Robin Wells
The Whole Note, Canada
October 2015

Sir Hubert Parry’s most famous Church of England standards such as Jerusalem, Dear Lord and Father of mankind (on his hymn tune Repton), the ode Blest pair of sirens, his “Mag and Nunc” (Magnificat and Nunc dimittis) and coronation pieces I was glad and Te Deum are featured alongside lesser-known early works in this excellent recording by the gentlemen and boys of Westminster Abbey. Though some contemporaries saw Parry as overly conventional, one must admit that his music can be rousing and has graced many a royal occasion, not just in his own time but in ours as well.

While I was glad and Te Deum served for coronations throughout the 20th century, Blest pair of sirens—Parry’s setting of Milton’s ode At a Solemn Music, was performed by the Westminster Abbey Choir for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate). By employing the Onyx Brass, this recording pays tribute to the many times brass was introduced in arrangements of Parry’s work, notably those by Grayston Ives. The choir performs as if born to this music and an excellent solo quartet for the Magnificat emerges from its ranks, including a treble solo of great clarity by the young Alexander Kyle. Organist Daniel Cook veritably shines, having been given the over 11-minute Fantasia and Fugue in G Major.