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Symphonic Variations, Concertstuck in G Minor, From Death to Life, Elegy for Brahms.
London Philharmonic Orchestra Matthias Bamert.
Chandos Collect CHAN6610 54m DDD.
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Chandos have already issued these recordings twice beforebut their inclusion in the newly revamped budget price 'Collect' series is more than welcome. I remember vividly the furore these Parry works caused when they were issued in the early 90's, such was the excitement of a major re-discovery of one of the major symphonists in British music. The Symphonic Variations is perhaps the more better known, not least in Boult's old EMI version but Bamert is practically unchallenged here, not even by Naxos' Andrew Penny's sadly short lived Parry cycle. The Swiss conductor has the measure of the piece and he brings a certain nobility and passion that few rivals can beat.

The Concertstuck is not exactly vintage Parry but is excellently played here whilst the magnificent (if ultimately weak) 'From Death to Life' is superbly handled with the transition from 'Via Mortis' to 'Via Vitae' almost like a cue out of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Finally we have the solemnly eloquent 'Elegy for Brahms', a dolefully nostalgic work which has a wonderfully noble ending.

I have no real qualms about the sound although it can tend to get slightly cavernous at times. Bernard Beloniel reminiscences long and hard about his experiences in editing the Parry scores and at this price any collector who missed the previous issues should snap this up before Chandos happen to change their minds!

Gerald Fenech



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