Lester H. Groom (1929–2000) was born in Chicago and received his early
keyboard training from both his mother and father. His father later became his major professor in organ and composition at Wheaton College (Illinois), where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in 1951. He earned the Master of Music degree in organ performance from Northwestern University in 1952. Groom held teaching positions at Moody Bible
Institute (Chicago), Blue Mountain College (Mississippi), and Baker University (Kansas). He joined the faculty of Seattle Pacific University in 1969, where he taught organ, harpsichord, music theory, and
composition. He retired from SPU in 1991 and was named Professor Emeritus the following year. Throughout his career, he held positions as church organist and choir director. He served as organist of First
Presbyterian Church, Seattle from 1979 until his retirement in 1996.
Groom's published works include organ and choral compositions, articles, and music reviews. He was a specialist in the art of organ improvisation and was a frequent lecturer at church music workshops and for thirteen summers he served on the faculty of the Evergreen Conference School of Church Music (Colorado).
I found this piece to be one of the "nicest" of the pieces from the collection that I have so far recorded. It's really quite inspired, and very lovely.
Of course, it's based on the well-known Gregorian chant melody, but the way that it is "interwoven" with the "accompaniment" is quite fascinating. The little "interludes" really keep up the beauty and the interest, as some of the harmonies are quite unexpected, but everything keeps together in a most satisfying way.
The piece is dedicated to Marian Bjerke.
This work is part of an upcoming collection of selected works by Lester Groom, soon to be published by Lorenz.
I will be uploading the last of the Christmas works tomorrow, and also will record and upload the other works in January.