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Rhapsody No. 3 in C-sharp Minor

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (10/22/12)
Composer: Howells, Herbert
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Romantic
Description:
I've already given extensive biographical details about Howells, so I won't repeat myself!

He has been called an "English pastoralist," as he continued the trends of Elgar and Vaughan Williams. His imagination was often stimulated by people and places he knew, as seen in many of the works drawn from the large body of church music, which was not inspired by religious sentiments. He said: "I am not a religious man and more than Ralph (Vaughan Williams) was."

Howells' works for organ are small compared to his choral music and songs. One of the most frequently performed is the early "Third Rhapsody," which dates from March, 1918.

It is an extrememly difficult work to play, not only for its techincal challenges, but also for its stark contrasts. It is a very disquieting piece with sometimes flowing and lyrical parts, and others that drip with an angry passion like a musical raised fist.

This work is not all typical of his later music, but it is very understandable, considering the time of its completion. It was towards the end of World War I that Howells composed this tempestuous and declamatory work. Remarkably, it was written in a single night during a noisy Zeppelin raid on York, where Howells was staying while visting Edward C. Bairstow, the Organist of York Minster. The work is dedicated to Bairstow.

According to Howells, this set of "Three Rhapsodies for Organ" were "serious attempts at a more freely-expressed music for the instrument."

The "Rhapsody in C-sharp Minor" is an electrifying piece, from its tumultuous opening to its shattering culmination.

I was planning to do this on Salisbury, where Howells served as Sub-Organist, but I chose Hereford because it had a LOUDER 32' Reed, especially on low C#... ;-)

I'll probably do it at Salisbury as well! :-)
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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