The downward swooping theme with which Parry’s Second Piano Trio opens sounds inescapably like late-period Brahms. Yet the fact Ravel once dismissed Elgar as 'tout à fait Mendelssohn' should give pause to anyone inclined to think this is just second-hand Brahms. Perhaps it is a question of our getting to know Parry better.
Certainly there are surprises in the midst of his apparently fluent and polished instrumental writing. The stark and rather bleak motif from which Trio No 2's second movement is derived has some kinship with Parry's song ‘Nightfall in Winter’, a highly characteristic quality yet still not widely known even among many of his admirers. The playful scherzo that follows gives a welcome release to this tense movement; and the way the finale of that Trio recalls themes from both the preceding scherzo and the opening movement is particularly moving in this sympathetic and eloquent account by the Leonore Piano Trio.
The Leonores are joined by violist Rachel Roberts in the Piano Quartet, the richness of texture afforded by her instrument creating an almost symphonic sound. Again, there are moments which forcibly break the impression we are listening to a mere Brahms follower, most particularly the drive and fraught quality of the second movement scherzo, followed by the amorous lyricism of the Andante third movement. Altogether, this is an album to spend time with and relish as one's familiarity with this music grows in performances which capture the genial warmth as well as the seriousness of this great but gently spoken composer.