Alec Rowley was born in London on 13 March 1892, teacher, composer, organist, pianist, lecturer and writer, who studied at the RAM with Frederick Corder and where he won sundry scholarships and prizes. He was an organist at several London churches including, during the Second World War, St Margaret's, Westminster. As a pianist he often broadcast duets with Edgar Moy. He died on 11 January 1958.
Many of his organ solos are brief and simple: chorale preludes, genre pieces, toccatas, marches and voluntaries suitable for the small organ and less experienced player. Sometimes he brought out more ambitious recital pieces, like the Heroic Suite of 1921, the Sonata in A minor and two symphonies in B minor and F major published late in his life, but we do not encounter these nowadays.
I hope that these uploads are helping to make his music more well-known. Certainly, MUCH of it is worth taking a good look at!
"Benedictus" dates from 1931, and was published by Novello as #130 in its series of "Original Compositions (New Series)" The word "benedictus" means "blessed." This particular "Benedictus" is not a "liturgical one," as it does not follow the "Sanctus," and is not part of a Mass setting.
For inspiration, Rowley quotes the poet, Christina Rossetti (1830-1894): "I bring refreshment - I bring ease and calm."
It is a rich composed work, and very much in the style of Harold Darke, in terms of it's melodic writing, harmonic language, even it's use of keys.
Two climaxes are reached, the second being a "significant" one. The piece ends with some lovely writing, and it appears that Rowley wants the end to be played "in tempo", and that is the way I've played it - almost...
The score is attached below, as well as 4 photos of Christina Rossetti, showing her in various stages of her life. (I figured that by this time, everyone knows what Rowley looks like!)
This performance is dedicated to my friend and our member, Qudomo.
THANK YOU, Corey!