Dr. Joseph J. McGrath was born in Oswego, New York on July 4, 1889. He died in Syracuse, New York on January 23, 1968.
He was a graduate of Syracuse University, a student of Composition under Dr. William Berwald, studied organ with August Wiegand, Gaston Dethier and Charles Courboin, and church music under Msgr. L.P. Manzetti.
A Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, he was Organist and Choir Master of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Syracuse, N.Y. for forty years. He was teacher of harmony and composition at Syracuse University and a lecturer at the Catholic University Summer School.
In 1956 Dr. McGrath was the recipient of an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Le Moyne College. In 1958 he was cited by the National Catholic Music Educators Association for outstanding contributions to music and music education, and his Mass of the Blessed Sacrament was awarded the Prize for that year. The National Association of Music Clubs awarded prizes to his Sonata Romantica and an Organ Sonata. His published compositions include more than 100 choral compositions for Catholic Church Services, organ music, a cantata, string quartets and several piano compositions.
On April 17, 1966, he received a special Papal award, the first time such an honor was given in the Syracuse Diocese.
THANKS to Carson Cooman's kindness, I'm happy to share these beautiful works.
"Andante Cantabile" was published in 1931 as No. 537 as part of the H.W. Gray "St. Cecilia Series. It is dedicated to "Monsignor Howard C. McDowell, Syracuse, NY."
Typically romantic in nature, it has some unexpected twists and attractive harmonic moments.