Piano Trio No.2 in b minor
"Parry was the first English composer whose development could be traced to the concerted practice of chamber music. Parry’s Second Piano Trio in b minor, which dates from 1884, is a pioneering work with a rich flow of supple melody."--H.C. Colles writing in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music.
Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918) was born in Bournemouth, England. As far as music went, he received some lessons on the piano as a youth but did not formally study music. He was educated Eton and Oxford and though he showed an extraordinary aptitude for music, he took a degree in law and modern history as his father wanted him to have a career in commerce. From 1870 to 1877 he worked in the insurance industry, but at the same time studied with William Sterndale Bennett, and later with the pianist Edward Dannreuther when Brahms proved to be unavailable. After leaving the insurance industry, Parry became a full-time musician and during the last decades of the 19th century was widely regarded as one of England’s finest composers. In the 1890s he became director of the Royal College of Music and was appointed Professor of Music at Oxford.
Many felt that Parry’s tremendous promise as a composer was hampered by the immense amount of work he took on as a teacher and administrator. He helped establish classical music at the centre of English cultural life. As head of the Royal College of Music, his pupils included Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frank Bridge and John Ireland.
The opening movement, Maestoso--Allegro con fuoco, begins with an slow, stately introduction which is seamlessly incorporated into the turbulent and passionate first theme of the Allegro. The whole movement is permeated with intense rhythmical energy. A highly lyrical slow movement, Lento, follows. Then comes a buoyant scherzo, Allegro vivace, with a melodious trio. The finale, Maestoso--Allegro con moto, begins with an introduction which recalls the first movement. The main theme of the Allegro (where our sound-bite begins) is Brahmsian in nature, but melodies from each of the preceding movements make brief appearances in altered forms.
Out of print since the end of the First World War, this is a work which would do well in the concert hall but can also be enjoyed fully by amateurs.