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Solemn Prelude

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (11/08/18)
Composer: Blair, Hugh
Sample Producer: Sonus Paradisi
Sample Set: William Hill English Organ Model
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Early 20th century
Hugh Blair (25 May 1864 – 22 July 1932) was an English musician, composer and organist. Born in Worcester, he was the son of Rev. Robert Hugh Blair, who founded Worcester College for the Blind in 1866. A chorister at Worcester Cathedral and a pupil at The King's School, Worcester, Blair was organ scholar at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. 1886, Mus.B. 1887, M.A. 1896 and Mus.D. 1906.

He was Organist of Worcester Cathedral from 1895 to 1897, having been Acting Organist before that time. Edward Elgar dedicated his cantata "The Black Knight" to Blair, who was conductor of the Worcester Festival Choral Society.

Worcester Cathedral Library contains copies of Blair's compositions, and his splendid Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in B minor for double choir is in the repertoire of every cathedral choir, and is still often performed and recorded.

I found many interesting things at Rousseau Media Music:

There you can read more about Hugh Blair and his troubled life.

I'll soon be reviewing the new Hill Organ by Sonus Paradisi on "The Barde," and I'll be doing a fair number of "demo-recordings" over the coming weeks. This upload is part of that group.

"Solemn Prelude" was published by Novello in 1920. Written in a dark, C minor, the work is powerful and expressive, making full use of chromaticism, before finally giving up the minor, and coming to rest on a final chord in the major.

With Sunday marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, the tone of this piece is both profound and somber, appropriately marking the occasion.

The score is attached below, as well as two photos of Hugh Blair.

I will be uploading more recordings with the Hill during the coming week, and will be finishing the review on The Barde soon.

On Sunday, in further recognition of the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, I'll be uploading Candlyn's "March Heroique," written expressly to commemorate "Those who fell in Flanders' Fields..."
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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