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. 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.
This is the sixth piece in the second set of the "Sixteen Preludes." They were published by Stainer & Bell in 1912, and really quite "rare" pieces. I say that since I've heard very few of these played.
I have not been to "locate" the tune upon which this work is based, nor am I sure of the text, but I believe that the text intended is:
To thee I lift my soul:
O Lord, I trust in thee:
My God, let me not be ashamed,
nor foes triumph o'er me.
(There are 20 (!) more verses.
I do believe that a major reason that these pieces have "disappeared" from the repertoire is because that many of the tunes are no longer in use. I think that it would also have been helpful if Wood had indicated the SPECIFIC sources of his material.
The work, which is marked "Andante sostenuto" has an intimate feel to it. The melody is played in the tenor in the left hand, and a "decorative" and quite chromatic part in the right, with a "pizzicato" pedal part, apart from a few more "active" sections.
The effect seems to indicate a "steadfast progression" of faith, all the time surrounded by "darker" elements, which I think are shown by the chromatic writing. The key is E major.
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Wood, Gonville and Caius Chapel, and Ravenscroft.