Hubert Parry, Cello Sonata in A Major

Charles Hubert Hastings Parry 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. Among his many students were Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frank Bridge and John Ireland.

His Cello Sonata in A Major was completed in 1880 and later revised in 1888. It is a highly romantic work, which shows the influence of Brahms and Schumann, though the musical ideas are definitely English. The opening movement, Allegro, has two long-lined themes. The elegant middle movement, Andante, opens with a brooding and somewhat elegiac vein but is later supplanted by a livelier and more passionate animato section. The finale, Maestoso-allegro, opens with a slow, lugubrious introduction. The main section is based on a long phrased melody which has a hint of a waltz in it.

This is an important example of a late 19th century Romantic British cello sonata. It is well written for both instruments and can be recommended to both amateurs and professionals.

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