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Chorale Prelude on "Belmont" (As pants the heart for cooling streams)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (03/15/17)
Composer: Rowley, Alec
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Mid-20th century
Description:
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.

Rowley composed several sets of Chorale Preludes based on Famous Hymn Tunes. The fifth volume deals with "Saints Days and Weddings," although I think the hymns chosen are much more "general," and perhaps even, "Lenten" in tone, and this is why I've selected these.

Published in 1951, Rowley's setting of the well-known melody, "Belmont" is very special. His deep and delicate handling of the harmony, with it's repeated use of what some would call the "English cadence" is striking.

In this performance, only flutes are used, and in order to get the "echo effects," a fair amount of "piston pushing" is going on, but I don't think you'll notice it!

The tune was composed by William Gardiner (1770-1853), and it has been paired with a number of texts throughout it's history. Rowley does not give his text on this, so the tune-text pairing in this case is mine.

I think you'll find that this setting portrays the idea of refreshment and peace, which paints the text-picture very nicely.

Incidentally, the text is from Tate and Brady "New Version" (of Psalms), 1696.

The score is attached below, as well as the now WELL-KNOWN photo of Rowley, as well as a photo of a painting of William Gardiner.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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