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 while playing tennis. 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.
He composed several sets of Chorale Preludes based on Famous Hymn Tunes. The fourth volume deals with "General Use," but some of the hymns work well in the Lenten season.
One of the things that I've noticed about Rowley's chorales is that he seems to find a "different slant" on well-known melodies. He seems to discover something deep within, and shows his creativity in virtually each prelude.
The tune, "St. Peter" is certainly a famous one. Composed by Alexander Robert Reingale (1799-1877), it is always linked with the words, "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds."
When I first looked at it, I thought, "Well, this is silly!", but it's not. It's a marvel to behold, and although Rowley doesn't say what he is portraying, I THINK I know what it is!
Starting very softly with single notes, it murmurs and wanders, imitating, moving around, shifting keys, always getting louder and more confident. What is it?
I think it's the happy murmuring of believers, whispering in the ears of new believers, growing in numbers and strength but never losing the "sweetness" of the Name!
Scripture also tells us that the Name is far sweeter than honey in the comb, so, this could also be portraying happy bees buzzing around their hives and making honey, but always buzzing!
I dedicate this upload to Leon1949Green as he always likes to "dig deeply" as to the meaning of the music - and in THANKS for his friendship!
So, Leon, is it people or bees?!?