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Prelude on "Whence is that goodly fragrance?"

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (12/26/16)
Composer: Oxley, Harrison
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Modern
Thomas Frederick Harrison Oxley (known professionally as Harrison Oxley and socially as Fred Oxley) (3 April 1933 – 6 April 2009) was a British organist, conductor and composer.

His father was an organist and metallurgist, and Oxley learned how to play the organ from watching his father. Oxley played for G. D. Cunningham, the Birmingham City Organist, whose advice was that Oxley should study at King Edward's School, Birmingham (to which he won a scholarship in 1946) and aim for a career as a musician. He became organ scholar of Christ Church, Oxford in 1951, under Thomas Armstrong; he was appointed assistant organist in 1953 and obtained a first-class degree in music from the University of Oxford in 1954. After National Service, Oxley was appointed Assistant Organist of Birmingham Cathedral, and then as Organist of St Edmundsbury Cathedral in 1957, aged 24 – the youngest cathedral organist at that time.

Oxley was a noted organ recitalist, in Britain and in the United States, and composed both choral and organ music, his 'Elegy' becoming a standard in the repertoire of 20th century organ music.

A stroke in 2003 meant that he had to re-learn how to play the piano and organ. His daughter, Ruth Oxley, said that he practised regularly, learning virtually "from scratch" after his stroke, and made an unexpected "amazing recovery". He died of heart failure on 6 April 2009, and his funeral was held at the cathedral.

I met him one time, and he was a VERY kind and friendly man. :-)

"Prelude on 'Whence is that goodly fragrance?'" was published by Novello in 1963 as one of "Two Carols for Organ." It also appears in "The Oxford Book of Christmas Organ Music," published in 1995.

The well-known French melody is played in the pedals upon a 4' stop, and LARGE "stretched" chords played on the Swell strings do most of the manual work.

Here are two "comparative" performances played at Salisbury and Hereford.

Photos of Harrison Oxley and St. Edmundsbury are attached below.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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