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St. Stephen's Fugue

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (12/17/18)
Composer: Fieldwick, Robert
Sample Producer: Sonus Paradisi
Sample Set: William Hill English Organ Model
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Romantic
Robert Fieldwick (fl. 1860-1875) was an organist Wargrave, Berks., Roehampton, and finally at St. John's Church in Putney.

He published an "Offertoire" in 1866 (Novello) and this work, "St. Stephen's Fugue in 1875, found in "The Organist's Quarterly Journal, Volume 3 (of 10).

When I first came across this piece yesterday, I thought perhaps it was going to have something to do with "Good King Wenceslas", as he "looked out on the Feast of Stephen." (Meaning St. Stephen's Day, December 26.)

Instead, it uses the hymn-tune "St. Stephen" for its subject. This well-known Advent hymn was composed by William Jones (1726-1800), with the text usually associated with it written by John Brownlie (1859-1925).

This work is accurately represented by the Hill, as both organ and composition are only about 5 years apart. It is really a brief prelude and fugue.

The "prelude" is marked "Adagio" and features descending scales with a "sfz" at the start of the phrase. The Hill swell box is very slow in opening fully, so, try as I might, I never really got the "sfz" the way I wanted it.

The "fugue" is based upon the "St. Stephen" for its subject. Marked "alle breve," the counterpoint is well worked-out, although it's probably a bit academic. The lengthy dominant pedal point is impressive, and the final pedal flourished bring the work to it's conclusion.

The seventh and last verse of the hymn is:

The King shall come when morning dawns,
and light and beauty brings;
"Hail, Christ the Lord!" Thy people pray,
come quickly, King of kings!

The score is attached below, as well as a drawing of the hymn-tune composer, William Jones, a photo of the text's author John Brownlie, and a painting of what I THINK MIGHT BE St. John's Church, Putney, which I believe no longer exists.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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