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. He died on 11 January 1958 while playing tennis.
The setting of "The Sixty-Fifth Psalm" dates from 1956, and is one of two "programmatic" organ works by Rowley. The other is "Song of Creation", which you can find here:
I added the (for Thanksgiving" in the title, but in reality, Psalm 65 isn't "for" Thanksgiving. The text of it is often associated with harvest festivals, as it deals with the Lord "visiting the earth" and blessing it with abundance.
Well, this piece has some "nice, happy" sections, but it also has ceremonial processional fanfares that "praise God in Sion," not to mention the heartfelt, beautiful section of contrition, "my misdeeds prevail against me."
All that being said, the section that depicts the RAGING of the sea is really something to behold! It's both awesome and awful, and note how the ocean works up to a tremendous and terrifying climax, before gradually subsiding and coming to rest. This section is Rowley at his most spectacular.
Peaceful contentment leads to increased joy, and the work builds to a triumphant conclusion, stretched out on the two final chords, before the 32' reed finally finishes this exceptional work.
As in "Song of Creation," Rowley has written in the text that he is depicting in the music. Since the score is attached, you can follow exactly the "program" if you'd like, but even without the "script," you can certainly and easily tell just what's what!
As mentioned, the score is attached below, as well as the ONLY photo of Alec Rowley that I have.
Early Happy Thanksgiving to All!
More Thanksgiving music and more ROWLEY RIOT to come! :-)