Anyone listening blind to this selection of chamber music by Englishman (and Baronet) Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918, Hubert his preferred forename) – of Jerusalem fame, the creator of five Symphonies, author of music books, and a professor at and then head of the Royal College of Music – you might think he was German, for there are strong kinships with the scores of Brahms (in particular), Mendelssohn and Schumann. Plenty of passion too, as the opening of the E-minor Piano Trio demonstrates – no English reserve here as emotional drive and sensitive asides vie with one another, locked into a concise first-movement symphonic design, played with conviction and oneness by the Leonore members, excellently recorded. There follows a very lively Molto vivace, air-filled with Mendelssohnian lightness, the Trio section and the Trio players generously expressive. The heart of the piece is an eloquent and intimate Adagio and the Finale (Allegro giocoso) skips along uninhibitedly.
The other Piano Trio here, the G-major, is equally distinguished and rewarding, the first movement – rounded, deep, sinewy – unhurried yet confident, exuding autumnal satisfaction to which the whimsically varied second offers an endearing contrast. The following Lento makes an intense mark from the off, and the diverting fuoco Finale fires on all cylinders, resolutely.
These two impressive Piano Trios (might we now have the Second?) – which I cordially invite you to investigate should they be, as they were to me, unfamiliar – are followed by the Partita for Violin and Piano, comprising six short and attractive sections, mostly utilising dance forms (Allemande, Bourrée, Passepied...), Parry in Baroque mode if romanticised, as relished as in his Classical leanings, spirited in the ‘Courante’ and heartfelt in the ‘Sarabande’, all played as a true duo by Benjamin Nabarro and Tim Horton, recorded with just balance.
All in all, an enlightening release.