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The Twilight Picture

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (06/13/19)
Composer: Shelley, Harry Rowe
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Romantic
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.

"The Twilight Picture" is a little earlier than the other Shelley works that I've uploaded lately. It was published by G. Schirmer in 1887, so he was 29 when he composed this.

I often speak of these works as "period pieces," and this one would certainly fall into that category.

It consists of a "prelude" and the central part of the piece, the "Song". The opening section, played only upon 8' flutes is delicate, and shimmers with the afterglow of sunset, muted somewhat by the "neutral" sound of the flutes.

The "Song" is a rather noble melody, very much in the style of an evening hymn. The effect is calming and dignified.

The opening material briefly returns, with final chords on the Swell strings.

The score is attached below, as well as a photo of Shelley and several churches at which he served.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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