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Christmas Suite

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (12/21/16)
Composer: Rowley, Alec
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Mid-20th century
Alec Rowley was born in London on 13 March 1892, teacher, composer, organist, pianist, lecturer and writer, who studied at the RAM with Frederick Corder and where he won sundry scholarships and prizes. He was an organist at several London churches including, during the Second World War, St Margaret's, Westminster. As a pianist he often broadcast duets with Edgar Moy. He died on 11 January 1958.

Many of his organ solos are brief and simple: chorale preludes, genre pieces, toccatas, marches and voluntaries suitable for the small organ and less experienced player. Sometimes he brought out more ambitious recital pieces, like the Heroic Suite of 1921, the Sonata in A minor and two symphonies in B minor and F major published late in his life, but we do not encounter these nowadays.

The "Christmas Suite" was published by Novello in 1942. Written during the dark days of World War Two, this is FAR from the "ho-ho-ho" Christmas mood, as much of the work is restrained and even dark.

There are 4 movements. The first, "Siciliana 'The Holly and the Ivy'" is dark and stately. It is not based upon the tune that most of us associate with this text. (See the separate upload.) The second movement, "Minuet 'The Holly and the Ivy' and the 'Cherry Tree Carol'" IS based upon the well-know tune, but is combined with an unfamiliar Cherry Tree tune. The third movement, "Fughetta 'The Little Room'" is really the core of the suite, but I have no info about the tune. The 4th movement, "Bourrée 'On Christmas Night' and 'The moon shines bright'" is the only joyous one of the group, but it more than makes up for the somber tones of the others, concluding with an especially rousing ending!

Please see the first comment for individual timings.

The score is attached below, as well as a photo of Alec Rowley.

This upload continues my daily presentation of at least one piece, having begun with the Advent Sunday, and continuing each day through the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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