered initially from a mixed reception from which it barely recovered, despite more appreciative hearings in subsequent years. In 1980 Vernon Handley revived it on BBC Radio 3 to mark the centenary of the premiere, but until now it has remained the province of Parry aficionados. On this CD, conductor William Vann and Parry scholar Jeremy Dibble (who was responsible for the edition used) have brought this work back to life. With four first-class British soloists, the excellent Crouch End Festival Chorus and the London Mozart Players on top form, we can all now evaluate this significant piece, written in the wake of Parry’s encounters with Wagner, the man and his music, in the 1870s. The familiar Blest Pair of Sirens is justifiably relished by the Crouch End Festival Chorus. A significant release.
Sarah Fox (s), Sarah Connolly (m-s), David Butt Philip (t), Neal Davies (b-bar), Crouch End Festival Chorus, London Mozart Players / William Vann (dir) Chandos CHSA 5317 [70:48]