John Arthur Meale (1880-1932) was born in Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, England, Dec. 18th, 1880, and died in Hendon, Dec. 9th, 1932. The name was spelt Meal in the register of births.
He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, and served as organist of Marsden Congregational Church, 1896-99, of Selby Wesleyan Church, 1899-1905, of The Queens Hall, Hull, 1905-12, and of Westminster Central Hall, London, beginning in 1912.
He composed organ pieces, anthems, and songs.
"Chanson d'Espoir" (A Song of Hope) was published by Novello in 1918. It is dedicated: "To my friend F. Heddon Bond, Esq. M.A., F.R.C.O." Published near the end of World War One in 1918, it is an offering of hope for brighter days, and the offering is a most successful and pleasing one!
The tempo is marked "Allegretto rubato," and the music dances and scampers along, using colors such as the Swell oboe and Great flutes in which that lift the spirits and produce fine contrasts.
This work is the type that were favorites of the great "civic organists," and no doubt of their enthusiastic audiences as well. In the day when organist reigned as "musical monarchs," they played huge numbers of recitals. Much of the material was of high quality, but without being "too deep," as is the case with this work.
The music is colorful and tuneful and a real attention-grabber, but it is "simple" enough to appeal to the average listener, the type of listener that made up the majority of these large audiences.
I'm pretty certain that this is one that will make you smile!
The score is attached below, as well as photos of J. A. Meale, and several of the places that Meale served as organist.