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.
The Chorale Prelude on "Franconia" comes from Volume 3 of Rowley's "Chorale Preludes on Famous Hymn Tunes," which was published by Edwin Ashford in 1957.
The tune was composed by Johann Balthasar König; b. 1691, Waltershausen, near Gotha; d. 1758, Frankfort.
It was adapted to the form that we know it by
William Henry Havergal (18 January 1793 – 19 April 1870) was an Anglican clergyman, writer, composer and hymnwriter.
Havergal was born in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and educated at the Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he gained a BA in 1815 and an MA in 1819. He was ordained deacon in 1816 and priest in 1817, and became rector of Astley in Worcestershire in 1829, St. Nicholas, Worcester in 1842, and perpetual curate of Shareshill near Wolverhampton in 1860. He died at Leamington Spa, Warwickshire and is buried at Astley.
The prelude is quite brief, but is a "busy" piece, having some 24 "piston pushes" in this performance. The key sequence is quite unusual, and is based traced by following the score, which is attached below.
A photo of Alec Rowley is also attached, as well as a drawing of William Henry Havergal.