Norman Gilbert (1912-1975) grew up in Yorkshire and was a student of Sir Edward Bairstow at York Minster. During the 1930's he held positions at St. John's Church, Halifax and St. Paul's Church, Llandudno. Shortly after release from war service, he was appointed Music Master of Headlands Grammar School in Swindon, Wiltshire.
"Paean (Easter)" is the 3rd of his "Pieces for Four Seasons," the other three being for Christmas, Lent, and Whitsuntide. Published in 1959, this is No. 17 in "Novello's Organ Music Club" series.
In his notes from July, 1958 Gilbert wrote of this work: "'Con spirito' is the clue to the successful playing of this piece. The opening three bars and their repetition need to be played with deliberation to off-set the quaver movement which follows."
These "three bars" that the composer refers to are performed on the Solo Tuba in my recording.
The entire work has the "confidence of the 1950's style," and the harmonic language, moving from C to E and back to C is solid and festive. A touch of B-flat before the end, and several long pedal points adds to the feelings of excitement and ceremony.
A photo Norman Gilbert is attached.
Happy Easter to All!
MUCH more Easter music to follow throughout the week! :-)