Dr. George Oldroyd (1887–1956) was organist of St. Alban's Church, Holborn from 1919 to 1920, and then of St Michael's Church, Croydon from 1920 until his death in 1956. He was also teacher of music studies at Whitgift School from 1933 - 1947, a part-time post which gave him time to compose and to give private tuition.
He composed numerous settings of the mass, but is best remembered for his "Mass of the Quiet Hour" composed in 1928, whose swooping melodies and lush harmonies recall the "Palm Court" style of that era. It was dedicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Cosmo Gordon Lang, and is still part of the repertoire of many English cathedrals and parish churches. With the turbulence of the time - war in Ireland, a general strike and the beginnings of world depression - one can understand Oldroyd's quest for a "quiet hour", especially as we come to terms with the unsettling events of our own time. The music harks back to the Victorian era, as if deliberately to spurn the innovations and often bewildering experiments of the New Music that were sweeping across Germany and France. It is clear and straightforward, embracing romanticism as decidedly as the New Music rejected it.
The "Prelude in F-sharp Minor" was published by Augener Ltd. in 1914. It shows Oldroyd in his best, "full-blown, over-the-top Anglo Catholic mysticism." It is devoutly liturgically, but with intense sentiment, and more than a little Wagnerian - in a English, high church way.
It is dedicated "(To B. C. H.)" - whoever that is... ;-)
It is almost impossible to play all the "expression marks" as written. If you did, you be opening one expression box while closing the other, and doing both things while playing the pedals! I think if you asked Oldroyd he'd say that the internal dynamics are "implied," and not intended to be taken literally.
Well, I got almost all of them, and am pleased with the results!
The score is attached below, as well as photos.
More Oldroyd to come! :-)