CD review Parry Symphony no.4

PARRY: BBC National Orchestra of Wales / Gamba (Chandos CHAN 10994) ****

Chandos recorded Parry's five symphonies in the early '90s but this new recording of his Fourth Symphony in E minor conducted by Rumon Gamba offers us something different. Instead of the standard 1909 revision, with the stirring moniker Finding the Way and programmatic titles for the four movements, we have a fresher, less disciplined, slightly wayward but equally interesting 1889 first version. Parry supplied a new scherzo for the revision but the original A minor has charm and humour – like Elgar at his frothiest – and the storm-tinged finale relaxes into an optimistic climax. Gamba elicits a vital and engaging performance from the fine orchestra with a nice bloom to the sound. The score was prepared and edited by Jeremy Dibble who did the same for the miniature ballet Proserpine (1912) – with the ladies of the BBC National Chorus of Wales – and Three Movements from Suite Moderne (1892), enjoyable lighter works.
Norman Stinchcombe

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