Alec Rowley (1892-1958) was a pupil of Frederick Corder at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He was a composer, organist and pianist, who taught composition at Trinity College in London. He broadcast frequently in piano duet repertoire with Edgar Moy, and his name was known to many through his writing and through the many educational pieces that he wrote, staple fare for many a beginner or amateur player. His more demanding work as a composer has been unfairly neglected. Rowleys Piano Concerto No.1, scored for piano, strings, and percussion, was first performed in 1938.
He was for many years the organist of St Alban's Church, Teddington and was a contributor to 'The Rotunda', the house magazine of Henry Willis & Sons Ltd.
Rowley composed a large amount of organ music, much of which is of a high quality.
He wrote seven volumes of "Chorale Preludes based on Famous Hymn Tunes".
This brilliant setting comes from the 3rd volume, and the preludes in this volume are for "Christmas, Advent, The Passion - Whitsuntide, and Harvest" use. Of course, the text that Rowley gives for this tune is "Come, ye thankful people, come."
The tune, composed by George Job Elvey (1816-1893) is named after St. George's Chapel at Windsor, where Elvey was organist.
It is a brilliant "toccata-like" setting. Not a French-style toccata, but more in the style of Parry. The harmonies are bold, and keys and dynamics change rapidly. The work is an exciting one from start to finish, ancd covers a lot of ground, especially considering the short duration. The end is grandiose, and really caps off the whole thing splendidly.
If you're looking for a new and fresh Thanksgiving postlude, this may well be the piece for you!
The score is attached below, as well as a photo Alec Rowley, as well as photos of St. Alban's Church, Teddington, where Rowley was organist.
MORE Rowley to come... :-)