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Chorale Prelude on "Horbury" (Nearer my God, to Thee)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (03/15/17)
Composer: Rowley, Alec
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Mid-20th century
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. 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.

Rowley composed several sets of Chorale Preludes based on Famous Hymn Tunes. The fifth volume deals with "Saints Days and Weddings," although I think the hymns chosen are much more "general," and perhaps even, "Lenten" in tone, and this is why I've selected these. The second work in this collection is this wonderful prelude based upon Dykes' rather obscure melody, "Horbury."

The work starts quietly, with delicate figuration, which rides above the tune in the tenor. Volume and animation soon increase, until a tremendous climax is reached on the full organ, before melting away in a sophisticated manner.

As mentioned above, the tune was composed by the Rev. John Bacchus Dykes, Mus. Doc., and the text was written by Adams, Sarah Adams (1805-1848).

The moving text, which is given in full at the first comment, received a new "attention" as it appears in several movies dealing with the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912.

For an interesting comparison, you may want to check out this upload based on WHICH VERSION of "Nearer my God, to Thee" was actually played as the ship sank!

A photo of Rowley is included, as is a photo of J.B. Dykes, and a drawing of Sarah Adams.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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