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.
The "Chorale Prelude on 'The Old 104'" was published by Edwin Ashdown in 1952. It is in Volume 2 of "Chorale Preludes based on Famous Hymn Tunes," and this volume covers hymns for Easter and Ascensiontide. I'll be doing all the Ascensiontide hymns over the next week or so.
This work is sung on the famous old melody by Thomas Ravenscroft (c. 1588-1635), and USED to be the standard tune for the great text, "O worship the King." This tune has now been largely "replaced" by the splendid "Hanover," but this is still a gem!
The piece is dedicated to the great George Thalben Ball (1896-1987), who was organist of the Temple Church in London for over 50 years.
In this upload, I preceded the piece by the full hymn, the score of that is given in the attachments. There is ONE FULL VERSE of INTRODUCTION, and I just made it up as I went along, seeking to create the impression of the "final hymn and postlude" scenario.
In this setting, Rowley is mindful of the time and traditions of Ravenscroft, as he sets the tune "Maestoso. Tempo di Sarabanda," and it really is a true and majestic saraband from start to finish. The phrases of the tune and alternated with the "flourishes," and the effect is a monumental success.
The Temple Church is the church that appears in the Da Vinci Code, and has a long connection to the Knights Templar. Several photos of it are attached below.
The score is also attached, as well as the now famous photo of Rowley. In addition, there are a few photographs of George Thalben Ball.
There is also a photo of a bust of Thomas Ravenscroft!
More "Rowley Riot" to come!