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.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Rowley composed several sets of Chorale Preludes based on Famous Hymn Tunes. The first volume deals with "Lent," and it is from this collection that these preludes are taken.
The fourth work in the collection is "Chorale Prelude on 'Redhead (76)' (Rock of ages).
This work is really quite a find. This tune is often associated with Maundy Thursday, so uploading it now puts it way too soon, but I wanted to share it in the hopes others will find it useful. With the text of "Rock of ages," it could be used throughout Lent, or in many other seasons as well.
It's a work that features contrast, flow, emotion, and color changes. It requires quite a few button pushes, but it could probably be played more simply. I found this to have a great appeal to it.
The tune was composed by Richard Redhead (1820-1901) organist of All Saints Church, Margaret Street, and at St. Mary Magdalene, Paddington, where he served as organist for 30 years.
The famous text is by Augstus Montague Toplady (4 November 1740 – 11 August 1778), an Anglican cleric and hymn writer.
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Rowley, Redhead, and Toplady.