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Geoffrey Parsons

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Biography

Accompanist is a misleading -- even, demeaning -- term for a musician possessing the uncommon range of skills required to project great music in tandem. The first of these is an intuitive rapport making for hand-in-glove unanimity, allied with the unusual temperament to be, so to speak, second among equals. The stylistic awareness and technical resourcefulness demanded of any performing artist and a superb accompanist must be mercurially responsive. Possessed of these gifts in abundance, Geoffrey Parsons was, for nearly a half-century, a favorite keyboard partner to artists on a roster drawn from the 20th century's greatest. Early precocity sent him to the Sydney Conservatory at 12 for study with Busoni pupil Winifred Burston (1941-1948). By the time he completed his studies with Friedrich Wührer in Munich in 1956, he already had a considerable career behind him -- a tour of Australia with Essie Ackland in 1948, a Southampton appearance with Peter Dawson, the Grand Old Man of English song (despite being Australian), in 1950, and an appearance with Gerhard Hüsch in the Schubert cycle, Die Winterreise, in London in 1955. His first recital with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf took place in London's Festival Hall in 1961 -- the beginning of a partnership later to blossom into the favored status of Schwarzkopf's principal accompanist. Victoria de Los Angeles, Rita Streich, Dame Janet Baker, Nicolai Gedda, Hans Hotter, Hughes Cuénod, and Norman Bailey -- among many others -- gave memorable recitals with Parsons and left a considerable legacy of classic recordings, ranging from the restrained purity of Satie's Socrate, with Cuénod, to the jovial rumbustiousness and vernal poetry of Warlock's best songs, with Norman Bailey, though the great lieder composers and mélodistes, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Wolf, Richard Strauss, Mahler, Fauré, and Poulenc were his mainstay. Instrumentalists such as Paul Tortelier, Ida Haendel, and Nathan Milstein often appeared with Parsons. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1971. At the time of his death in 1995 he had become a genial godfather to a new generation of superstar vocalists, including Olaf Bär, Thomas Hampson, and Barbara Bonney. He was also in demand as a teacher, and his master classes were avidly attended.
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Winterreise D911: Im Dorfe featuring Geoffrey Parson
  3.   7 Lieder, Op. 48: I. Der Gang zum Liebchen
  4.   Seltsam ist Juanas Weise (anon trans Geibel) from Spanisches Liederbuch featuring Geoffrey Parson
  5.   12 Gedichte Op. 35: Frage featuring Geoffrey Parson
  6.   Winterreise D911: Rast featuring Geoffrey Parson
  7.   Dichterliebe Op. 48: Ich will meine Seele tauchen featuring Geoffrey Parson
  8.   Liederkreis Op. 39: Zwielicht featuring Geoffrey Parson
  9.   12 Gedichte Op. 35: Stille Tränen featuring Geoffrey Parson
  10.   Tief im Herzen trag' ich Pein (Luis de Camoens trans Geibel) from Spanisches Liederbuch featuring Geoffrey Parson
  11.   Liederkreis Op. 39: Die Stille featuring Geoffrey Parson
  12.   Liederkreis Op. 39: Auf einer Burg featuring Geoffrey Parson
  13.   12 Gedichte Op. 35: Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend featuring Geoffrey Parson
  14.   Und schläfst du, mein Mädchen (Gil Vicente trans Geibel) from Spanisches Liederbuch featuring Geoffrey Parson
  15.   Die Schöne Müllerin D795: Das Wandern featuring Geoffrey Parson
  16.   Winterreise D911: Einsamkeit featuring Geoffrey Parson
  17.   Nun wandre, Maria (Ocana trans Heyse) from Spanisches Liederbuch featuring Geoffrey Parson
  18.   Zärtliche Liebe, WoO 123
  19.   12 Gedichte Op. 35: Alte Laute featuring Geoffrey Parson
  20.   Winterreise D911: Auf dem Flusse featuring Geoffrey Parson
  21.   Dereinst, dereinst, Gedanke mein (Cristobal de Castillejo trans Geibel) from Spanisches Liederbuch featuring Geoffrey Parson
  22.   12 tonadillas al estilo antiguo, H. 136, No. 9, La maja dolorosa: Ay, majo de mi vida
  23.   Liederkreis Op. 24: No. 4, Lieb' Liebchen, leg's Händchen featuring Geoffrey Parson
  24.   Gruppe aus dem Tartarus, D.583
  25.   Winterreise D911: Wasserflut featuring Geoffrey Parson
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