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A Quiet Voluntary for Evensong, Op. 70 (with preceding Hymn)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (02/25/17)
Composer: Harwood, Basil
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Romantic
Basil Harwood (1859-1949) was born on 11 April 1859. He went up to Charterhouse in 1874 and left in 1876 having won an Exhibition to Trinity College, Oxford where he initially studied Classics and Modern History. He then studied for a further two years, 1881–1882, at the Leipzig Conservatory under Carl Reinecke and Salomon Jadassohn.

In 1883, he became organist of St. Barnabas Church, Pimlico completing his Sonata in C# Minor here in 1885. After this success, he then moved to Ely Cathedral in 1887 where he wrote the bulk of "Dithyramb," possibly his greatest organ work. His final appointment was as organist at Christ Church, Oxford and as precentor of Keble College, Oxford from 1892 to 1909. He retired early at 50 (in 1909) but continued to compose prolifically.

He was a man who loved walking, was fastidiously proud of his beard, and who was loved by his choristers. His choirboys called him "Old Billy"... ;-)

In this performance, I've tried to "create the atmosphere" of a weekday evensong. They're probably aren't many people in attendance, largely only choir and clergy.

It's not at all uncommon to have ONLY choral music at a weekday evensong, and hymns, even an office hymn, is frequently not sung. However, for this imaginary scenario, I've included a "simple" evening hymn, which is designed to lead directly into the closing voluntary.

"A Quiet Voluntary for Evensong," is really something of miniature masterpiece, and far more than a "service ditty."

Notice how the "free material" derives from the hymn, and how wonderful a surprise occurs when we suddenly arrive at the middle section, which is clearly a "Bach-inspired" setting of the hymn-tune (Vienna), in a "coloratura" manner. The hymn-tune is attached, and was quite well-known and frequently sung.

I've also given 2 pictures of the "Quire" of Ely Cathedral. You can imagine the choir moving silently out, passing under the great screen, silently and simply, without fuss, but in a simple act of worship.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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