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Two Meditations: No. 2 The Pilgrims nearing the Celestial CIty, Op. 57, No. 2

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (06/28/14)
Composer: Harwood, Basil
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Romantic
Basil Harwood (1859-1949) was born on 11 April 1859. He went up to Charterhouse in 1874 and left in 1876 having won an Exhibition to Trinity College, Oxford where he initially studied Classics and Modern History. He then studied for a further two years, 1881–1882, at the Leipzig Conservatory under Carl Reinecke and Salomon Jadassohn.

In 1883, he became organist of St. Barnabas Church, Pimlico completing his Sonata in C# Minor here in 1885. After this success, he then moved to Ely Cathedral in 1887 where he wrote the bulk of Dithyramb, possibly his greatest organ work. His final appointment was as organist at Christ Church, Oxford and as precentor of Keble College, Oxford from 1892 to 1909. He retired early at 50 (in 1909) but continued to compose prolifically. His organ works are very significant, and the "blackness" of his scores has sometimes had him referred to as the "English Reger".

These two pieces were published by OUP and date from February 1934. They appear to be quite rare, and I have never seen them anywhere, including a list of his "complete" works. The old, worn copy that I have notes that Harwood was a "modern" composer, as he was still living when the original owner got the score.

Both "Meditations" show Harwood in a "Bach-like" mood. The second, "The Pilgrims nearing the Celestial City," is a lovely work in thje key of E-flat. It features a brief "Adagio" introuduction, before proceeding in a flowing "Andante tranquillo." The Solo clarinet plays a prominent role in the piece. This is one of those works that is much harder to get right than it might appear...

The work is based on a very unfamiliar hymntune, "Hic Breve Vivitur", by Alfred Petter, and I have included it before the organ piece.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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