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.
"Second Benedictus" dates from 1942, and was published by Novello 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 phrase, "In quiet contemplation shall peace guide your ways."
This "second" Benedictus, is reminiscent of many of the English composers of the time. Once again the style of Harold Darke came to mind, as well as some of the works of George Dyson. However, this work reminds me particularly of the writing of Herbert Sumsion, long-time organist of Gloucester Cathedral.
It is conceived on a smaller scale, and is pastoral throughout in nature.
I dedicate this performance to my friend and our member, Erzahler. I hope you like this, Andrew! :-)
The score is attached below.
Many people have asked me for "registrational help," so I've also attached my complete registrations for the piece. This includes all the stops used, a scheme for setting the pistons, and EXACTLY where to make the changes. It's hard to explain musical things with words, but I've tried.
If you have any question, PLEASE ASK! :-)