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Elégie Héroïque

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (09/01/17)
Composer: Farjeon, Harry
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
Harry Farjeon was born on 6 May 1878 in Hohokus, New Jersey. His parents returned to Britain when he was a baby, and he lived in Hampstead in London for the rest of his life. His younger sister, Eleanor, with whom he shared a rich imaginary life, wrote children's books and poetry, including the hymn, Morning Has Broken.

He studied music privately with Landon Ronald and John Storer, then in 1895 he entered the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied composition with Battison Haynes and Frederick Corder, and piano with Septimus Webbe. There he was a contemporary of Arnold Bax, York Bowen, Adam Carse, Eric Coates and Benjamin Dale.

He left the Royal Academy of Music in 1900, but in 1901 he returned to teach composition. Two years later, at the age of 25, he became the Academy's youngest ever professor, having become the family wage-earner after the death of his father. He also taught at the Blackheath Conservatoire.

Harry Farjeon composed music throughout most of his life. His compositions are mostly for piano, but he also wrote songs, sonatas, concertos and a mass setting. He died in Hampstead on 29 December 1948.

"Elégie héroïque" is an original organ work, and not a transcription. To the best of my knowledge, it is Farjeon's largest organ work.

Written in the dark key of E-flat minor, it has all the feelings of a solemn cortege. It is an impressive funeral march, written with heroic overtones, but with an ever-present sorrow. There is no "happy ending," as the piece melts away to a sorrowful, all-ending hush. The colors are dark and rich, and the Hereford Willis handles this music very well.

The work was published by Paxton in 1924, and is dedicated "To Babby Fenton." Presumably, it commemorates someone killed in World War One, but this is just a guess on my part. My wife thinks that "Babby" sounds like a woman's name, so, perhaps this is to a widow...

The score is attached below, as well as 2 photos of Harry Farjeon.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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