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 Sonatina was published by Novello in 1959 as No. 298 in the "Orginal Compositions (New Series)". Since Rowley passed away in 1958, this posthumously published work may be his final composition. Certainly it is VERY late in his output, as the musical style is his most "modern," and almost neo-classical, at least when compared to his earlier works.
If you've followd my "Rowley Riot," you'll have been able to trace the development of his compositional style. The early works, dating from the teens or even earlier is late romantic, and full of "emotion" and passion. As you follow him into the 20s and 30s, the work becomes a bit more "modern," and slightly less "overtly romantic," althought the usage of the British "romantic organ sound" is always present. Trace him into the late 40s and early 50s, and you'll see him at his most "extravagant," in terms of key changes, and seeming endless "modulations," that USUALLY result in a fine end product! If you look at the last decade, from which this "Sonatina" is certainly part of, you see a "cleaner" lay out, and "cooler" sounds. The passion and color is still there, but the works have been "streamlined" quite a bit. Parts of this work, particularly the opening "Allegro moderato" remindned me of passages in the Hindemith "Sonatas," and could have been written (almost) by Arnold Cooke.
Individual movement timings, and musical performance notes and observations are given in the First Comment.
The photo of Alec Rowley is attached below, as well as the score.
MUCH MORE Rowley Riot to come!