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Chorale Prelude on "Worcester" (No. 6, "A Little Organ book in memory of Hubert Parry")

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (06/07/16)
Composer: Atkins, Ivor
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Romantic
Sir Ivor Algernon Atkins (29 November 1869 – 26 November 1953) was the choirmaster and organist at Worcester Cathedral from 1897 to 1950. He is well known for editing Allegri's Miserere with the famous top-C part for the treble. He is also well known for The Three Kings, an arrangement of a song by Peter Cornelius as a choral work for Epiphany.

Born into a Welsh musical family at Llandaff, Atkins graduated with a bachelor of music degree from The Queen's College, Oxford in 1892, and subsequently obtained a Doctorate in Music (Oxford). He was assistant organist of Hereford Cathedral (1890-1893) and organist of St Laurence Church, Ludlow from 1893 to 1897.

He composed songs, church music, service settings and anthems. With Edward Elgar he prepared an edition of Bach's St. Matthew Passion.

He was knighted in 1921 for services to music and was President of the Royal College of Organists from 1935 to 1936.

He was a friend of Edward Elgar, who in 1904 dedicated the third of his Pomp and Circumstance Marches to him. Sir Ivor Atkins' wife, Katherine, was Mayor of Worcester in 1937. Their ashes were interred in Worcester Cathedral.

This little chorale prelude, which is the 6th in "A Little Organ Book in memory of Hubert Parry," is based upon a psalm-tune named "Worcester," which was composed by Thomas Tomkins (d. 1656), the great organist of Worcester.

It is a piece of what I would call "sublime grief." It is not far removed from the great English virginalists, and is an exquisite and "deceptive" piece. Notice the while the music is always noble and majestic (softly though!), there is a constant "falling away" figuration in the left hand. The music is always diminishing...

While Atkins did compose, his output is small, and has virtually disappeared today. To my knowledge, this is his only organ solo, although there are probably others.

The score is attached below, as well as several photographs of Sir Ivor Atkins.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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