Scenes From Prometheus
Catalog: CHSA 5317
Sarah Fox Dame Sarah Connolly David Butt Philip Neal Davies Crouch End Festival Chorus London Mozart Players
Hubert Parry (1848 - 1918), regarded by many (including Edward Elgar) as the finest English composer since Purcell, and as the father of the modern English tradition, is best known for his hymn Jerusalem (immortalised by the Women’s Institute and English cricket supporters alike!). His anthem I was glad, written for the coronation of Edward VII, in 1902, has been used also at the coronations of George V, Elizabeth II, and Charles III (who is a proclaimed fan of Parry’s music). He taught composition at London’s Royal College of Music from 1883 to 1895, when he succeeded Sir George Grove as director of the College, a post he held until his death. His distinguished list of pupils included Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Frank Bridge, and John Ireland. Inspired initially by the German romantics Mendelssohn and Schumann, Parry quickly became a devotee of Brahms and Wagner, whose influences can be heard in much of his output. But, from his earliest works, his own individual voice can be heard very clearly. Commissioned for the Three Choirs Festival, in Gloucester in 1880, his Scenes from Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound is just such an early work. The première received a mixed reception, but despite numerous repeat performances, in Cambridge, Oxford, and London, all with rave reviews, the piece sank into obscurity. Vernon Handley gave a performance for BBC Radio 3 in 1980, to mark the centenary of the première, but this world première recording is the first chance for modern audiences to hear this outstanding work.