Harry Rowe Shelley (June 8, 1858 – September 12, 1947) was an American composer, organist (church and concert), and professor of music. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Shelley studied at Yale College, and with Dudley Buck and Antonín Dvořák in New York, and completed his musical education in London and Paris. According to his New York Times obituary, Shelley "penned church music that won him wide popularity. For sixty years a host of English-speaking peoples throughout the world sang his hymns."
While still a boy, Shelley played the organ at Center Church on the Green in New Haven. Although he entered Yale, he did not complete his freshman year. He was organist at the Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn and died at age 89 in Short Beach, Connecticut.
In his day, Shelley was as major figure in the American organ world. His music is very much "of his time," and well some of his works are overly sentimental, there are some solid and even brilliant works, particularly the "Fanfare" and the "Marche Militaire", both of which were published by G. Schirmer in 1905. These works were composed while Shelley was organist of the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in New York City.
"Prière" is one continuous melody from start to finish. The performing must make the line live and mover, and be constantly evolving as it flows along. Obviously "violin-like" in nature, Shelley calls for a solo flute, which actually consists of 3 flutes in this performance, added and removed as "delicately" as possible.
Shelley also calls for the accompaniment to be played upon the Unda maris with sub & super couplers, and the Hill one, on the Solo organ, is perfect for this.
While this piece may not appeal to many, it is in itself something of an etude - both in sustaining the solo line, and managing the constant 4 & 5 note chords in the left hand.
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Shelley, his signature, and of the Church of the Pilgrims, and of Fifth Avenue Baptist Church.