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Blest pair of sirens

composer
1887; first performed by the Bach Choir on 17 May 1887, Stanford conducting
arranger
organ arrangement
author of text
At a Solemn Music

 
Blest pair of sirens received its first performance by the Bach Choir under the baton of Stanford at the St James’s Hall on 17 May 1887. Admiration for the work had already begun to stir during the rehearsals, not least from Sir George Grove who, as Parry recalled, ‘jumped up with tears in his eyes and shook me over and over again by the hand and the whole choir took up the cue’. At the performance it was, to use Parry’s words, ‘quite uproariously received’ and the composer was greeted with shouts from the audience. A work to mark the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, it was the Bach Choir’s first commission, and one that could not have been more auspicious for English choral music. Parry’s brilliant neo-Baroque concerto structure, thrilling eight-part counterpoint and yearning melody are a perfect match for the Pindaric structure of Milton’s ode At a Solemn Music and the assonance and scansion of the English language. Moreover, in this work Parry achieved an entirely personal fusion of his enthusiasms for Wagner (evident in the paraphrase of Die Meistersinger at the opening) and Brahms with a distinctly English style characterized by the use of a higher diatonic dissonance prevalent in the language of S S Wesley and Stainer.

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2015

Recordings

Locus iste
Studio Master: SIGCD567Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Parry: I was glad & other choral works
Studio Master: CDA68089Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

Track 2 on CDA68089 [10'31]
Track 15 on SIGCD567 [10'22] Download only

Track-specific metadata

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