Dr. George Oldroyd (1887–1956) was organist of St. Alban's Church, Holborn from 1919 to 1920, and then of St Michael's Church, Croydon from 1920 until his death in 1956. He was also teacher of music studies at Whitgift School from 1933 - 1947, a part-time post which gave him time to compose and to give private tuition.
He composed numerous settings of the mass, but is best remembered for his "Mass of the Quiet Hour" composed in 1928, whose swooping melodies and lush harmonies recall the "Palm Court" style of that era. It was dedicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Cosmo Gordon Lang, and is still part of the repertoire of many English cathedrals and parish churches. The music harks back to the Victorian era, and does so with an integrity that many people still find to be sincere and appealing.
The tune, "This endrys night" is a 15th-century English Christmas carol which has been praised for the unusual delicacy and lyrical flourish for a poem of the period. Although called a Christmas carol, it is usually associated with the Feast of the Epiphany.
Oldroyd's setting was originally published in 1950 by OUP as part of "A Book of Hymn Tune Voluntaries." It is dedicated "To Dr. W. N. McKie, Organist of Westminster Abbey", and is a glorious, late-Romantic setting of the melody. The long crescendo is particularly satisfying.
Sir William Neil McKie MVO (1901 – 1984) was an Australian organist, conductor, and composer. He was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey 1941-1963 and noted for his direction of the music for the marriage of Princess Elizabeth in 1947, and later her Coronation in 1953. Before his appointment to Westminster, he served as Director of Music of Magdalen College, Oxford.
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Oldroyd and McKie.
The text of the first verse of the carol is given in the FIRST COMMENT.
TOMORROW - Two Welsh Epiphany Carols: "Dark the night" and "All poor men and humble" - Dr. Caradog Roberts