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Liturgical Improvisation No. 2 (Three Liturgical Improvisations)

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Playing Johann Gottlob Töpfer and Bach's Passacaglia

Playing Johann Gottlob Töpfer and Bach's PassacagliaBy Dr. Wolfram SyréJohann Gottlob Töpfer was ...

Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (12/15/17)
Composer: Oldroyd, George
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Late Romantic
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, and does so with an integrity that many people still find to be sincere and appealing.

To call this an "Advent piece" is a bit of a stretch, I suppose! It is however based partially upon the Advent plainsong hymn, "Conditor alme siderum" (Creator of the stars of night), so, I think we can manage to bend the bar a bit.

This expansive work is the 2nd of "Three Liturgical Improvisations" published by Oxford University Press in 1948. It is dedicated to Dr. Henry Coates, who I believe was organist of Bradford Cathedral.

As a motto, Oldroyd quotes: "Whoso dwelleth in the shadow of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."

The work is improvisatory, as the title implies. The rich harmonic style is typical of Oldroyd's writing, and after the statement of the plainsong, a nice climax occurs, before the piece dies away in a hush at the end.

The score is attached below, as well as photos of Oldroyd and of Bradford Cathedral.

More Advent works to follow, with Christmas uploads starting on Monday. :-)
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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