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.
Unlike many composers who seem to have all their music published by one publishing firm, Rowley's work appeared in the catalogues of most of the big publishing houses.
In 1955, Novello began its "Organ Music Club" series, and the Rowley "Tripytch" was the first publication in the series.
The three movements are "Ritornello," "Cradle Song," and "Epilogue."
The "Ritornello" is a short, but bold "chorale-like" work that features the colorfully harmonies and modulations that are so much a part of Rowley's writing. For some reason this reminded me of Flor Peeters, but I doubt that there really is a similarity!
"Cradle Song" is more than the title implies, as it's a well constructed and significant "little" piece. When we think of a "cradle song," we often think of a "Chrismtas carol" work, and while this could find Christmas usage, there is nothing inherently "Christmasy" about it. A mixture of modal and tonal, this work reminded me of the writings of Herbert Sumsion (1899-1955).
"Epilogue" is a brilliant work that really shines and dances. It has elements of the toccata and fanfare about it, and they are combined in ways that Rowley excelled at. There is a soft middle section that continues to use the thematic material. The end is particularly impressive and grandiose.
The timings of the individual movements are as follows:
Cradle Song 3:12
The score is attached below, as well as the now famous photo of Rowley.
More "Rowley Riot" to come!