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.
These 9 brief voluntaries will be not only to continue my "Rowley Riot," but also to demonstrate some of the colors on the now complete, and recently released Armley Shulze organ. I had a chance to play this organ in the 1980's, but that was before the complete and spectacular restoration was done.
The group of nine pieces are divided into "Opening" and "Closing" Voluntaries. They are conceived for manuals only (although I did the odd pedal note at times), and would be great "learning pieces," or an excellent first exposure to playing the works of Rowley. This one, the "Voluntary on 'St. Fulbert,'" is the first of the "Closing Voluntaries" in the collection.
In this piece, you hear the dialogue between the full Swell, and the essentially full Great. This great tune, composed by Henry J. Gauntlett (1805-1876) is widely known in England, with the Easter text, "Ye choirs of new Jerusalem." It is FAR less kown in The United States. Gauntlett also composed the beloved tune, "Irby" which is linked to "Once in royal David's city."
The sound of the organ in this piece, while not "exactly English," is very exciting and compelling!
This the "real" and not the "extended" version of the sample set.
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Rowley and Gauntlett.