The Canadian Encyclopedia says this about the "early" organ works of Healey Willan (1880-1968): With the music for organ one enters a different world. Here Willan was thoroughly at home and made a significant and lasting contribution. One work stands out: the monumental "Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue" of 1916. The Preludes and Fugues in C minor and B minor and the "Epilogue" are the other major works from this period. While not exploring the possibilities of the instrument as searchingly as his masterpiece, they are idiomatic and very typical of their time. They combine an innate Englishness (with a Stanfordian flavour) and a European chromaticism that can be found in Reger and Karg-Elert.
Born in England, Willan became organist-choirmaster of Toronto's largest church, St. Paul's, Bloor Street, but it was his royalties as a composer which allowed him to leave "low church" St. Paul's in 1921 and to become Precentor of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Toronto).
The tune, "Martyrdom" is byH. Wilson, 1766-1824, and is paired with the text, "As pants the hart for cooling streams." It is the ninth of "Ten Hymn Preludes, Set Two," published by C. F. Peters in 1957.
Willan's setting is marked, "Moderato quasi pastorale," and the mood is maintained throughout.
This performance features the Viole 8' & Viole Celeste 8' of the Solo, playing the tune in the tenor register. The sound is pungent, and very characteristic of a solo Hill string. It's quite a strong sound, and not as "sweet" as the solo strings on a Willis organ.
The score is attached below, as well as several photos of Healey Willan, and one of the interior of Peterborough Cathedral.
More demos of this sample set, as well as the new Lavender Audio set of St. Mary-le-
Bow coming soon!
For April 1st, J. Purcell Mansfield's arrangement of Hugh Roberton's "All in the April evening", a "song" dealing the the Crucifixion of Jesus.