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Prelude on the "Old 137th Psalm"

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (07/03/17)
Composer: Wood, Charles
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Romantic
Charles Wood (1866-1926) was born in Armagh, Ireland. He was a treble chorister in the choir of St. Patrick's Cathedral (Church of Ireland). He received his early education at the Cathedral Choir School and also studied organ with two Organists and Masters of the Boys of Armagh Cathedral, Robert Turle and Dr Thomas Marks. In 1883 he entered the Royal College of Music, studying composition with C. V. Stanford & C. H. H. Parry. In 1889 he attained a teaching position at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, first as organ scholar and then as fellow in 1894, becoming the first Director of Music and Organist. After Stanford died, Wood assumed his mentor's vacant role as University of Cambridge Professor of Music in 1924. His pupils included Ralph Vaughan Williams at Cambridge and Herbert Howells at the Royal College of Music.

I found this to be very, very hard. The stretches in the right hand chords are big, and after awhile were asking hurting. It's impossible to keep a true legato.

The piece itself is the "type" of piece that will go unnoticed. It sounds like nothing, is not impressive, and has little "interest" for the casual listener, but in reality, it is deeply spiritual and intimate.

The melody, "The Old 137th" can be found in the Anglo-Genevan Psalter (1550) as well as Day's Psalter (1563). The text associated with this is usually:

How shall I sing that majesty
which angels do admire?
Let dust in dust and silence lie;
sing, sing, ye heavenly choir.

The prelude is a canon between the right hand (played in those WIDE chords) and pedal. The obligato in the left hand, along with the harmonies created make it feel as though there is no start or finish. It just "keeps going," and this makes it hard to get a handle on.

I spent 4 hours or more with this, and was never completely satisfied, but I'm glad that you are at least listening to it.

Photos of Wood and Gonville and Caius are attached as is the score. (page 8)
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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