Dr. J. Varley Roberts (1841-1920) was organist of St. Bartholomew, Armley, Leeds - BEFORE the Schulze organ was installed there. These two pieces are part of the musical illustrations for my upcoming sample set spotlight on The Barde,
Roberts had an illustrious career, and he was a major figure in his day. He received his Mus.B. (Oxon) in 1871, and his Mus.D. (Oxon, in 1876, the same year that he became an F.R.C.O. He was a pupil of Bird and Burton. His positions included St. John’s, Farsley, 1853-62; St. Bartholomew’s, Armley, Leeds, 1862-68; Halifax Parish Church, 1868-82; Magdalen College Chapel, Oxford, 1882-1919; St. Giles’, Oxford, 1885-93. Founder and conducted of the Oxford University Glee and Madrigal Society; lecturer in harmony and counterpoint at Oxford University. Composed church music, cantatas, anthems, organ pieces, songs, part-songs.
"Andante" comes from "The Organist's Quarterly Journal," a significant series, edited by William Spark, Organist of Leeds Town Hall.
This piece, in the key of A major, is charming and "direct" in it's musical simplicity. To me, the influence of Mendelssohn is present here, and while this is not "great music," there is nothing wrong with something melodic, balanced and sincere.
You must also recall that it was Mendelssohn who "brought pedals" to England, so, while this piece is certainly a romantic work, it is not that far removed from the early Romantic composers in its "classical" approach.
Several photos of J. Varley Roberts are attached, as well as a photo of the Chapel at Magdalen College, Oxford, as well as the new organ there, something vastly different from the organ that Roberts played.