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.
Next Sunday will be the 4th Sunday of Lent.
"Mid-Lent" or "Refreshment Sunday" (characterized by the rose colored vestments worn at Mass) is usually associated with the Good Shepherd. The proper name of the day is "Laetare Sunday," the word "laetare" being taken from the first word of the proper Introit for the day.
The hymntune "Surrey" is always linked with the fine words by Joseph Addison, "The Lord my pasture shall prepare."
The music was composed by Henry Carey (1687-1743), an English poet, dramatist and song-writer. His life is illustrative of the professional author in the early 18th century. Without inheritance or title or governmental position, he wrote for all of the remunerative venues.
The words were written by Joseph Addison (1672-1719), son of Lancelot Addison, Dean of Litchfield Cathedral. Addison was educated at the Charterhouse, and at Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating B.A. 1691 and M.A. 1693. Although intended for the Church, he gave himself to the study of law and politics, and soon attained, through powerful influence, to some powerful posts.
Rowley's exquisite setting murmurs along, as if the listener were taking that walk through the meadows. The mood is calm and quiet throughout, and the texture could not be improved upon.
The piece is the fifth in the volume of "Chorale Preludes on Famous Hymn Tunes, Volume 4" and intended for General Use.
I'll upload some more "Good Shepherd Preludes" later in the week.
The score is attached below, as well as THE photo of Rowley, and paintings of Carey and Addison.
The full text is given in the First Comment.