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.
Rowley was a superb teacher, who did much to assist the student. Unfortunately, this labeled him as a "writer of children's music" in the eyes of some.
He was a fine organist, have gained his FRCO by the time he was 16. His largest organist position was at St. Alban's, Teddington, a large and important church. It was during his time at this church that Rowley married and then divorced. Divorce for someone working in the church was not tolerated, and Rowley was ostracized by the parish clergy, and was forced to leave his position.
Rowley, who had always been devout was devastated by their treatment of him, and it ended his "participation" in organized religion. It also essentially ended his playing the organ, and it seems that almost all of his organ pieces were probably NEVER actually played by him.
The "Choral Prelude on 'Richmond'" comes from Volume 2 of the "Choral Preludes based upon Famous Hymn-Tunes," published by Edwin Ashdown Ltd. in 1952.
The famous melody, "Richmond" was composed by Thomas Haweis (c. 1734-1820) is associated with several fine texts: "City of God, how broad and far", "Hark. the glad sound!", and "O, for a thousand tongues to sing" to name but a few.
Normally, this tune is treated in a grand manner, but Rowley surprises us by giving it a delightful and Fast-moving scamper. Marked, "Allegro scherzando," it may leave you breathless!
This is the LAST of these Rowley preludes, but there is still more Rowley Riot to come, including the BIG works!
The score is attached below, as well as a portrait of Thomas Haweis, and several photos of Alec Rowley.
MORE Rowley Riot coming!!!